At the heart of this strong pedagogical initiative EMBA Executive Leadership and Engagement training has three major objectives: mental resistance, facing the unknown, and showing your ability to take a step back.

The context

Last June, there were several EMBA students, divided into different groups, who left for this intense training. Everything was very new to them and very little had been revealed beforehand as the elements of surprise and the unknown are key to this EMBA module.

Supervised by representatives of the French Navy, the NEOMA BS students had the opportunity to participate in six missions based on different contexts: surveillance, intelligence gathering, courses in a hostile environment, etc. This exercise, which comes at the end of the course, is based on an educational method inspired by the naval school’s officer training.

An exceptional experience

The trainees were confronted with a context where the constraints and complexity were increasing. Participants alternated between situational exercises and hot debriefs. In addition, there were short resting phases that put the nerves under severe strain.

It was said to be an out-of-comfort module and it certainly was. How do you react while facing danger when you are exhausted? Or focused on a mission but disruptions get in the way all the time? Or when you are wet and hungry but have a tight deadline that impacts the entire team, if not the entire company? Has the person taken the time to plan enough before moving into action? Was the communication with peers, superiors, and especially with the team enough?

"We had four extraordinary days in the literal sense of the term. It went beyond my expectations" says Alexandra Cappadoro, operational marketing manager and EMBA student this year. "We experienced incredible things without much sleep time: 10 hours for me.” These four days were an opportunity for everyone to draw from deep within themselves. An unforgettable experience that will remain etched in the minds of everyone! This internship allowed them to measure the importance of effective, simple team communication in the face of danger or tiredness or simply when facing the unknown.

Transformational experience

Overall, the Executive MBA participants thought that it had transformed them in a way. This experience with the French Navy “SEALs” forced them to look at themselves, with their stronger and weaker sides, and to accept themselves as a whole; showed them how to move forward to improve the way they communicate, protect the team and mission, and protect their own health too!

We at NEOMA Business School, and other participants that have been through that Leadership & Engagement module, have great admiration and respect for the Navy. We thank them for their service and their partnership with our school.