PMD Helps Propel Change in Ivory Coast

IESE and MDE join forces to offer executive program


Executive Education

In the Ivory Coast, managers who gain new management skills and knowledge can help make a decisive impact on the country’s economic future. And executive education programs such as the Program for Management Development can accelerate the process, says Gabriel Varango, HR director for the shipping company Maersk.

IESE Business School is hosting a module of the PMD, an initiative of MDE, IESE's Associated Business School in the Ivory Coast, on the Barcelona campus this week.

Varango, a participant in the program, said Ivory Coast is experiencing "a kind of rebirth" in the wake of the crisis that shook the country in 2011. Competition among local, European and global players in the country's shipping industry is becoming increasingly fierce, he said. Having people with the right skills and knowledge has become critical for gaining competitive advantage. "I´m a recruiter and I need very good people," he said.

From the company's strategic perspective, "you have to reduce your costs and you have to offer something that is very different to customers," he said. The PMD provides participants with a comprehensive set of techniques and tools for leading change within companies.

Participant Gérard Attoungbre, finance director for ADM Cocoa in West Africa, said the program has helped him improve his decision making skills and identify the critical elements of business problems. In addition to Ivory Coast, Attoungbre is responsible for overseeing Cameroon, Ghana and, in part, Nigeria.

"I’m finance-oriented, so I’m discovering a lot of new knowledge in other areas, such as HR strategies," said Attoungbre, who leads a team of 20 people. At the same time, the program has helped him build confidence and learn to work more effectively with people who come have very different cultural backgrounds and mindsets, he said.

The PMD has also ignited a desire to continue learning throughout his professional career, he said. "I want to keep improving myself, in both knowledge and behavior."

The PMD module follows last week's module of the MDE Advanced Management Program, also held on IESE's campus. Roughly 40 high-level managers participated in the program, which is now in its 6th year.