- Programme: Accelerated Development Programme
- Nationality: Belgian
- Job Post-programme: Director – Sales & Wealth Structuring - Belgium, Lombard International Assurance S.A.
Nicolas has a marketing background and is responsible for the management of client and partner relationships at regional level. He was leading the Client Services department (International Middle Office) until 2011. He equally partook in the creation of the Key Account Management team, a unit of Senior Management members responsible for developing corporate relationships with Lombard’s largest and most important accounts.
New focus, vision and self-awareness
The Accelerated Development Programme made me a better person with a higher sense of
self-awareness. It helped me to reposition myself,
step up to a new role and gain a better
understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I
now apply a more structured approach to solving
problems and issues, thinking and focusing more on
the longer-term objective rather than fire fighting.
I recently attended the alumni reunion weekend to
catch up with some of my class members, along with
the programme director. Just by talking and
exchanging experiences showed me that we’ve all
progressed as individuals; we have more confidence
in ourselves and our vision thanks to our experience on the programme.
A transformational experience
The entire programme is truly enriching. Spread
across two modules of two weeks each, the first week
was a real eye-opener for everyone and a real
highlight for me. In small groups we spent a week
focusing on self-assessment, assessment of others
and deep inner thinking. We talked about ourselves
and how we see the future both in terms of our
careers and our life in general. Some members were
blown away by this exercise. It is rare to spend so
much time looking inwards and listening to people
talking about your personal behaviour and how it’s
perceived by others.
The subsequent weeks focused on business topics,
each one relevant for managers or leaders moving up
into a broader role. It covered subjects that we
require in daily life combined with refreshers of topics
we use less frequently. We had very open
conversations and even heavy debates in the
classroom which made the experience interesting and
exciting. The cherry on the cake for me was the
wellbeing programme which allowed us to get
physically back into shape, cleanse our minds and
build new relationships.
Long-lasting global relationships
The one thing that made this experience stand out for
me was the people. It is not often that you take a
break from your current job and life environment to
plunge into new surroundings with people you do not
know; people from different countries, backgrounds
and cultures. It’s remarkable that the programme
manages to get more than 50 business professionals
from all corners of the globe to think as a community
rather than individuals.
To maintain the relationships developed on the programme we
have quarterly conference calls where we share our
personal and professional developments. We do this
jointly with the ADP group coach who is fantastic at
helping us manage certain challenges we face. I
believe this long-lasting relationship to be unique in
the world of business schools.
Empowered to face new challenges
Before the programme, I wanted to reassess my
career path. I’d been in the same organisation for
more than 18 years and had many managerial
positions – was it time to change or not? The programme gave
me the push I needed to change roles, take up a new
challenge, get out of pure people management and
move into a broader sales position which focuses
more on business development.
Thanks to this programme I see that management and
leadership is not only about your personal abilities
but your ability to empower the people you work with.
I have a better insight into the construction of my
personal vision for both professional and personal
spheres, something I have even managed to share
with my spouse!