INSEAD Participant Interview

Interview with a past participant: A Profound Journey in Personal and Professional Transformation

Carmine Mandola

COO for Middle East and Africa, Coface
"INSEAD and the Certificate in Global Management offered the depth of experience for me to explore all of these issues, while discovering so much more about myself as a leader and a person."

Carmine, what business need led to you choosing the Certificate in Global Management at INSEAD?

I am currently COO for Middle East and Africa with multinational insurance solutions provider, Coface. Moving into this role back in 2019 from my previous position as a country manager meant that I had a real need to broaden my perspective as a leader. I knew it was time to develop advanced leadership competencies and interpersonal skills that would not only help me interact effectively and mentor my direct reports and teams, but communicate better with other peers and leaders across the organisation. At the same time, I was looking for support to help me adjust to change and bolster my capacity to see the bigger picture in terms of competitive strategy. I was stepping up into greater influence and responsibility at the multinational level and that meant deepening my ability to analyse the international market and derive more meaning from how our competitors were acting and reacting to market forces.

INSEAD was very much on my radar as a premier business school with an international reputation for academic excellence and global business understanding. The INSEAD Certificate in Global Management gave me a unique opportunity to pursue a hand-picked combination of programs that mapped directly my needs – and a chance to my own bespoke learning journey over a longer timeframe.

So you were looking for a deep learning experience to accelerate your leadership and strategic thinking?

Yes, I was looking for an experience with the depth and scale, as well as the focus, to really enact a transformation in my skill set. But I also wanted the time and the support to think about what I had achieved in my professional life to date, to look at what I had done so far and build a framework for where I wanted to go. INSEAD and the Certificate in Global Management offered the depth of experience for me to explore all of these issues, while discovering so much more about myself as a leader and a person.

Which programmes did you choose to complete the Certificate and why?

To complete the Certificate, I put together a learning roadmap that consisted of three critical programs: The Leadership Transition, Competitive Strategy and Leading for Results. These three programs responded beautifully to the complex needs I had: the leadership development and transition requirements, as well as the imperative to see where we as a company could drive new value across different territories.

How did you find the learning experience at INSEAD?

The mix of the conceptual and the practical was first-class across all three of the programs. Faculty understand that keeping senior business executives in the classroom for protracted periods of time is not going to work indefinitely, so sessions are a really excellent blend of theoretical exposition and hands-on group work that gives you the space to explore that you are learning.

The case-study dimension in particular gives you the opportunity to work with peers, breaking down real-life business challenges and assessing diverse strategies and impact. You have a really unique chance to explore how different organisations respond to the kinds of problems you too face in your daily role. And working in small groups with very senior business leaders from a diversity of organisations, sectors and geographies, has the effect of exponentially expanding your perspective and broadening your vision. It’s peer-learning at its very best.

What did you think of INSEAD faculty?

INSEAD faculty are of the highest quality. The professors guide the learning whilst empowering participants with the autonomy to explore their own ideas and embed new concepts in their own space. That makes the impact as tangible as it is deep –in terms of both professional and personal development. I’ve come away truly transformed as a leader. I am more focused on people and more aware of the nuances of multicultural leadership, with a far greater understanding of my own organisation – its objectives and its challenges. The INSEAD experience has also equipped me with the kinds of entrepreneurial skills – the agility, the creative tools and the innovation mindset – to execute for impact, and drive real value for company.

So would you recommend the Certificate in Global Management to others who might be looking to accelerate professional and personal change in their lives?

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. It is an once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a break and think very deeply about what you want and what you need. You emerge from this journey with a renewed sense of credibility as a leader and a profound feeling of achievement.

Interested in the INSEAD Certificate in Global Management? Download the brochure here.

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