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Deep Dive Into Leadership: two days shadowing the Board of Directors

Published on 08 July 2022 by NEOMA

  • School life

Thirty NEOMA students spent two days closely following the everyday working life of 15 members of the Board of Directors of Ferrero. It was a unique experience and greatly appreciated by our students. Here they report back.

Introduction to shadowing

As preparation for their immersion into the business world, the students were introduced to the Shadowing method, involving observation without participation, and consisting in following someone in their working environment.

This method is especially suited to observing the reality of work and understanding the working practices in place. In the case of Deep Dive Into Leadership, the students are able to see how a business leader performs their role,” explains Florence Cognie, Project Coordinator for NEOMA. 

An immersive experience with business leaders

It is rare for students to undertake a deep immersive experience into the role of business leader, especially one where these leaders are willing to reveal their profession in total transparency.

Having an incredible experience

“I was lucky enough to shadow the Director of the factory at Villers-Écailles which makes Nutella and the Kinder-Bueno. At first it was quite stressful, but we soon got into the swing of it: 3 minutes after we arrived, we were already following him across the factory, and he was very open and totally transparent with us.

It was quite a tiring experience because of the long days and doing the observations we had been asked to do, but also because we had been plunged into a completely new environment. But despite the tiredness, we had an incredible time! We were able to learn lots of things about the agribusiness sector, an area I hope to work in eventually, as well as about the daily life of a member of the management body. In just a few days I learned a huge amount about leadership, management and managing a project or a team.

I really appreciate the amazing opportunity we were given and I would like to thank NEOMA for coordinating and organising this course, as well as Ferrero for trusting us by opening their doors to us.” Louise, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSc in International Marketing and Brand Management at NEOMA.

Understanding exactly how the business works

“The business culture at Ferrero is apparent from the warm welcome we received from the members of its board of directors. As I am specialising in sustainable development issues, these days helped me understand the workings of a company with an astonishingly strong commitment but whose culture of discretion means their efforts go unsung. Experiencing the everyday life of the managing directors of a family business with strong values is an unforgettable and very enriching experience.” Sendo, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at NEOMA.

Getting one step ahead for my future career

“I’m not intending to work in the mass retail sector and that’s exactly why I was curious to find out about that sector, especially to see behind the Ferrero packaging, that flagship company on the French scene. The Deep Dive into Leadership programme was a unique immersive experience for would-be managers. I really felt as if I was getting one step ahead by having a glimpse into the role of the manager, a post I hope to achieve in my career. I feel particularly lucky that I was able to observe the work of the CEO of Ferrero France, a really unique opportunity for a student of the cultural and creative industries! 

I particularly liked the format of this very full and stimulating ‘course’, with an approach that encompassed theory, practice in the field, analysis and feedback as well as working collaboratively in a workshop with the managers of Ferrero.” Mathilde, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSc in Cultural and Creative Industries at NEOMA.

Observing to learn the managerial attitude

“I was lucky enough to take part in a 2-day immersive experience with the Production Director who manages 800 people on Ferrero’s Villers site. The preparation for this experience involved several classes beforehand and then afterwards to organise, share and feed back our notes and observations. 

It was a unique opportunity to meet these leaders and managers in their ‘natural’ environment. And above all, it was a chance to understand the daily life of a manager, going to lots of meetings, their ability to feed back information and their knowledge of all the subjects and people they are surrounded by. 

It really raised our professional level by immersing us totally in the daily life of someone, being an observer with the sole aim of melting into the background, and seeing their various different actions, turns of phrase, the way they expresses themselves, the way they take notes, bring people together and clarify each idea.” Arnaud, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSc in Business Analytics at NEOMA.

Confirming a career choice

“As a student on the MSC in Wine & Gastronomy, the Deep Dive Into Leadership experience was an opportunity for me to see behind the scenes and observe the operation of a major agribusiness company like Ferrero. Shadowing a marketing director going about her daily work convinced me I had made the right choice of career and really motivated me!

I was very impressed by what made up the day for these top managers: a complicated schedule of zoom meetings, decision-making and analyses requiring strong organisational skills, and effective team management.” Chloé, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSC in Wine & Gastronomy at NEOMA.

Being motivated to outperform oneself

“I did my immersive placement with the CEO of Ferrero France, and I found it a very interesting and formative experience. It was a unique opportunity for us to find out about the role and the everyday life of a top manager. Spending the day with these inspiring people enables young people like us to reaffirm our career choices and motivates us to outdo ourselves so that one day we can repeat this immersive experience but this time on the other side of the fence.” Bastien, a student on the Master in Management NEOMA BS as a double degree with the MSc in International Sales Management at NEOMA.

Associated programme

Master in Management

With the Master in Management become a top-level business leader, capable of meeting the expectations of organisations all over the world and becoming part of their multicultural workforce.

  • Reims ou Rouen

  • 2 to 3 years

  • French or English track

  • 3-year higher education degree/4-year higher education degree

  • Full time

  • Master's degree, "Grade de Master" / Level 7 Qualification on the RNCP (French Register of Professional Certifications) / RNCP sheet No. 22162, Master in Management