INSEAD Participant Interview
Participant Profile: From 30 Years in Audit to a New Career
Senior Partner - Audit and Enterprise Risk Services
William Blomme is a Senior Partner in Deloitte’s Belgian Audit and Enterprise Risk Services business unit. He recently completed the Transition to General Management programme on INSEAD’s Europe and Asia Campuses.
Can you tell us a little about your company and your career so far?
I’m Belgian, 55 years old and have 32 years of experience in the audit business, especially working with manufacturing, retail, technology/media/telecoms and life sciences companies. I’ve also been on the supervisory board of Deloitte Belgium for 12 years and am the author of a book on international financial reporting standards.
Can you describe the skills you need for your current role?
As a senior partner I still need technical skills in audit and financial reporting, but also the commercial skills to gain and retain clients. In addition, I need coaching and mentoring skills to help develop my people, negotiation skills for my board-level work and communications skills for all the presentations, speeches and seminars that I give.
Why did you choose Transition to General Management?
As my audit career will come to an end next year, I have to do some internal succession planning and – above all – reflect on what comes next for me. That’s why I wanted to update my knowledge of strategy, marketing and innovation and learn how to build networks more effectively. However, I was particularly keen to experience the INSEAD coaching and leadership development process to develop a plan for my new career and post-audit personal life!
How has the programme benefitted you and your organisation?
The sessions on “Blue Line Management” have already been very helpful in my daily contact with C-suite clients. The networking was also great, as well as the opportunity to discover the Singapore/Asian environment. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself and my role as a mentor-coach and started to create a two-year personal-development plan. The coaching was so good that I’ve decided to continue with it privately.
What part of the programme did you find particularly beneficial and why?
Without a doubt it was the integrated leadership development process, especially the 360-degree assessments and feedback from my observers in the group and individual coaching. But I also gained a broader perspective on my current role through courses like marketing, strategy and innovation. Networking and learning through INSEAD’s cultural diversity was very valuable too.
Was that that why you chose INSEAD Executive Education?
In fact, I’ve studied at other business schools, but I always dreamed of coming to INSEAD, because of its world-class reputation. This was the perfect time for me to come, because the elite worldwide alumni network will be of particular benefit in my second career.
What do you tell other people about the programme, since you have returned from INSEAD?
Well, I always tell them what a great experience it was! I have also recommended it to some of my clients. One has already enrolled and others have it on their to-do lists. As for me, I will soon return to do the International Directors Programme and I am still working with my INSEAD coach.
What were the biggest surprises of Transition to General Management?
I certainly wasn’t expecting to discover a different way of thinking about finance after all these years! But with Kevin Kaiser’s “Blue Line Management” concept”, I have a brand new passion.
What was your impression of the other participants?
Everyone was very motivated to learn but, perhaps more importantly, to share. This helped particularly with the leadership development and coaching process. It was a truly international experience and I made many new friends.
To find out more about the Transition to General Management Programme and how it can help with your move to a new career, click here.