Аn EMBA graduate shares how her studies introduced her to abilities and interests, which were neither used nor developed in the corporate roles that she held previously and which ultimately set her on an entirely different professional path.

Sandy Beky is an HEC Paris EMBA graduate from the Class of 2014. A native of Madagascar, she is the president and founder of managerial innovation start-up KyoSei Leadership, a partner at leadership consultancy IMV Management Partners and a director of adaptive software company JCLIP. Sandy has studied in the US, the UK and France, and has worked in various sectors throughout her career. She is also president of the Paris branch of PWN Global, a leadership development network for businesswomen.

Has the EMBA degree helped you achieve your career goals? If so, how?

Definitely yes! The EMBA has taken me on an entirely different professional path. I initially joined the programme with the ambition of further advancing my career in a global corporation. The EMBA introduced me to abilities and interests, which were neither used nor developed in the corporate roles that I've held previously. It made me appreciate the wealth of opportunities available to me if I were to tap into them. Leveraging all the technical skills I learned throughout the programme and the inner strength and confidence I gained, I felt ready to step up my game, start my own business and write a new chapter in my professional life.

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What has the EMBA given you career-wise?

The EMBA gave me an opportunity to thrive in a unique environment where I was able to meet and engage with extraordinary people from diverse backgrounds. The experience was instrumental in providing me with the confidence that I needed to try new things.

What particular soft skills did you acquire during your EMBA education and how have they made you a better manager?

The EMBA was an incredible self-confidence booster. It enabled me to push the boundaries of my comfort zone, to go out there and dare. I learned to face challenges in new ways, but most importantly, I was able to realise that leadership is not tied to a position, but rather it is about the actions that we take and the courage to speak the truth, to behave according to one's values. I saw myself grow as a person, and I think that allowed me to become a better manager. The EMBA took me on a creative personal and professional journey that did not end when I graduated.

What is your personal advice to managers seeking to advance to C-level?

The EMBA is a life-changing experience and can certainly open career doors. Yet, embarking on such a programme is a decision that must be viewed from different angles: the impact it will have on your family life, on your teams and colleagues at work, and on your social circles. Being able to keep those three environments stable and oneself healthy can prove to be a test of your capacity to handle a C-suite role. An EMBA is a delightfully disruptive journey, which takes us far beyond acquiring new technical skills.

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Tell us about a situation where skills acquired during your studies have helped you make a vital managerial or strategic decision in your current company?

There are so many opportunities to learn throughout the programme's duration that it is difficult to identify one in particular. And every lesson is of utmost value. The EMBA made me revisit my assumptions and reconsider the impact I want to have in life for myself and on others. I was particularly impressed by the brilliant and very talented individuals I met during the programme and I am extremely grateful for the strong connections I've managed to keep with many of them since then. Some of these connections have led to strategic decisions in my professional life. In 2014, I set up my own business in Circular Economy applied to Human Resources (KyoSei Leadership) and became a partner in two different companies (IMV Management Partners and JCLIP Partners) founded by two HEC Paris EMBA alumni.

This article is original content produced by Advent Group and included in the 2016-2017 annual Access MBA, EMBA and Masters Guide under the title “It’s All About Confidence”. An online version of the Guide is available here.