If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that no eventuality can ever be counted out. In business, as in life, expecting the unexpected is crucial to success. In an uncertain world, those organizations that wish to survive will have to ask themselves a simple question – how can they quickly develop the agility required of successful organizations today – even global firms counting thousands of employees? For many, the answer lies in digital transformation, and adopting the best practices of a new form of company that thrives on quick, decisive strategic planning made possible by the latest digital trends.
The HEC Paris Executive MBA’s ‘Manage the Digital Revolution’ specialization aims to equip executives and entrepreneurs with the tools to confidently lead the way for their organizations.
EMBA alum Pascal Dubreucq, who heads up global sales and business partnerships at MobiWire Group, is one such executive. In the following Q&A, he expands on the benefits of this approach, which helped him, as he sees it, to “discover the digital ecosystem and understand what is necessary to consider in a digital transformation.”
Why did the HEC Paris Executive MBA interest you?
I joined the program to create positive change in my professional experience and to take proactive charge of my success by learning, sharing, and transforming myself. I used the time during my EMBA to reflect on my 27 years’ professional experience, and to take a healthy break. It also enabled me to examine my career path and identify projects that work toward better sustainability and inclusion.
Why did you select this specialization?
The decision to select Manage the Digital Revolution was motivated by wanting to take a deep dive into the digital space. It would prepare me for the next 15 years of my career, as digital transformation is an enabler of new business models. It also allows for sales and marketing platforms to become more customer-centric, which is crucial in any business today.
What were your expectations going into this specialization?
My expectation going into the specialization was to acquire a clear understanding of the digital tools and technologies available in order to design and shape business relationships with customers. I feel confident in being able to identify opportunities for connecting new digital technologies in redesigned business models, which was always my goal.
What were some of your key takeaways from the specialization which are applicable for your future projects?
In any industry, innovative digital strategies are what differentiate your company. The digital wave means there are no boundaries when it comes to accessing customers through digital platforms and API (Application Programming Interfaces.) It’s enabling businesses to realistically become global entities – and is accelerating that reality. There are various business model re-design opportunities which have the potential to be disruptive in any industry, which is what most industries need right now.
“The digital wave means there are no boundaries when it comes to accessing customers through digital platforms and API”
How does this specialization address the importance of digital technologies in businesses tackling issues of sustainability?
Digital technologies are the true definition of a game changer because they lower the barrier to entry. Technologies like AI (machine learning and deep learning), API, and IOT (Internet of Things) becoming readily available to small, digital businesses evens the playing field and supports small teams with slightly limited financial or technical skills. Given the abundance of skilled freelancers available on the market, you could be a sustainable business with limited resources but using the freelance market to access to the right skills.
What’s the biggest difficulty facing today’s businesses which the specialization aims to address?
The biggest difficulty for businesses is working out how to transform traditional top-down organizational models into an agile organization, which closely resembles a living organism, without abandoning the traditional customers and legacy of the company. The new organizational style needs to prioritize quick changes, with hierarchical boxes and lines less important than a focus on action. Teams should be built around end-to-end accountability, and leadership needs to show direction and enable action. This is the type of structure that attracts top talent.
“it’s essential for businesses to have a strong leader with resilience, energy and openness, in order to allow for innovation at every level of a company.”
How does the specialization enable executives who want to know how to lead in the digital age?
For starters, it teaches individuals that it’s essential for businesses to have a strong leader with resilience, energy and openness, in order to allow for innovation at every level of a company. A key success factor is to ensure businesses and executive teams are accessing the right technology for their companies. This requires analysis and understanding of different available technologies, which the specialization dove into. It’s so important for managers and decision makers to be open to new innovative ideas, especially in large corporations.
What was the most valuable aspect of the specialization?
We were exposed to a number of real cases and testimonies from companies and entrepreneurs who were able to transform their businesses and teams through new digital technologies — which went beyond just the digital aspect — and demonstrated the process of redesigning and rethinking business models. Being able to analyze real-life scenarios and take away steps which we could apply to our own companies was the most valuable aspect for me. I wanted to have a deep dive into digital because there are a lot of new ways to run a business, and I got that.
More CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies have graduated from HEC Paris than any other university in Europe, and nearly 4,000 graduates are currently CEOs, CFOs, or have founded their own companies. According to the Financial Times, the HEC Paris Executive MBA is ranked #1 in Europe and #3 in the world; click here to learn more about this world-class program.