Monday, June 28, 2010

GEM #4

An absolute awesome read, Scott Bedbury gives his learnings at Nike and Starbucks which, under his watch, became one of the most well known brands in the world. He goes through 8 crucial and distinct principles to achieve brand leadership, but I will yet again condense and give you my top three learnings.

GEM #4: A new brand world

My top three ideas from the book
1. Support innovative products with emotional branding as emotional connections last longer (safety, love, affection, belongingness, esteem and self actualization)
2. Brands are defined by a lifetime of collective experiences and actions... so are WE!
3. Fight for brand stewardship with a CBO (chief branding officer) that will control all aspects of customer experience at every single touch point to ensure brand consistency both internally and externally

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Passed round 1, now for round 2

Received an exciting email this morning on my ipod touch, I've made it past IMD's review of the Business Week blogging candidates and was given the go ahead to send my entries to BW. I've now gotten into the habit of checking my email right when I wake up using my alarm clock (ipod touch), anticipating any kind of emails from IMD or the relocation folks.

So it will be in the hands of BW now as I prepare my application to be submitted before June 30th. Successful applicants will be notified in September. It seems that BW only selects a couple of students a year, so hopefully IMD will be represented!

Time to go take a decent photo of myself...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2 essays, 60,000 CHF

Talk about pressure to perform. I have never written anything or much less do anything in a single sitting that can potentially make $60,000. I'm talking about the two IMD scholarships that I am eligible to apply for.

1. IMD MBA Future Leaders Scholarship
- Essay on "Leadership in an era of Globalization"
- 750 words

2. IMD MBA Alumni Scholarship
- “As a business leader, which issue would you set as your first priority to address in your region / country? Why would you choose this issue? How would you, personally, address it?”
- 1000 words

So here it is, $34 a word to help finance an IMD MBA. It's going to be fun, well it WILL help lighten the debt load obviously, but definitely a great challenge!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The visa situation is a little complex. Alison is a US citizen and I'm a Singaporean Citizen. The swiss consulate website that we were referred to is quite complicated. There were the required forms available, but we had no idea what documents to send, how to send the payment, what is the payment, who needs to send forms...

It turns out that Singaporeans do not need any visas, either short term or longer than 3 months. All I need to do is to show up at IMD and they will take care of the residence permit. Apparently I will need a residence permit for long term stay. Alison, however will need a visa for stays longer than 3 months. After several email exchanges with the consulate in Chicago, we got an idea of what to do. Alison will fill in a "family reunification" visa, and along with it, submit our marriage certificate, her passport, my passport, my permanent residency card and a letter of enrollment from IMD. At least we have an idea now of what to send. They estimated a turn around time of up to 12 weeks.

As we start the process to obtain our visas,  I will post a more definitive entry on how we obtained our visa.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I was finally able to confirm our reservation with the relocation partner for IMD. We are good! A 2 min walk from the Lake, a 5 min walk to school... I'm pretty psyched! I had a quick phone call with the IMD relocation manager and she urged me to contact the current tenant as well as start getting our visas in place. That's reserved for a whole other post on visas... anyway, I contacted the current tenant and it turns out the apartment is not furnished. Apparently the furniture is sold from one outgoing tenant to the next incoming tenant. What! What if the next tenant does not want the stuff? Do I have to bring it all with me? Not cool. It's also kind of weird as I put myself into the shoes of the current tenant. "Here I am, only halfway in the program, and this dude is asking about taking over the place" I hope I don't have to deal with an incoming tenant in the first half of my school year... Oh well, at least it's a reminder that 11 months go by just like that!

So hopefully it doesnt cost an arm and a leg to get at least the bed and some cooking utensils. Furnished or unfurnished, there is nothing much we can do now as the location and size of the aparment is a perfect match. Moving along with the preparations!

Monday, June 7, 2010

entering the portal

Last week, just before I flew to New Orleans for some seafood and jazz, I received a notice for the portal being available. This is the much anticipated IMD portal for the 2011 students! I was selected to do a beta test for the login and soon after, it was populated with all sorts of information. Needless to say I went straight to the housing section and forwarded the list of apartments to alison. My excitement level spiked again as I saw a renewed list of future classmates and where we would spend the year in Lausanne. We picked an apartment that is 5 min walking distance to the school and had a bedroom separated from the living area.

After reserving the place online, I immediately felt something was amiss when a confirmation window showed a different apartment! Ahhh! We were deftly afraid that the apartment will be taken. The IMD admin staff and the relocation personnel were extremely helpful and very responsive to help solve the issue. After a few days of back and forth, I think we settled the issue... well, hopefully. There is still much to do for preparations for the trips ahead and the big move.

On Ave d'Ouchy

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

GEM #3

This book was an absolute stunner! An easy read that will open your eyes to relationships and how an organization can leverage the insights in this book for team building, conflict resolution, and leadership development.

GEM#3: Leadership and self-deception

My top 3 ideas from the book
1. Be extremely self aware on how you treat people as it starts a vicious cycle of stress, conflict, poor team work etc.
2. Acknowledge that everybody slips one time or another, do not try to be perfect, instead always try to be better
3. Don't worry about how others are helping you, instead think about how you can help others