INSEAD Participant Interview

Boosting Your Career With the INSEAD Certificate in Global Management


Caroline Wouters

Vice President at Wolters Kluwer

Caroline Wouters is a Vice President at Wolters Kluwer, a global leader in professional information services headquartered in The Netherlands, and global head of communications and brand lead.

She recently received the INSEAD Certificate in Global Management for completing three programmes: Leading for ResultsManaging Global Virtual Teams and the Strategic Marketing Programme (formerly the International Marketing Programme).

Could you please introduce yourself?

I am a Vice President at Wolters Kluwer, a global leader in professional information services headquartered in The Netherlands, and present in 150 countries. As Vice President, I am global head of communications and the global brand lead. My role is to build and strengthen the organisation’s reputation. To do this, I work with many different teams and brand specialists within the company.

Prior to Wolters Kluwer, I was working in a publishing house, so I have spent my entire career in the information industry.

Was it your intention to undertake the Certificate from the outset?

Yes, I decided it was the best option for me as I am someone who likes to learn a lot and be challenged. The Certificate seemed to offer me the opportunity to do just that, from both a professional and personal standpoint.

Why did you choose to do the Certificate?

I wanted a goal to work towards. More importantly, I wanted to step-up in my career. I wanted to break through barriers and take on greater leadership roles. I felt that if I did just one programme, it would not have been enough to give me the skills and knowledge I was looking for. I believed that if I combined programmes, I would learn a lot more.

I also wanted something that would demonstrate my commitment to professional training and something that would reflect where I am in my career. So, I created a roadmap and began working towards the Certificate.

When you have arrived at a very senior level in your career, it is good to refresh your knowledge. That is what INSEAD and the Certificate did for me.

It was an eye opening experience. It required a significant investment in time and energy, but it was worthwhile.

Which programmes did you do and why?

I started with the Leading for Results programme in Singapore. I took this one first because I believed it would give me the foundations to be a better leader and a high-level view of leadership. This programme really focused on personal development and style. It demonstrated that undertaking a programme at INSEAD is not only about enhancing your intellectual capacity, it is also about improving how you work with people; developing yourself as a person and challenging your weaknesses. 

I then chose the Managing Global Virtual Teams, which again focused more on the foundations of becoming a better leader.

The final programme I enrolled in was the Strategic Marketing Programme. This was more of a practical programme that is closely related to my day-to-day work. 

Why did you choose INSEAD?

I looked at different schools and different opportunities in the US, UK and Switzerland, but the reputation of INSEAD, coupled with the fact that I could obtain the Certificate, really convinced me.

A lot of the time when you do executive training, you hear the things you already know. INSEAD offered something different: the chance to learn something new.

I was also interested in coming to INSEAD because of the diverse group of people I knew I would be surrounded by in the programmes. I really wanted to work with people from many different cultures and INSEAD really delivered.

Did doing three different programmes give you a much broader outlook?

A much deeper and broader learning experience yes. I feel that one of the main challenges of executive training is to really get participants to change the way they work. More often than not, you go back to the office and you eventually end up working the same old way. It’s difficult to change behaviour. However, the benefit of having completed the 2nd and 3rdprogrammes was that I felt I really had changed. All three programmes gave me great insight into how I can change, contribute and influence people. The programmes really forced me to re-think how I approached my work. They have helped give me the tools to change and improve.

So, would you say that the programmes have had a tangible impact on your work?

Absolutely. I really changed the way that I work. I thought about ways in which I could free up some time to be able to implement my new learning. INSEAD made me realise what I could change. I promoted someone in my team and I took on new responsibilities that I felt would make a difference to my career. I work in a different way with my team and my peers, and have set more ambitious goals than in the past.

What did you like most about INSEAD?

I liked the variety of what I learnt. Leading for Results and Managing Global Virtual Teams challenged my personal contribution as a leader and manager. They made me think about my role: How do people see me? How do I influence people? It was very rewarding.

I also like the fact that INSEAD challenged my rationale and helped me think outside box.

What do you think the biggest impact of INSEAD has been?

INSEAD gave me confidence to believe that I am not only a leader in my function, but that I also have the capability to be a leader in many other areas. INSEAD showed me how to be a stronger leader. INSEAD helped me to see that I can step up. It showed me that I can broaden my scope.

What would you say about INSEAD?

INSEAD is a wonderful experience. Even if my company had not been in a position to sponsor me, I would certainly have done it.

To find out how you can gain the INSEAD Certificate in Global Management click here.

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