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Associate Dean for Education to Business at NEOMA, Romuald Gallet believes that no one is born a natural leader; it is a skill that is acquired through education, by learning and interacting. Every industry needs executive education. Interview.

What is the general approach of NEOMA Business School’s Executive Education to leadership development?

NEOMA advocates positive, authentic leadership, namely ‘Humanship’ – a contraction of ‘Human Leadership’- by encouraging peer-to-peer learning and the exchange of best practices and feedback during sessions. All of our executive programmes give participants the opportunity to work both on technical and ‘soft’ skills, though we prefer talking about ‘human’ skills – hence the ‘Humanship’ concept.

What are three key leadership skills executives need to be successful in business?

First and foremost, executives must learn to take emotions into consideration by developing empathy. I strongly believe that there are no ‘born leaders’ and that anyone can become a great leader by listening to and respecting others. Trust and the ability to mobilise the best of one’s team builds authority.

Then leaders must be able to define a clear strategy and communicate it effectively. This also means getting people on board in order to drive collective performance. You don’t have to be a guru, but a good communicator.

Finally, as managers have to take decisive action and arbitrate on a regular basis, this requires courage. Not only the courage to do what is necessary, but also the courage to remain open to new ideas and to accept being challenged.

As companies assess the future of work, how is lifelong learning increasingly important?

It is common knowledge today that business and society are changing at a very fast pace. AI, Big Data, geopolitical turmoil, climate change, remote work, you name it.

As a suggested 20% of the jobs that will be practiced in 2030 do not yet exist, managers must face a great many challenges if they are to embrace change and lead the way. Executive education is one of the best ways to maintain their ability to inspire others and update their skills.

This is even more true at NEOMA as our executive programmes are constantly fuelled by cutting-edge research in our four areas of excellence: “The World We Want”, “The Future of Work”, “AI, Data Science & Business”, and “The Complexity Advantage”.

What particular industries should be looking to executive education today?

My answer here is clear: all industries need executive education for different reasons.

First of all, we are facing a rapidly changing environment and in view of the constant changes, being technical, social or geopolitical, managerial practices are in constant evolution and leaders must regularly update their skills to successfully navigate in an uncertain business world.

Furthermore, innovation has clearly never been as crucial as it is today to continue to exist in increasingly fluid environments. Organisations really need to rely on creative, open-minded managers and teams. In this context, executive education is a real source of inspiration. Participants leave their work environment, meet professionals with different backgrounds and exchange with professors who, thanks to their research activities, are able to tackle these issues scientifically.

The highly competitive environment also regularly raises the question of purpose for the individual. Following an executive education course invites you to take a step back, allows you to refocus on yourself and thus gives meaning to your role.

Finally, I would add the following as there are a lot of discussions around the quest for sense in the workplace: this is linked to management training for middle and top managers. Of the population of managers currently in post, a large number have unfortunately never been trained to managerial functions. Because, yes, managing teams is a specific job that can be learned! It is the duty of business schools to take up this subject, particularly through executive education. This will also help to give meaning to this function, which is of strategic importance to the smooth running of our organisations. Yet, good managers should be able to identify, animate and thus retain quality employees by providing them with quality at work and in their careers.

How is Executive Education at NEOMA Business School supporting more women and other minorities on their leadership journey?

This is one of the key dimensions of executive education that I especially care about. We help to strengthen the ambition of people who sometimes censor themselves and may have deeply-rooted psychological barriers.

Through our programmes, these same people unlock the opportunities they deserve through their talent and potential. Every year I witness the impact of the level of confidence that we are able to bring out in our audience with high professional potential.

On another front, we can often see that the missing piece of the puzzle to continue to progress in their career path is the network. And executive education allows them to build a network that will be a career accelerator.

What makes Executive Education at NEOMA Business School so distinct?

The key words are relevance, adaptability and innovation. Because we want to bridge the gap between the business world and business education, we have chosen to integrate the NEOMA Executive Education department into the “Education to Business” department. Thanks to this, our proximity to the world of business and research allows us to be constantly attentive to and anticipate the needs of the market: we translate our cutting-edge research into usable executive education programmes (tailor-made and open enrolment).

More broadly, this “E to B” department centralises our activities and expertise to address all the key issues facing companies: attracting young talent, developing employees and managers, understanding the challenges they will face in the future, etc.

As Associate Dean for “Education to Business” at NEOMA, my role and that of my teams is to create a virtuous ecosystem by linking companies with students and graduates, training their executives, and inspiring their strategy and practices by connecting them with top researchers.


Associated programme

Global Executive MBA

Expand your strategic skills, your leadership and your network with this programme of excellence.
  • Part time
  • 15 to 20 months
  • Paris, Shanghai, Tehran