MBA Orientation Week

MBA Orientation Week 2021
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Beyond the Profile: The MBA Class of 2021

“We are trying to enroll people that we think will grow the most from this program, not the people that were perfect coming in.”


An interview with the MBA Program Director, Dr. Marika Taishoff.

When you look at the class profile for the class of 2021, what stands out to you first?

To be honest, every year I can’t wait to meet the new MBA intake.

Of course, I have previously interviewed them over the phone or on Zoom, but actually meeting and interacting with them is always exciting. And the reason why is because every year they are so diverse.

Diverse not only in terms of nationalities and gender but also in terms of professional backgrounds and career aspirations. This year amongst the cohort we have lawyers, as well as a private banker, crypto-currency entrepreneur, documentary film producer, wellness expert, marine engineer, mechanical engineer, a professional in ultra-high-end jewelry, two medical doctors, and the list, goes on.

And this kind of diversity is a given each year, as alumni include physicists, dentists, luxury boutique hotel owners, IT consultants, biotech entrepreneurs, executives in Fortune 500 companies, the director of a wealth management firm, the director of communication for a leading luxury cruise line, etc.

The new MBA Students arrive on campus this week. How do you build a culture for students to feel safe to explore new opportunities (and possibly fail) and realize their full potential?

This first “Induction Week” is a critically important one not only to create a sense of camaraderie amongst the MBAs but also to demonstrate and reinforce the notion that this Monaco MBA journey is one in which they will be accompanied throughout the experience, whether they are Full-Time Students or Part-Time students.

Key members of the staff and faculty are introduced, introductory sessions on the use of our learning platform are given, a welcome lunch and evening event are also crucial in creating a sense of an “MBA family”, as well as fun. Monaco MBA alumni also participate in these events, further reinforcing a sense of shared culture.

Moreover, special speakers from key Monegasque economic and financial associations provide a thorough and exciting overview of the Principality as a special place with a special mission when it comes to entrepreneurship, sustainability, financial and luxury services. This past week we had speakers from the Monaco Economic Board, as well as from the Monaco Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

In fact, two of our MBA alumni have recently established and are now managing the Junior Branch of Monaco Venture Capital Association. Such events happen throughout the year, and for our Distance students, most such events are also live-streamed and uploaded on our learning platform. So even from afar, MBA students feel part of the cohort, and also part of Monaco.

What is the best moment in the MBA academic year?

That’s a tough question, but I’d have to say the first day, and the graduation day,

The first day because it really is like the first day of school, which we all remember from our youth. Meeting new people, not quite sure how the journey will proceed and what adventures (positive and negative) may be encountered along the way, a bit of fear and insecurity as well as to “will I be able to succeed?”, but nonetheless curiosity and enthusiasm dominate.

As for graduation day, well, a lot of joy and success, as well as some stress, has been experienced from that first day. And on the last day, what echoes most from alumni is that they have not only learned new things met new people, and learned about others, but that they have also learned about themselves, and what we are all capable of doing if we put our minds to it.

It is an immensely joyful day, but also a bit touching, as the MBA journey is over. Yet the Monaco MBA Alumni journey can then begin!   

What qualities are you looking for in an applicant?

Accomplishment in whatever previous domain the applicant has been involved in.

We have had astounding corporate and entrepreneurial profiles amongst our MBAs. We have also had professional sportspeople and ballet dancers in our MBA cohort. For some schools, such applicants would be somewhat “unorthodox” for an MBA program. Yet such individuals are incredibly self-motivated and self-disciplined, as well as natural team players. Yes, the learning curve might be a bit steeper for them, but they intrinsically know how to deal with seemingly insurmountable challenges, and to accomplish the impossible.

This brings me to the second point: being a good team player. Regardless of how successful one maybe, being able to work in diverse teams is fundamental to success, not only in our MBA program but in life. As one successful alumna once said, to succeed in the MBA you have to leave your ego at the door.

And, finally, the curiosity to acquire not only new skills but also mindsets, to meet new and very different people, and to reassess and even challenge one’s own perspectives and viewpoints in the light of discovering new opinions and ways of thinking.

What do you say to prospective students who are considering IUM?

Deciding to do an MBA is a major and frequently life-changing decision.

It’s not only about the management and leadership tools you will acquire—any accredited and ranked MBA program should be able to provide those–but also about the people you’ll be able to meet and the networks you will be able to create.

Provided you are open-minded and curious, and prepared to work hard (and then, perhaps, play hard, as we are in Monaco!) IUM can provide you with an unparalleled experience and contacts upon which to build your career or your business.

If you would like more information about our MBA Program, please look at our website.

Feel free to also contact the Admissions Team directly at

Updated 5 October 2021