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Logo of IMD
Logo of IMD

International Institute for Management Development (IMD) is a business education school located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is not part of a university, and offers MBA and Executive MBA programs as well as executive education.

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.[1] 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).[2] Its industrial heritage is unusual for business schools, which are usually university-affiliated.[3]

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-François 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.[3]

IMD focuses on training and developing general management and leadership skills. IMD selects 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:

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.[7]

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 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.[8] 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.[9] The Assessment Day is a full-day event held either in IMD’s campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, or in Singapore. It involves a personal interview, a short presentation, a business case discussion, and an MBA class observation.[10] The final admissions decision is communicated within 2 weeks of the Assessment Day.[9]

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.

Executive education is a fundamental part of the school activities.[3]


In 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, IMD was ranked first in open programs worldwide by the Financial Times.[11] 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.[12]

IMD alumni (including executive education participants)

See also

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