INSEAD Participant Interview

Manufacturing Management Training

Irene Wosgien

Irene Wosgien, DSM Pharma Site Manager, completed the Manufacturing in a Global Network programme in 2012. Here, she shares her thoughts on her time at INSEAD.

March 2013

Could you please start by introducing yourself?

I’ve been a Site Manager at DSM Pharma Chemicals in the Netherlands for the past two years. I am a chemical engineer by training and prior to my current role, I was working in various roles within DSM, from Asset Management, (Divestment) Projects as well in safety, health and environment on division level as on Corporate DSM.

Would you say you came onto the Manufacturing in a Global Network programme with significant industry knowledge?

That’s right. I already possessed a good knowledge of manufacturing processes and procedures. I knew about best practices. By enrolling on the programme, I wanted to deepen this knowledge, challenge what I already knew and see if I could gain new insights that would help me once I returned to my workplace.

The main reason that I went for an external training is to learn about the newest trends in Industry, get insight on the issues of other global companies which I would not have gotten if on an internal company training. I wanted to gain broader, industry-wide knowledge.

And did the programme meet your expectations?

I think it did. What was most interesting was to learn about manufacturing in a global context; to hear about worldwide trends. I wanted to learn about the global environment in which I work. And in this respect, the programme delivered.  I gained new insights. Although I am based in the Netherlands and manage a site there, I work for an international company and it’s not uncommon for me to be talking to someone on the other side of the world about our business. I need to think globally and Manufacturing in a Global Network helped me look at manufacturing in a global context, to understand the challenges and opportunities.

How do you think the programme benefited you?

One of the main benefits of the programme is that it is unique. There really is no other programme like it in other schools. You can learn about business administration in other schools, about how to lead and how to manage, but there is no other course that teaches you manufacturing trends, concepts and models. You learn about inventory management, lean operations, management of cash flows, process yields, people management, the nitty gritty of manufacturing etc…This was a real benefit to me.

Additionally, the programme covers the strategic and financial management of manufacturing operations – things like investment in plants and equipment, outsourcing, risk management and the analysis of long-term manufacturing decisions. This was really helpful. It has allowed me to go back to the office, talk about these things with my peers and challenge them when necessary.

What do you consider to be the highlight of the programme?

I think that learning about strategic and financial management was one of the highlights, and being able to take this knowledge back to work once I was done with the programme.

Can you give specific examples of how you have been able to use what you learnt on the programme in your job?

I think it comes back to the issue of strategic management again. Being taught how to look at total costing, the added value of it and how to use this in an operational environment, that was really beneficial and I have been able to engage in discussions with my peers on these topics. 

Those on the programme with you – was it a diverse group?

Definitely! There were people from so many different backgrounds on the programme. They came from different industries, brought with them different concepts  and their own insights. It was really rewarding. I felt I learnt a lot from them. This diversity was really a big added-value of the programme.

And the teaching?

All of the lecturers were very professional and very knowledgeable. They engaged with the participants well and brought dynamism into the programme. We were all able to learn a lot from their experience.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Manufacturing in a Global Network?

I would say that the programme is unique. It’s unique in what it gives you in terms of a learning experience. It looks at global trends and concepts - something that is very valuable when you consider manufacturing is done globally. At some points, I felt the programme was a bit too high-level perhaps. It could have gone into more detail on certain aspects, like the newest insights on lean management, for example. But, on the whole, I would say that it was a programme that had many highlights and taught me a lot. I was able to deepen my knowledge and look at the global context.

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