INSEAD Participant Interview
Learning to Create Value on the Finance for Executives Programme
Can you please introduce yourself?
I am Managing Director for Pruftechnik in Spain and Portugal. We provide rotating machinery, condition monitoring, laser alignment and quality control instruments to industrial manufacturing companies.
Why did you decide to join the Finance for Executives programme?
There were a couple of reasons. Firstly, I was beginning to question whether or not I was creating value for my company. I had a feeling that what I was doing was right, but I am not always in contact with my headquarters. In terms of results, I was relying a lot on balance sheets and income statements and these only tell part of the story.
Secondly, I am involved in sales and I wasn’t sure if my proposals were valuable for my customers and my company. I was interested in measuring the revenue generated and making my proposals more attractive. If I could have the answers to these questions, I knew that I would create even further value for my company and for my customers. If you do both, you are on the right track.
I joined the programme as I believed that it would help me answer both of these points.
Speaking about value, can you tell me what the programme taught you about value judgement?
Finance for Executives not only showed us how to create value, but also how to compare our performance to peers and other companies.
What were some of the programme highlights?
I think that the highlight for me was not during the programme, but what it gave me subsequently. I came on to the programme with projects in mind and now I have ideas on how to propose them. I was able to go back to my company and justify the projects and demonstrate how they will create value for the company.
Would you say the programme is a good mixture of the practical and the theory?
I think so yes. I have done three other programmes at INSEAD and Finance for Executives was the most academic. The others were inspiring and gave me ideas to take my business forward. What was particularly interesting about Finance for Executives was that it took the theory and showed you how to apply it to your work. The concepts we were taught apply to all sorts of projects I undertake: development, sales, marketing. Finance for Executives also gives you the means to benchmark against other proposals and projects. It gives you the tool and the knowledge to do this.
Did you think the participant mix was a good one?
When you come onto an executive education programme there are a couple of ways in which you can learn: one is from the professors of course, but the other is from the other participants. You can benchmark yourself against them. You learn by seeing how they deal with the same challenges. You see they face the same issues. And they have to take the same decisions. The networking was definitely one of the pluses of the programme and so yes, I thought the mix was good.
You’ve now done four programmes at INSEAD. What has the mix brought you?
With the programmes advisors, we looked at where I wanted to be in my career and we planned the programmes to complete. I did the Powering Growth, AIMS: Advanced Industrial Marketing Strategy, Leading the Effective Sales Force and now the Finance for Executives programmes. So they spanned marketing and sales, strategy and finally finance: a broad mix of topics. The marketing and sales programmes were very case study oriented and were very inspiring. Finance for Executives has enabled me to see how to put into action the ideas gained on the market and sales programmes and put a value on these ideas.
Have you noticed any tangible difference on your work?
Spain and Portugal have suffered quite extensively from the financial crisis. Whilst I can’t say for certain, I think that the new insights gained at INSEAD have enabled us to weather the storm better than if I had not completed the programmes. The education allowed me to measure my performance and provide value for the company.
You are now a holder of the INSEAD Certificate in Global Management, what does this mean to you?
The Certificate is a reward and working towards it has enabled me to reach my career goals. It allows you to tailor your education to your needs and as such, is very targeted. Having spent so much time at INSEAD, I was also able to build up good relations with the professors and I am still in contact with them. I can go to them for feedback. The follow-up is very valuable.
Interested in INSEAD's Finance for Executives programme? Have a look at the Finance for Executives web page.