Steven Thompson, Associate Director of the International MBA Program at IE Business School, speaks to us about the Change Modules.

1. Introduce yourself, your background and your current role at IE.

My name is Steven Thompson and I’m originally from Arizona, but I have spent the majority of the last 4 years living abroad in Argentina and Spain. While, I started my career in marketing & sales for a Fortune 500 company,  I recently decided to change course and pursue a Master in International Relations from IE. After finishing my course work this past June, I promptly started my new position as an Associate Director of the IMBA Program.

2. Explain the concept behind the Change Modules

As the saying goes, “the only constant in life is change.” This has become more evident as the world we live in rapidly becomes more interconnected. The International MBA curriculum acknowledges this reality by addressing three specific types of change students are sure to encounter in their professional careers: Personal Change (addressed in LAUNCH), Global Change (addressed in Change in Action) and Organizational Change (addressed in Making Change Happen). The goal of the Change Modules is to provide students with the tools necessary to successfully recognize, implement, manage and lead change.

3. What happens during Making Change Happen?

During the one week module, approximately 70 teams tackle a real-life problem related to Change Management within an organization in the form of a case study (the Change Challenge). As the main objective, students work to develop solutions to problems that arise in business as a result of M&A, PMI, new technology implementations, etc. After undergoing a rigorous internal pre-selection process, only the best teams move onto the final round, where they present their proposal to the participating consulting firm.

4. What do students cover exactly?

In addition to the specific problems addressed in the Change Challenge, guest speakers and workshops highlight other common Change Management issues. Such topics can include how to align different business units, assess risk and motivate key stakeholders to collaborate.

5. What kind of companies are involved?

The Change Challenge is created exclusively for IE by a prestigious consulting firm that worked directly on the problem themselves. The consultants present the Change Challenge to the students, determine the winning team from the finalists and close the module with a wrap-up session that describes their methodology in solving the Change Management problem. Additionally,  executives from top companies are invited to share how they successfully led large scale changes within their organizations.