International Institute for Management Development
Logo of IMD
|Type||Private Business School|
|President||Jean-Francois Manzoni, from 2017|
International Institute for Management Development (IMD) is a business education school located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It specializes in executive education offering open enrollment programs for senior executives, as well as longer-term educational engagements that are customized for senior executives of a particular company. IMD is not part of a university, but it does offer MBA and Executive MBA programs.
History and mission
IMD was formed in January 1990 through the merger of independent management education centers International Management Institute (Geneva) (IMI), established in 1946 by Alcan, and Institut pour l'Etude des Methodes de Direction de l'Entreprise (IMEDE) Lausanne established in 1957 by Nestlé. The new organization, the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), settled in Lausanne. The history of IMEDE and its merger with IMI is documented in Jean-Pierre Jeannet and Hein Schreuder (2015, chapters 2 and 4). Its industrial heritage is unusual for business schools, which are usually university-affiliated.
IMD business school solely provides executive education; it is determinedly not part of a university, and there are no academic departments, just one integrated multidisciplinary faculty. The professors do not have permanent academic tenure but work under one-year contracts and a performance based pay package. The faculty consists of 50 full-time members, made up of 21 different nationalities. The current President is Jean-Francois Manzoni, who follows Dominique Turpin, John R. Wells and Peter Lorange. The latter ran the school from 1993 till 2008 and has been widely credited with having established IMD as one of the world's leading business schools.
IMD focuses on training and developing general management and leadership skills. Compared to other business schools, IMD tends to select experienced candidates for both the Master of Business Administration (MBA) (average age 31) and the Executive MBA (average age 40). Its other focus is to have a broad international group of participants attending open programs to ensure that no nationality dominates. Every year, some 8,000 executives, representing over 98 nationalities attend one of the programs.
IMD has two main educational offerings:
- Degree programs: the MBA and the EMBA
- Executive education: open enrollment and company custom programs
- The degree programs have triple accreditation by AACSB, AMBA, and EFMD(EQUIS).
The school's MBA program is a one-year full-time program. The program runs from January through December without any break (summer is dedicated for a Company Engagement Project). Each class includes 90 participants from various countries.
The MBA program focuses strongly on personal development, leadership, and general management instead of functional expertise, and as a result, the majority (70%) of the graduates typically get positions in the industrial and consulting rather than the financial sector, unlike other major schools. Students will benefit from close contact with executives on site given IMD has been recognised as the best business school for open program in executive education from 2012 to 2017. Moreover, Students will also enjoy several trips to further expand their knowledge and activate their network: one discovery expedition (one week in a developed country and one week in a developing country), a Europe trip and a trip to reflect on dilemma. Finally, each student will have to participate to the International Consulting Project during fall where he or she will be part of a team and work as consultant on a project designed by various companies. Starting from 2018 the MBA curriculum includes electives, dedicated to practical experience in digital marketing, machine learning and big data.
Admission to the MBA program requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution, GMAT and a minimum three years full-time work experience, as well as strong command of written and spoken English and one language in addition to English. Applicants who are deemed successful in the first, written stage of the application process are invited to the second stage, an interview process called the IMD Assessment Day. The Assessment Day is a full-day event held either in IMD’s campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, or in Singapore, or in other locations. It involves a personal interview, a short presentation, a business case discussion, and an MBA class observation. The final admissions decision is communicated within 2 weeks of the Assessment Day.
Forbes has ranked IMD's MBA #1 among one-year international MBA programs in its 2019 ranking. Testament to the program's strength and effectiveness in continuously shaping business leaders, IMD has held top spots in the ranking since 2001. IMD has been also ranked #1 in 2017, 2013, 2011, 2007 and 2001. 
The curriculum of the EMBA is different from the MBA because it targets experienced managers with at least 10 years of experience who seek to strengthen their careers without leaving their jobs. The average class size is around 55 participants of more than 40 nationalities. The program has three components: the foundations for business leadership, the advanced management concepts and the mastery stage. All together the program takes over one year. It has a strong focus on leadership skills, integrated business themes, and on the immediate practical application of the subject matter. The 55 selected students have an average age of 40.
In 2014 IMD has joined forces with China’s most prominent private business school, the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), to jointly teach a dual degree Executive MBA programme – an MBA for working managers. The new programme will be taught partly in Switzerland, in Lausanne, and partly in Beijing in China, with half the professors involved coming from each school. The 20-month programme will begin in February 2015 and will be in addition to the individual EMBA programmes already taught by the two business schools. The two schools are hoping to attract 60 participants to the programme, from which the participants will receive two degrees.
The difference between IMD’s established EMBA and the new programme will be that the former concentrates on global management while the latter focuses on China and Europe, says president Dominique Turpin. The partnership is a way for the school, based in Switzerland, to extend its reach, he says. “We are still very dependent on the European market.” 
Executive education is a fundamental part of the school activities.
In 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 IMD was ranked first in open programs worldwide by the Financial Times. The FT also places IMD at second in Custom Programs, with the school jumping up two places from fourth in 2016. IMD remained in second place in the combined custom and open program rankings, maintaining its spot from last year.
IMD alumni (including executive education participants)
- Svein Aaser: Former CEO, DnB NOR
- Matti Alahuhta: CEO, Kone Corporation
- Ole Andersen: Chairman, Bang & Olufsen
- Bjarni Ármannsson: CEO, Glitnir Bank, Iceland
- Jon Fredrik Baksaas: President and CEO, Telenor
- Paul Bulcke: Former CEO, Nestlé
- Harsh Goenka: Indian billionaire and Chairman, RPG Enterprises
- Oswald Grübel: Former CEO, UBS
- Carla De Geyseleer, CFO, Volvo Cars
- Philipp Humm: Former CEO, T-Mobile USA
- Tarang Jain, Indian billionaire
- Susanne Klatten: Member of the Board, BMW
- Gerard Kleisterlee: Chairman Vodafone; Former CEO, Royal Philips Electronics
- Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen: Former President and CEO, The Lego Group
- Abba Kyari: Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria from August 2015 to April 2020
- Christoph Loos, CEO, Hilti
- Milinda Moragoda: Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister of Justice, Law Reform and MP
- Thomas Oetterli, CEO, Schindler Group
- Mark Opzoomer: CEO, Rambler Media
- Michael Patsalos-Fox: Former Chairman, Americas, McKinsey & Company
- Prince Pieter-Christiaan of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Netherlands
- Mark Rutte: Prime Minister, Netherlands
- Thomas Schmidheiny: Chairman, Holcim
- Søren Skou: Group CEO, A.P. Moller - Maersk
- Ian Charles Stewart: Founder, WiRed
- Diego Molano Vega: Former Minister of Information Technologies and Communications, Colombia
- Peter Voser: Chairman and CEO, ABB, Former CEO Royal Dutch Shell
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- IMD announces new President Jean-François Manzoni Professor Manzoni to start 1st of January 2017 // imd.org/news, May 2016
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