INSEAD Participant Interview
Mixing Theory with the Practical on the Negotiation Dynamics Programme
Christian Mourier Laursen
T-Systems Nordic Region
"It’s a strong programme with very solid and professional teachers. You are given the theory behind successful negotiations, as well as the practical side of things, with many insights into how to handle negotiations in a wide variety of situations."
Can you please introduce yourself?
I’ve just changed companies and have moved from Steria to Deutsche Telekom. My regional remit and responsibility is larger and I have a bigger team to manage.
At Deutsche Telekom I work in delivery execution for Denmark and the Nordics (Scandinavia) and I am part of the executive team in the Nordics and part of the senior management team.
I have been working in IT for around 16 years, 12 of those in different management positions from programme management to people and strategic management.
What made you decide to come on Negotiation Dynamics?
I had some practical knowledge of negotiation, but I needed more formal training; something less focused on theory and more centred on the practical, professional and profound. I needed to learn more about the framework and take part in more networking with peers to understand how they approach negotiation. I also needed more dialogue on the pros and cons of negotiation and needed tools that would enable me to conduct negotiations in a much better manner.
In terms of INSEAD as a school, I wanted to engage in case-orientated training. I wanted to understand the practical side of negotiation and INSEAD was the answer to that. I was very impressed. The programme was very comprehensive with very active sessions. You really get into the details.
Also, the ability to network whilst I was here was very important and I chose INSEAD so as to gain access to the experienced faculty members, who give participants very deep and comprehensive training.
Do you feel you came away with new knowledge?
I do. The formal training at INSEAD really did give me fresh background information and knowledge. I was able to revisit the foundations and the key concepts.
Would you say that even those who already have lots of negotiation experience have something to gain from taking part in the programme?
Yes, because it does go into the fundamentals: the how, when, where, who, etc…You need to understand all these to be a good negotiator. This is what the programme does. It breaks the concept of negotiation down, and re-builds your knowledge from the ground up: the fundamental principles. It gives you the soft and hard skills (theory and practical).
What were some of your key takeaways?
The main ones would be how to structure negotiations, how to plan them, prepare them and how to execute them.
I learnt about all the tactics involved and all the dimensions to take into account when looking at a negotiation scenario.
Another takeaway was how to approach different cultures and different countries. We were given good examples and cases during the programme.
Do you think you have come away with greater confidence?
Yes. The fact you get a good grip of how to prepare and how to structure negotiations in a professional manner gives you more confidence in your ability to engage in negotiations.
Was there a good blend of theory and practical?
Yes. The theory part was supported by the practical during the programme. We looked at cases and these were backed up by the theory and the mix was very good. It was hands-on and you get a good idea how to handle a variety of different situations.
How did you find the programme pace?
It was at the level it should have been. You cannot go slowly. It has to be effective fast and you have to push people. The interaction between the participants and with the faculty though out the sessions was good. You were not allowed to sit by yourself and drift. You were always involved. It was very focused.
How do you anticipate the programme being of benefit to you?
I now have a good framework and structure with which to engage in negotiations. I have the formal training I was looking for. On top of that, I now have more confidence of how to use it – especially when it comes to larger negotiations.
I also have a network which I can use actively. I can contact them (the other participants) freely. This is very useful.
What did you think about the teaching?
It was excellent. Programme Director Horacio and visiting faculty member, Filip Hron, have very solid and strong backgrounds within the field and you feel that immediately. They have good real-world examples. They challenge the audience and they are able to cover the topics broadly. In addition, they can deal with all types of questions and are always available.
Did you find that you were able to learn much from the other participants?
I was able to learn from them. A few in the audience were at the same level as I was. I was able to engage in discussions with them and it became clear we faced the same issues.
In addition, the participant mix was very broad, with many different professional profiles. This made for interesting discussions. There was good diversity. It was a good mix. What you realise is that despite the differences, they are not that great. We all face the same challenges and the principles are more or less the same.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Negotiation Dynamics? How would you describe the programme?
It’s a strong programme with very solid and professional teachers. You are given the theory behind successful negotiations, as well as the practical side of things, with many insights into how to handle negotiations in a wide variety of situations. You come away with lots of useful tools to work with. You can use these from day one. So, I would fully recommend the programme.
The culture at INSEAD is very ambitious and it pushes you. It’s very focused on high-level training and this atmosphere is equally important (as the programme itself). You feel that you are among people who all want to go the distance and who are focused.
To find more about how you can also improve your negotiation skills, consult the Negotiation Dynamics webpage.