Like many organizations, 2020 pushed us here at the IMBA to make changes that had been little more than scoffed-at ideas in the past. Leading a 12-week mini-MBA without ever having the participants meet each other in person? HA!
Yet, March 2020 came while we were in the midst of our Spring cohort and what started as skepticism morphed into necessity. Before we knew it, all hands were on deck. The mandate: make the experience of a newly virtual group reach our own exacting standards for in-person education. For 5+ years, we’ve dabbled in virtual learning but never made the full leap. Much to our surprise – time and time again – we found ourselves amazed by the experiences that became possible as participants, faculty, and advisors re-committed to this being a success despite the circumstances. All were excited to try out new things rather than staying attached to the in-person educational experiences that were rapidly becoming outdated. As that Spring cohort came to a close it occurred to us – being virtual was no longer a concession to substandard learning, but a new road that could elevate a new type of community with a new type of engagement. And we are at the forefront.
In Fall 2020, we went all in and doubled-down on what we learned in the Spring: the ability to have incredible experts pop into classes for short seminars levels up the learning, the chance to offer a wide range of optional add-on seminars for those with specific interests (in our case, Marketing, Entrepreneurship and HR) gives outlet for the passion of our our learners, and the engaged community that has been and can be built with a simple Zoom link and a shared commitment to continued learning and growth. And it worked! Our first virtual alumni cohort is as strong as it’s ever been. We’ve seen them keep connections using the same channels that they had used to build community during the experiences. Some have even found new jobs through the network since moving fully virtual.
So here we are in 2021 – All-in on a virtual experience. We invite you to join our Spring cohort wherever you may be. If 2020 was the year that the IMBA went virtual, 2021 is the year we break out of the constructs of a local Austin program.
So wherever you may be, join us. Join the conversation with your group of 8 peers to discuss real world case studies, join the winning team of the Executive Challenge simulation where you put your new skills to the test with your team of 5, and join the network of IMBA members. Far-flung as we are becoming, we are united by a love of learning, a willingness to invest in our careers, and a thirst for the connection of a network. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring, but if there’s one thing 2020 taught us, we’re ready.