Richard Barnard– Current student of the International MBA program Class of 2010 and Fellow student at IE Business School, writes about his experience during the LAUNCH program.

And now the hard work begins. Am I prepared for what lies ahead on the International Masters of Business Administration (IMBA) at IE Business School?

For the past 10 days the current International MBA students have engaged in the LAUNCH program. The acronym LAUNCH stands for: Leadership, Awareness, Understanding, Networking, Communication, Humanities; it is a program designed to prepare the disparate individuals who arrived in Madrid 2 weeks ago into motivated, team-conscious professionals. Considering the diverse student demographic at IE Business School this is a big challenge: the 2011 cohort consists of students from over 70 nationalities, 6 continents, with experience in over 20 industry areas. To achieve this integration we engaged in an innovative program of workshops focused on interpersonal skills such as: team building, critical thinking, cross-cultural and effective communication, creativity and decision-making. 

With so many individual backgrounds the greatest challenge was to break down the personal barriers, remove the professional egos and ensure all the students realize that they are amongst equals, confident of their colleagues’ abilities and thus positive about establishing productive, creative and successful workgroup teams.

LAUNCH took us out of our comfort zones into new and interesting situations, such as designing furniture with professors from the Architecture Association School of London, presentation workshops with actors, self-assessment and cross-cultural seminars led by international consultants and broadening our horizons with talks from such inspirational figures as Edurne Pasaban, the first female mountaineer to scale all 14 of the 8,000+meter peaks. Into this mix we were encouraged to team-build through physical exercise on the basketball court. Importantly, the program was great fun and has provided us all with many memorable moments already; these are the experiences that build friendships and thus will prove invaluable as we embark on the full 13-month International MBA program.

The program was eclectic but delivered a key message: no matter who you are coming into the program you need to change, adapt and reconfigure your approach to get the most out of the year. LAUNCH has prepared us well for the next step: the start of the full academic program – Term 1.  

For more information on IE Business School’s innovative International MBA LAUNCH program click here.

Take a look at the pictures from this year´s “Think design” and “Take the Stage” events on flickr.

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