INSEAD Participant Interview
Strategy Execution Programme
For Jumia Secretary General Morocco, Badr Bouslikhane, the Strategy Execution Programme not only was a doorway to new understanding, frameworks and tools; it was a conduit to a completely new role.
"I’m not superstitious, but this felt like destiny."
When you take an executive education programme, you can usually point to the benefits with ease: the gains in understanding, skills, confidence, clarity and vision are clear. But how often can you pinpoint the precise moment that that programme functioned as a springboard into a completely new role?
Ask Badr Bouslikhane, and he can tell you without hesitation. The Strategy Execution Programme at INSEAD was “absolutely critical” in helping him identify and articulate the challenges – and the solutions – ahead of the incoming Secretary General Morocco at Jumia, the leading e-commerce platform in Morocco. It is a role that he has held since May 2021; and one that became his in no small part because of the INSEAD experience.
“INSEAD and the Strategy Execution Programme in particular gave me the complete understanding of the issues facing my company and the synergies that I personally could bring to the role of Secretary General. Doing the programme gave me the absolute clarity throughout the recruitment process, to structure my thinking around the role, to formulate the right questions, diagnose the right opportunities and recommendations, and step up into the job with confidence.”
Bouslikhane’s INSEAD experience began in early 2020, with the realisation that he had reached a “threshold” in his career.
After 10 years of leadership roles in the digital and fintech spaces, and a founding role with Avito, the leading classifieds marketplace in Morocco, he had started to question himself around his next move.
“I’d enjoyed success across a range of organisations and responsibilities, most recently as Chief Revenues Officer with Avito, so I was confident in my capabilities. But I had started to question myself around the next phase of my career and where I wanted to go. I started thinking about what the next step for me would be.”
“Good advice” from colleagues and family members led him to INSEAD and to the Certificate in Global Management: a combination of three programmes that leads to official recognition and certification of achievement from INSEAD.
“INSEAD was an obvious choice for me because of the prestige and quality of the school, its programmes and its international scope. Choosing to do the Certificate in Global Management meant that I could customise the INSEAD experience to my needs and focus on the key areas I wanted to develop to help me determine my next steps. One of these was the Strategy Execution Programme (SEP).”
The choice of the SEP, says Bouslikhane, was carefully thought over, as a new opportunity to lead revenue efforts was opening up at his company.
“Exciting new prospects were opening up, and the SEP looked like an amazing opportunity to wrap real academic rigour and some formal structure around my understanding of strategy and execution. I was very keen to build expertise here to position myself strongly for a new role, just as the company was poised to grow.”
The programme start date also coincided with the global pandemic, however, meaning that delivery would have to shift online. Despite some “disappointment” about the impact this would have on networking, Bouslikhane was nonetheless enthusiastic to throw himself into the learning experience. And his expectations were not only met, he says, but exceeded.
“The virtual format was great, in the end. If anything, moving the programme online and virtual meant that we managed our time more efficiently and in our face-to-face sessions, we really got straight to the point. And because the Zoom piece was so well planned, it felt hugely immersive and interactive. The group work with peers was hugely illuminating, especially around brand building.”
One of the principal takeaways of the programme, says Bouslikhane, was the ability to identify all the “anxieties” that can impair execution. That, and building the tools and frameworks to develop “emotional capital,” and to align teams.
“The SEP is an eye-opener. You really grasp the role of strong psychological leadership in spotting the hidden barriers to great execution, and in building collective engagement and commitment. The whole process teaches you to challenge the status quo and to ask yourself questions about how to interact with others and do a better job as a leader of people.”
The programme was hugely instrumental to him during the interview process for his current role, he stresses.
“Thanks to the SEP, I had real clarity around the challenges and opportunities that were arising, and about the how to really leverage the commonalities we had to drive execution. Talking about this new role, I was able to formulate questions better, pinpoint synergies both between us as organisations and in terms of my suitability for this role, and make solid recommendations about how to move forward.”
The programme has also given him the confidence and certainty to hit the ground running as his company looks at ways to reach new users, and to drive revenue and profitability.
“Having the INSEAD experience at this time was serendipitous. It was not really calculated to be honest, it just happened quite naturally,” says Bouslikhane.
“I’m not particularly superstitious, but it felt like destiny.”