What follows are selected responses from Carolina and David. The rest of their answers, as well as the full Best and Brightest Executive MBA’s of 2021 feature from Poets & Quants, is available via the link below.
Carolina, who is the VP Global Communications at Lancome– part of the L’Oréal Group– is a purpose-driven and strategy-guided Communications leader. The product of a varied professional background (she once used her extensive piano training to coach Morgan Freeman and Jet Li to mimic professional piano playing) she pairs her innate creativity with a keen busines sense, driving action and engaging and energizing teams behind her projects.
Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I wished and needed to widen my vision and gain perspective, in order to give another dimension to my job, beyond my operational expertise. I wanted to ensure that doing an EMBA program allowed me to acquire leadership skills, with an impact on the teams and the business. I realized that is the program would be demanding and challenging but I was determined to make a success of it, as my goal is very clear. After reflection, with precise and specific objectives, I was looking for an immersive and highly qualitative education format such as the EMBA at HEC.
What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?
My biggest lesson was to change my position, and no longer act as a leader but as a challenger or an entrepreneur. When you are used to working in a large system, you forget certain reflexes that you must regain. Because today, entrepreneurs challenge the big players by their ability to respond to the problem through another prism. This is what I am trying to implement in my job today in order to exercise my mind to challenge the ideas received.
David, a 31-year-old who was a PhD supervisor of his own students before getting his own PhD due to holding a number of patents and academic publications, said his proudest moment in business school was implementing a robust personal development plan over the 18-month program. He was deeply engaged and gratified by the process of assimilating the research content presented during the program into actionable steps.
Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program?
I split my time between Boston, USA and Oxford, UK, and both are wonderful cities, but they are familiar cultures. Enrolling in an EMBA in another English-speaking country where I had lived previously would have been “more of the same.”
Rather, I wanted a challenge that was beyond the written content of the EMBA program; I wanted to immerse myself in an unfamiliar cultural environment, with likeminded people who were willing to take a risk on a new environment to challenge and better themselves, and most importantly, their fellow classmates.
What is the biggest lesson you gained during your EMBA, and how do you apply it at work?
The biggest surprise I experienced during the EMBA program, was the first step in attaining the “biggest lesson.” During the Leadership program, a battery of psychometric tests presented quantitative and qualitative data that unequivocally indicated that I had some “harsh edges.” That is to say that while I didn’t mean to appear as such, I could appear intimidating and ‘cold’ to others – which could adversely impact leadership performance.
The lesson gained from this revelation has two parts. Firstly, it’s OK not to have a perfect natural skillset in any part of a General Manager’s repertoire. Secondly, after acknowledging these areas for improvement, there are a number of ways to make sustained improvements; but the most important is collaboration within a team. Seek feedback, give feedback and improve continuously together.
Click here to find out the rest of what David and Carolina had to say in the Best and Brightest 2021 EMBA feature from Poets & Quants.
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.
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