Christophe Gonet, ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) class of 2016, credits the EMBA for fine-tuning his leadership skills and equipping him to drive the transformation of his company.
Christophe Gonet likens leading a business to being a conductor of an orchestra. Although one need not master every instrument, there is still a need to understand each one’s mechanics and nuances to properly interpret the musical score and set the tempo for the performance.
With over two decades of experience and a master’s degree under his belt, one would think that the Director of Global Sales Performance Management & Asia-Pacific Sales Operations at West Pharmaceutical Services had exactly what it took to lead an organization.
Yet, back in 2014, a managerial assessment test indicated otherwise.
“According to my own scores and analysis, I realized I should develop stronger personal and organizational leadership skills,” he shares. “I needed to improve my communication and business transformation management competencies if I wanted to take on more senior managerial positions.”
For him, the solution was clear: embark on an Executive MBA.
TUNING BUSINESS PERFORMANCE
Christophe chose the Asia-Pacific track of the ESSEC & Mannheim EMBA because it brought the best of both worlds: a global perspective focusing on Asia.
The fact that other participants would, like him, be seasoned professionals and experts in their respective fields convinced him that the curriculum, coupled with these peer discussions, would help him develop the skills he needs to become an asset to his company.
The experience fine-tuned his understanding of “instruments” like finance, supply chain, and e-commerce. It also gave him a better feel of the rhythms of the business landscape and taught him to synergize the different facets of the organization for the best possible results.
Assignments, like one to invent a product that did not exist yet and develop a marketing plan for it, also challenged his creativity and ability to think out of the box.
UPSCALE YOURSELF AND SCALE-UP THE BUSINESS
The return on investment was high and fast, and Christophe was quickly promoted to his current position upon completing the EMBA.
Admittedly, it was a huge step, but “the EMBA gave me the confidence and tools to discuss my ideas with any senior leaders in my company, whether regional management or C-suite executives,” he says.
Over the last few years, the knowledge he gained has begun to crystallize. He has gradually built a reputation not just as a leader but also as an innovative thinker capable of driving the company’s transformation.
Many others in Christophe’s shoes might feel they are senior enough or know enough — and rightfully so. To this, he says: “although what you've learned is important, it is not enough. With the pace that technology is evolving at, you need to scale up as quickly as you can.”
To stay abreast of the changes, the only answer is to be willing to continuously learn, something that the EMBA not only encourages but enables.