The opportunity to get coached by a professional alumni enhanced the experience because it sparked so many inspiring ideas. This, along with the opportunity to connect with peers from around the world and different businesses, is what makes an INSEAD programme so valuable.
Straddling dual roles as director at a medical devices company and executive coach for startups has given Annette Saller a front-row view to the transformative power of AI. Her desire to better understand how to wield AI as a force for good led her to INSEAD’s Transforming Your Business with AI programme.
Digitalisation is at the heart of Annette Saller’s work. As Director Programme Management at one of Europe’s leading MedTech companies, she is on the forefront of digital transformation. Outside of the office, she also works as an executive coach and supports start-ups in the area of business strategy development.
This experience has given Annette insights into the power of technology — particularly artificial intelligence (AI) — to shape operational processes and enhance patient’s lives in the healthcare sector.
“I strongly believe that AI is a transformative force that, if used wisely, can positively change our lives,” she says, adding that over the past decade, she has seen AI gradually permeate organisations and become central to their operations.
Although she already had practical experience leading several AI initiatives at work, Annette felt that with the rapid changes in the industry, she needed formal training to keep up with the latest developments. This led her to INSEAD’s Transforming Your Business with AI programme.
The allure of an INSEAD programme
By offering valuable frameworks for AI implementation and providing a comprehensive perspective of the strategic, organisational, and innovation implications to consider, the Transforming Your Business With AI programme aligned well with Annette’s needs.
The opportunity to complete the programme at INSEAD was also a pull factor, she says, explaining that she had a good experience with INSEAD's Transition to General Management in 2019 and Strategy in the Age of Digital Disruption in 2020.
Recalling her time on campus in Fontainebleau in 2019, she explains: “It was life-changing for me and a reason why I would choose INSEAD again and again!”
Diving deep into the world of AI
Like the previous programmes Annette has participated in, INSEAD’s Transforming Your Business With AI did not disappoint.
The online experience proved to be an advantage as it allowed her to balance studying with her personal and professional lives. And despite being virtual, there were still ample opportunities to interact with other participants through discussion forums and breakout rooms during live calls with faculty.
Annette credits these interactions with classmates from different countries, sectors and roles for broadening her perspectives further, and sparking inspiration for how AI can be used in her own workplace.
Particularly useful to her were the lessons covering technical aspects of AI modelling. Having come from a business background, she had little exposure to these areas in her day-to-day work, and occasionally struggled to positively challenge team members with a technical background.
“After completing the course, I now know what questions to ask in a technical environment. It has made a huge difference for me,” she shares.
Equally valuable for Annette was to get an overview of the potential risks involved in implementing AI initiatives and how to mitigate them. She adds that this is important because AI is not just a “magic wand” to effect change. Rather, for AI to truly be unleashed as a force for good, it must be used wisely and take into account the needs of the people.
“The course emphasised that to achieve this, there is a need for continuous assessment so that you not only implement AI, but also continuously evaluate it to ensure that what you have implemented adheres to certain principles and remains fair and ethical,” she says.
Opportunities for applied learning
Another benefit of the programme was its emphasis on real-world application of skills. Concepts are taught with examples from a wide variety of practical use cases, and participants have access to a range of bonus videos that tackle growing trends in AI.
“The bonus videos made the course really up-to-date. AI is continuously changing, but these videos showed that the professors and faculty have done a great job in keeping their examples relevant,” she says. When she encounters challenges at work today, these use cases are her go-to for inspiration, and to see which strategies are most applicable to her business context.
And the biggest highlight of the programme? The Action Learning Project (ALP). This gave Annette the opportunity to work directly with an INSEAD coach to apply the knowledge from the programme in an AI project that was related to her daily work.
“The interaction with someone from a different industry who can challenge you, ask the right questions and give you a different perspective really makes a difference. It’s also what makes INSEAD programmes stand out from other courses I’ve done in the past,” she says.
A programme worth recommending
Coming out of the programme, Annette testifies to having gained greater clarity and confidence in using AI at work.
“The course showed me so many different aspects of AI, so I now have a much clearer plan on how to implement it at work,” she affirms. She views the course as a learning journey— one where she has been able to uncover the potential of new technology, gain confidence in her technical lingo and connect with inspiring people from all over the world.
Looking back at the experiences shared and lessons learned, all of which are still bearing fruit at work today, she says with confidence to those considering the Transforming Your Business with AI programme: “Just do it!”