Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 12pm

IMD MBA Graduation Focuses on Responsible Leadership: MBA News

IMD MBA class of 2014 graduation

Responsible leadership provided the underlying theme at the IMD MBA class of 2014 graduation (commencement) ceremony held in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In a keynote address, Dr Syed Babar Ali – a former finance minister of Pakistan (preceding Benazir Bhutto in the role) who has also served as WWF’s international president – told graduates that the prestige of an IMD MBA degree is not the only indicator of success.

"You realize one day that you are Mr. Nobody and that it is up to you to make a difference,” he said.

Babar Ali established one of his country’s largest food processing companies, now known as Nestlé Milkpak Limited. Stressing the role of responsible leadership in this endeavor, he added: “There was no tradition of milk collection on a large scale. For the first time, a poor man could get pure milk.”

The IMD MBA class of 2014 counted 40 nationalities among its 90 graduates, including one student from the Philippines, whose embassy sent a representative to the ceremony to congratulate Zshelyz Jaynelle Lee in person.

“It is not about status” IMD president tells class of 2014

The school’s president, Dominique Turpin, reminded the class of 2014 that it wasn’t talent and education that mattered most, but what you do with it. He then urged them to follow paths of responsible leadership:

“Natural talent, intelligence, great education — none of these guarantee success. It is about the sensitivity to be responsible towards society at large. Leadership begins and ends with authenticity. It is not about status, but about doing the right thing,” Turpin said.

The ceremony’s closing speech, given by a class of 2014 IMD MBA, also lived up to the school’s emphasis on responsible leadership, with Diego Barretto telling his classmates not to ignore their potential:

“People are waiting for us to build a better future,” Barretto said.

Career fulfillment was also a topic of discussion at the ceremony. Mark Cornell, an IMD MBA alumnus who was recently appointed Sotheby’s MD for Europe, gave some advice in the school’s second keynote address:

“What makes you happy is what you will always do well,” Cornell said, before adding that leadership won’t always win you friends.

“Leadership is not about popularity, it is about driving change. It can be extremely lonely at the top so don't forget to talk about it with people who are in the same situation,” he advised.

IMD campus image source.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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It is not talent or erudition that matters but how you choose to channelize them. Just paying a heft MBA course fee and enrolling yourself into the Best B School for placement in India is not enough. You need to be socially responsible. At the end of the day, responsible leadership is what the society needs. Loved the blog post – it will help many students set their priorities right.