"It gave me the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and see things more clearly. It was three weeks of self-reflection with faculty who know how to bring the best out in people. This is not something that happens every day...It really was an amazing experience that gave me the skills, knowledge, language and tools to make a difference in my work."
Why were you considering Executive Education?
My company identified me as someone with ‘high-potential’. As a result, I was given a budget to use on my training and the freedom to select the Executive Education programme I thought was the most suitable. I looked at all the business schools and at many of their programmes.
What prompted you to apply to the Management Acceleration Programme?
What sold the Management Acceleration Programme to me was reading the interviews with past participants. It became clear that the Management Acceleration Programme had made a great impact on them. It seemed to be an opportunity to self-reflect and think about the future, whilst improving your leadership skills in a multicultural environment – not just a programme focused on building or consolidating business knowledge. Of course, one other deciding factor was the fact that three of the professors teaching on the programme had been shortlisted in the Thinkers50 awards!
What were some of your key takeaways?
Working in strategy consulting, I’m used to dealing with many aspects of managing a business – analysis, problem solving and decision-making in challenging situations, for example. The Management Acceleration Programme did cover such areas and, with the help of great faculty and peers in the classroom, I strengthened my competences across a range of subjects from new strategy frameworks to finance. However, I thought the real value of the programme lay in the leadership skills it helped develop. This was an eye-opening experience, which enlarged my horizons and broadened my scope of knowledge.
Why are leadership skills so important to your work?
I work with different clients, from different functions and industries, so the ability to adapt to different corporate cultures, teams and organisational behaviour is crucial. For example, in terms of negotiation and managing ambiguity, the programme gave me the capacity to manage difficult situations in meetings. It also gave me frameworks and tools to manage the decision-making process and make things happen when presented with extremely challenging situations.
Were there any other highlights?
It really teaches you to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see all angles. And, given the fact that it’s a three-week programme, you have the time to practise what you’ve been taught, which is very important. The Management Acceleration Programme also focused on leadership and intercultural issues and the classes, cases and roleplays we had on these subjects were simply enlightening.
Has the programme made a lasting personal impact?
I have always been delivery orientated. Achieving goals, personal ambition and drive are important to me. What I think I was missing was the personal development side of things. Indeed, it’s often difficult to take the time out to understand how to improve your personal and professional life. Until you have the opportunity to step back and have someone who uses simple and powerful tools to bring your self-reflection to a deeper level, you don’t necessarily know how to go about it.
What kinds of tools does the programme use to encourage self-reflection?
The funny thing is that there are tools, but slowly you find yourself doing everything by yourself. The professors just encourage you and nudge you in the right direction. If you come with an open mind, everything flows naturally. During the three weeks I think we went through all kinds of teaching methods, from classroom learning and group discussions to self-reflection, outdoor activities and coaching.
How did the coaching component benefit you?
The coaching encouraged me to be more open in terms of my inner feelings – to express myself and to establish connections with people. After the sessions, I was able to share my experience with the other participants. I had never done this before so it was a transformational experience. I also left the coaching with more questions about myself than I came with.
Do you think the programme gave you more confidence?
Definitely. It enriched me a lot with stories, with experiences and with cases. I left the programme with a lot more confidence in my ability to communicate clearly with my peers and others. If you want someone to listen to you, you have to be emotionally aware. We worked on this during the programme and I’ll continue to do so now that it‘s finished.
What was it like to be on campus for three weeks?
I did the Management Acceleration Programme in Fontainebleau because I wanted to be immersed in the learning experience - and the campus atmosphere is magic! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend three weeks with people from 18 different cultures: to share with them and to learn from them and not just during classes or group work. This kind of learning and life journey shakes up your thinking. It changes the way you see not only yourself but also others. It takes your consciousness to a new level.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing the Management Acceleration Programme?
I’d tell them that it gave me the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and see things more clearly. It was three weeks of self-reflection with faculty who know how to bring the best out in people. This is not something that happens every day. It helps you reflect on the moment and how to approach it. It encourages you to think about how to manage all aspects of your work, from the day-to-day business to managing people and relationships. It helps you develop and refine your leadership skills, your communication skills and your people skills. You leave with an enriched understanding of people and how to manage relationships. It helps you understand yourself and in doing so, you better understand others.
It really was an amazing experience that gave me the skills, knowledge, language and tools to make a difference in my work.