2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: David Ramirez, IMD Business School

David Ramirez

IMD – International Institute for Management Development

Age: 44

“I am a dedicated and positive person fostering energy transition through sustainable investing.”

Hometown: Geneva, Switzerland

Family Members: Married with two kids, an 8-years old boy and a 13-years old girl.

Fun fact about yourself: I love lasagna, and Italian food is by far my favorite.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Catolica del Tachira, San Cristobal, Venezuela. Bachelor Public Accounting

Where are you currently working? I am presently working in IntellSol, a Swiss decarbonization company with a deep focus on developing and operating high-impact scalable carbon solutions based on solar residential technologies.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I am member and treasury of APEMOCA, the parents association of the students at the Public School La Caroline, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am very proud of the academic results obtained from the participation in the IMD ESG module led by Vanina Farber in March 2021, where our team idea was presented to the faculty and a panel of young climate advocates. We got an A! The experience from the ESG module resulted in the creation of IntellSol, the company I mentioned before, where I was appointed as CEO.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am very proud of my true international career in the energy sector, where I have seen the challenges of the oil and gas sector and also the opportunities in the renewable energy sector. Having performed professionally in the Americas and Europe over the past 20 years in these two sectors of the energy industry have helped me to develop a mindset to easily adapt to uncertainty but also to foster change and business model innovation.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Two dimensions for this answer. From an intellectual and academic perspective, it would be Karl Schmedders because my background in finance. From an inner perspective, it would be Ben Bryant who helped me to start to understand who I am.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I was very attracted and interested in IMD since I live in Geneva, but I was also impressed by what I saw during the EMBA master class given by Stefan Michel in November 2019. It convinced me that the EMBA IMD program was for me. Basically the learning experience in the master class where you are literally feed with energy and knowledge was a mind-blowing experience to me.   

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned that we have choices as leaders to influence and drive performance. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that between 30%-65% of a company’s performance is driven by global and country factors. I am applying this at IntellSol by recognizing the powerful group dynamics in the team to drive results and innovation, but also by acknowledging that climate change is a global trend driving policies and decisions at corporate and government institutions that we can leverage.

In addition, I learned that new models and digital technologies are shaping a landscape of opportunities for start-ups but also to established companies to transform business models. I am applying this at Intellsol by co-creating value in a business model that mobilizes capital and deploys solar technologies using a private Ethereum blockchain solution developed internally.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? It was not easy at all. I completed the program during the pandemic period when restrictions existed. Home office was mandatory or highly recommended, so I remember being most of the time engaged on video calls and in front of the computer – on IMD- or work-related activities – while having the kids playing in the living room. Other times, I would be helping to make dinner when making pauses or writing essays at the beach house when family was jumping to the sea. I guess there is no magic formula other than family support and a tight calendar planned to the hour but flexible enough to account for surprises.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I would advise them to be curious, open to discover the outer but also the inner world and to engage and talk to as many people as possible. The amount of inspiration and reflection we can get from fellow students in the cohort and the experience from the faculty members is the unwritten curricula of the EMBA program.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I think the biggest myth is that you are going to school. Instead, you are going on a journey experience that may take you to places in your mindset and thinking that you did not know existed or that you may rediscover.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I would have liked to spend more time and to get to better know other students in the cohort, because I truly believe that every single person has something to offer that we can learn from. Luckily, our cohort is “Stellar,” and we continue to be very close and in constant interaction.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have a great sense of admiration for Hend Al Rumaithi. It is inspiring that a person at such a young age has developed a savvy leadership style that may take her to be part and lead in a period of transition and change in a great country like UAE.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? It was the possibility to have a personal interaction with the faculty and fellow EMBA participants as well as the possibility to be in Lausanne, exclusively dedicated to learn.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To continue to learn and contribute to the energy transition under different roles but ultimately advising entrepreneurs and promising start-ups in emerging markets, notably in South-Americ

What made David such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“David Ramirez epitomizes the IMD Executive MBA’s motto – “Growth starts with you.” He began his EMBA journey as a successful Finance executive with 20 years of experience and used the program to reshape his career. During 17 intense months, David fully applied himself in his academic work while maintaining a demanding schedule at work and home. By being a highly collaborative member of the cohort he was a much sought after teammate for group  assignments. His discipline, dedication and focus allowed him to leverage his EMBA experience to the fullest while consistently delivering excellent results at the individual and team level.  In future we anticipate that David’s empathetic, energetic and inclusive leadership style will allow him to impact society. The strong bonds he built with his peers and faculty alike contributed to his co-founding of IntellSol, a clean energy company, with fellow EMBA class participants.

We are extremely proud of David’s achievements both academically and professionally and wish him and his business partners continued success in such a  vital sector of the global economy.”

Viktor Lolev
IMD EMBA Admissions Manager


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