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Executive Education

stefano modini
stefano modini
INSEAD Certificate in Global Management

Interview with a past participant: A transformational experience for an enterprising Medical Doctor

Stefano Modini

Medical Doctor at See-Spital Horgen & Kilchberg, Switzerland

Doing the Certificate in Global Management is an immersive experience, and it’s an experience that changes your life. So don’t imagine that you’re just going into something that’s nice to do. It’s enormously intense. And it will have amazingly positive consequences and outcomes for your life.

Stefano, you are a medical doctor. What brought you to INSEAD?

I’ve been a doctor for the last 10 years, specialising in anaesthesiology and rescue medicine. I work as an attending physician at one of Switzerland’s foremost hospitals and healthcare centres, and over the course of the last year my role began to evolve. In the coming months I’ll be transitioning to more operational responsibility and greater leadership in my work. So that’s what was behind my desire to flesh out my business and management understanding. And it’s what brought me to INSEAD.

What skills or attributes did you want to develop in terms of your professional or leadership toolkit?

Well, medicine has been my vocation since the very start of my career. It’s my passion. But like any other industry, I suppose, your success as a doctor is very much contingent on the quality of leader.

I felt the need to step up to a managerial role myself, and to do a good job as a leader in order to deliver optimal impact and results. But I needed to learn about how to manage, how to lead others – both in terms of the knowledge and the understanding. And this wasn’t going to be easy for me. On the one hand I wanted to make the career transition. On the other hand I knew I was going into a world I didn’t fully understand. I felt that my vocation – my heritage in a sense – was going to be taken away from me.

So you obtained the Certificate in 2018 and your first programme was the Management Acceleration Programme. What expectations did you have of the programme?

I joined INSEAD feeling slightly broken – I knew I did not have the same experience or background as my fellow attendees, and I was concerned that this would be a disadvantage. But from the start, I felt a kind of transformational dynamism and energy. In my Management Acceleration Programme cohort there were 30 people from 17 different countries, all of us sharing seminars, personal and professional coaching and getting involved in intense exchange and debate. It was extraordinary. I went into the programme broken and walked out of it feeling absolutely reborn.


Did you know from the start you were going to complete the Certificate in Global Management?

So, my alumnus friend advised me to join the MAP but he did not talk about the certificate. From the start of the programme, I already knew I wanted more from this school, so I informed myself and saw the opportunity of the certificate. I chose the following two programmes to complete the CGM: Competitive Strategy and Negotiation Dynamics. The topics of both programmes were not represented in the MAP, So I chose them in order to complete the general knowledge that I was learning.

So the fact that you had a “different” profile didn’t hinder your progress?

Not in the slightest. It’s true that I was the only candidate with a medical background. I think that a business certificate or degree is still not seen as something that doctors do. My classmates in all three programmes came from a variety of fields like banking, insurance, marketing roles and different sectors, but I was the only doctor.

That being said, there was such a high degree of diversity on the programmes, with men and women from really different walks of life, that it enriched the experience immeasurably – both for me and for my classmates. Ok, for me the concepts might have been less familiar; everything was new! But that only gave me greater motivation to learn. To be honest, I don’t think that the learning experience was any more challenging for me than it was for the others.

How would you describe the major takeaways of the CGM learning journey for you and for your career?

Quite simply, the Certificate has changed my life. As a doctor, I’m in the business of saving lives, but I honestly feel like my time at INSEAD has saved my life in a sense. Coming into the school, I felt very lost and unsure of my purpose or sense of direction.

The programmes I attended opened my eyes to the world in general. And the knowledge you acquire can be adapted to any scenario, to any purpose; it even enriches the way you speak to friends and family. There’s this kind of new understanding of the processes and the dynamics behind everything that’s going on around you – the negotiations, the influencing, the trade-offs. I honestly felt blind before taking the Certificate. It’s changed my life.

So you feel better equipped – better armed maybe – to step up now into more of a leadership role?

Totally. This transition process has begun now and I’m already preparing to take on new responsibilities. The Certificate has laid bare the processes and the frameworks that I am going to need to manage and motivate people in the future. And just in terms of the day-to-day, it’s changed my thinking to the extent that I’m simply doing a better job now than I was at the start of the year.

I think that having a Certificate in Global Management from INSEAD is a career tool for me too. It’s not common in my world for physicians and practitioners to have a business qualification, so it’s another mechanism to help you stand out professionally. My boss knows INSEAD well, for instance. He’s very proud that I’ve taken the Certificate.

Would you recommend the Certificate to your colleagues? And if so, what would you tell them?

Absolutely. And I’d encourage them to take the challenge very seriously and to be well prepared. Doing the Certificate in Global Management is an immersive experience, and it’s an experience that changes your life. So don’t imagine that you’re just going into something that’s nice to do. It’s enormously intense. And it will have amazingly positive consequences and outcomes for your life. I would absolutely recommend the Certificate to anyone looking for this kind of life impact. In fact, I have already recommended the Certificate to a friend who’ll be joining INSEAD within the next couple of years.