Laurent Aymard


Nationality: French
Work country: France
Graduated: 2004
Job:Chief Financial Officer,  Yves Saint Laurent

I was absolutely convinced of the quality of the programme – and it was confirmed in the very first session.

What did it feel like to be an INSEAD EMBA pioneer?
I didn’t feel brave at all. I was absolutely convinced of the quality of the programme – and it was confirmed in the very first session. Dominique Héau and his team were visionary. But they also worked with us, as the first cohort, to create a special INSEAD EMBA culture. They encouraged us to leave our footprint – and that felt great.

Do you have a favourite memory of the programme?
I’ll never forget the first session. Charlie Galunic was the professor. When he asked his first question, a whole forest of hands went up straight away. It felt like a symbol of the energy and interaction that we kept for the rest of the programme.

Looking back, how has the programme changed your career?
The biggest impact was that it broadened my mind internationally. I was working in France in a French organisation at the time, but INSEAD enabled me to make cross-cultural mistakes, before I embarked on my international career. Later, when I travelled to Japan, the Middle East and Asia for work, I didn’t make that many mistakes, probably because I’d experienced them all at INSEAD.

Would you do the programme again if you could go back in time?
Absolutely! Even having done it once, I’d like to do it again! The world is moving so fast that almost every ten years you need to refresh yourself.

Do you recommend the INSEAD EMBA to others?
I always try to share the pleasure of having done the programme. I regularly meet applicants and carry out admissions interviews, and many of those I’ve spoken to have enrolled on the EMBA. I make a point of keeping touch with them to get their feedback on INSEAD. Guess what, no one has ever complained!

Why do you think the programme has been such a success over the last decade?
The fact that there’s been so much change in the world of business, while the INSEAD EMBA core structure has changed relatively little, shows how relevant the original programme design was. The diversity and the Leadership Development Programme were fundamental from the very beginning and they’re still the main pillars of success.

What are your aspirations for the programme’s next ten years?
I’d like it to remain loyal to its INSEAD roots and to keep the international DNA, but also continue to grow and to stay connected to evolutions in the business education market.

And where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I enjoy working in an industry that is growing fast all around the world and I am happy to bring my humble contribution to a group that has been developing many leading brands. So I hope I will still be in the luxury goods sector a decade from now. Let’s see how large that industry will have become in ten years time!

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