INSEAD Participant Interview

Strategy and Execution

INSEAD participant profile: executing strategy in Brazil

Tavane Gurdos

Tavane Gurdos is a product marketing manager for Microsoft, responsible for growing sales of selected Microsoft Office products in Brazil. At the time of the interview, she had just completed the first module of INSEAD Strategy Execution Programme.

What exactly does your job involve?

I have to develop strategic plans, carry out competitive analysis, draw up digital marketing plans, launch products, define value propositions, segment markets, build relationships with partners, get the internal team ready and work with other teams in the Microsoft group. So my job bridges strategy and execution – just like the programme.

Do you have any particular strategy execution challenges right now?

Yes, at the moment I’m responsible for two businesses that are relatively new in the Brazilian market, so I’m paying particular attention to strategy execution. I have a clear plan, shared with other stakeholders – with regular checkpoints and opportunities to correct errors if targets aren’t met. However, the challenge is that, despite having a good plan, there is always room for improvement when it comes to execution.

What was it about this particular programme that attracted you?

INSEAD is an internationally recognised academic institution, which was highly recommended by colleagues who had been there. Also I liked the structure of the course, because I could see it would motivate me to apply the learning and overcome the barriers to execution.

And did it motivate you? If so, how?

The regular online meetings with the group between modules were particularly motivating as well as the practical aspects.

What was your favourite part of the programme?

It’s hard to choose, because it was all really, really interesting. We did two days of theories and case studies. Then on the third day, we did a simulation exercise… and we really had a challenging time! It was fascinating to see the dynamics within our group: we thought we were communicating, but we weren’t. The experience underlined how much of a challenge communication is, when you’re implementing a strategy.

What else do you think you learned?

As well as communication, I was also struck by the importance of empowerment, which has already changed the way I carry out my daily activities.

Has the programme had any other impact on your work?

It’s already changed my strategy execution plan. The way I communicate and interact with other teams, some KPIs and targets.

Were the other participants helpful?

It’s great to have so many ideas and feedback from different industries and companies. Despite the differences, we discovered we were all facing similar issues. It was a really amazing experience that I truly recommend.

How does the programme compare with others that you’ve done?

I’ve mainly done one-week, very focused, company-specific programmes at US business schools. They were really good. INSEAD, however, provides a unique experience – very international. The structure of the Strategy Execution Programme is also different: two modules with online meetings in between. The other big difference is that the INSEAD programme enabled us to work on our own plans rather than someone else’s, which makes it unique.

To find out more about the programme and to work with INSEAD on your own strategy execution plan click here.

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