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“I don’t think I’d have succeeded in this role and taken ownership of it if I’d not done the EMBA programme”
Amelie Zegmout took the Executive MBA (EMBA) in Dubai knowing it would open doors to new career opportunities. Within months of starting the programme in early 2015, she left a business development role for a general management one at Legrand, which develops electrical and digital infrastructure for buildings.
After a career spent in sales and marketing, Amelie was ready for a new challenge. But she knew the complexities of her new position as general manager for the Gulf required a different skillset. “I had some shortfalls, particularly in strategy, finance and accounting, that I needed to address before starting the job,” she says. “I decided to take the EMBA to fill those gaps.”
The French national is responsible for operations and planning across Legrand’s Gulf subsidiaries. She also oversees 70 people working throughout the region. Studying at London Business School (LBS) has given her the expertise to apply strategic frameworks and financial know-how to the job. “I don’t think I’d have succeeded in this role and taken ownership of it if I’d not done the EMBA programme,” she says of becoming Legrand’s first ever female general manager in the MENA region.
Amelie drew on the knowledge gained at LBS when helping launch Legrand in Pakistan earlier this year. She was involved in exploring the market, visiting the country to meet potential customers and giving progress reports to the organisation’s management. “LBS has given me the confidence to handle major projects,” she says.
“I was 34 when I became general manager, which is relatively young for such a senior role. That brings its own pressure, but I felt confident because I had the tools and expertise to make big decisions and manage others effectively.”
The EMBA programme has also broadened Amelie’s horizons. “I’ve learnt to look at an issue, challenge or opportunity from different angles,” she says. “Working in groups helps with that, because the students are incredibly diverse in terms of their age, culture and professional background.”
Reflecting on her time at the School, Amelie says the coaching sessions at the start of the programme were a major help. “My coach talked me through the aspects of my life and career that I needed to improve,” she says. “Striking a work-life balance was the biggest issue, as I was studying while working and had other commitments such as networking and being president of the Rotary Club of Jumeirah Dubai.
“Those sessions helped me to establish my priorities, both personally and professionally. I learnt to say ‘no’, and how to delegate more which is something I didn’t do much when I first became general manager.”