My EMBA allowed me to transition and apply my newly acquired set of skills right away at work, thus making the learning curve substantially smoother.
What made you decide to do an EMBA? Why the INSEAD EMBA out of so many EMBA programmes out there?
I have always dreamt about doing one of the top MBAs in the world from a globally recognised business school in order to have access to the premium executive job market.
With uncertainty in the Oil & Gas industry, I felt the immediate need to upgrade and build some differentiation in my skill sets given that the whole job market was dramatically shrinking within a very short period of time. Gaining additional transferable skills and having a strong school brand accreditation behind those new skills sets were key to ensure a potential industry change on a similar or possibly higher compensation package.
The INSEAD EMBA initially caught my attention for its rankings and reputation but my decision was entirely made based on two simple factors: INSEAD had a clear strong value proposition to create a global community of leaders capable of delivering a positive and meaningful transformational impact to organisations. It also had the most experienced and diverse alumni network compared to any other programmes. I had always believed that these are key success factors for any global organisation or institution in the world, and my career and experience in Schlumberger had strengthened this conviction even more.
How has the INSEAD EMBA changed your life or perspectives?
The INSEAD EMBA has given me access to many other high-performance individuals whom I have never dreamt about meeting at a regular business set up.
The INSEAD network allowed me to reach out to the right people to explore new business ideas or venture into different industries. Additionally, through the Leadership Development Programme (LDP), I became a lot more self-aware of my current leadership style - its strengths and weaknesses. It also provided me with a systematic approach to continuously develop myself as a leader in an adaptive way to match the requirements of the next step of my career.
How has the INSEAD EMBA helped you in your career?
INSEAD has helped me to navigate and transition smoothly into my current General Manager role which included a geographical change from the Middle East to the USA. I also had two position advancements since I started the programme: from the Middle East & Asia Inventory Planning Manager for one product line at the start, to Regional Supply Planning Manager for all the product lines and 2 regions (North and South America), and finally to General Manager for one product line in 2 regions (North America and Caribbean).
There are many challenges when one takes on new responsibilities in a different job and in a different geographical location, especially into roles with increased responsibilities. My EMBA allowed me to transition and apply my newly acquired set of skills right away at work, thus making the learning curve substantially smoother. I remember I received a comment from a financial controller saying, “Luidi I didn’t know you could do accounting.” That’s when you realise that you are already operating at a different level.
About two years after the programme, I was also invited to join as guest speaker at a seminar about business forecast and wrote an article for a magazine in the US. These clearly increased the visibility and credibility of my skill set.
What are your thoughts on the Leadership Development Programme (LDP)?
The LDP is one of the best parts of this whole programme and this is where your personal transformation really happens. For the skills sets learnt through academia, you technically can learn it anywhere else but for the takeaways from the LDP, you’ll have them for life.
How has the multi-campus structure benefited you?
I was based in Dubai and the multi-campus structure allowed me to start in a convenient location at the Abu Dhabi campus. It was also an ideal location as I could take electives in other locations such as San Francisco and Fontainebleau.
If you could relive a memory during your EMBA, which one will it be and why?
That would definitely be the LDP boot camp when we went through teambuilding exercises during the first week. We reflected on the reasons for starting the programme and what we expect to get out of it as an individual. The corporate facets were set aside and we were all brought back to the basics of our human needs and commonalities, bridging all the initial diversity-related differences.
What advice will you give to potential participants looking to do an INSEAD EMBA?
If you decide to join this special global community, come wholehearted and committed to giving your best because you’ll take out of this programme as much as you give. This doesn`t mean that you`ll become your best just by giving all your academic effort; it takes a lot more than that to become the best possible version of yourself and what you could possibly be.
The journey is not easy but it is worthwhile!