2018 Best EMBAs: Gautier Porot, IMD

Gautier Porot


A highly curious and passionate individual, always in search of challenges.”

Age: 34

Hometown: Geneva, Switzerland

Family Members: Last child in a family of 6, I am engaged to Felicita, a very patient and open-minded woman.

Fun fact about yourself: From 2004 to 2006, I served as a Pontifical Swiss Guard to two Popes: John-Paul II and Benedict XVI. Two years later, I was promoted to Captain of the Army becoming the youngest Commanding Officer in Swiss military history (23 years old).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Certificate in Business Intelligence and Private Corporate Protection (IHEDN- Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defense, France)

Masters in Criminology (Panthéon-Assas University Paris II, France)

Memoir: “High Net-Worth Families facing Kidnapping”

Federal Diplomas in military leadership and general management (Armed Forces College I-II-III, Switzerland

Where are you currently working? POROT & PARTNERS – Risk intelligence as a Senior Consultant

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Every summer, from the age of 15 to 18, I worked as a Volunteer Staff at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch – San Francisco, managing and entertaining kids with various social backgrounds.

Twice, I led the “Swiss Army Team” through the “Cambrian Patrol” – the world’s toughest military reconnaissance exercise held in Wales, United Kingdom. Our team was awarded the Bronze medal (2012) and the Silver medal (2015).

From 2014 to 2017, as Lake Geneva regional coordinator of the Foundation Help & Assistance (Knights of Malta), we gathered and redistributed 200+ tons of medical beds and technical material to Third World country hospitals.

In May 2018, I will become a Knight of Jerusalem with the duty to help, once a year in Israel or Palestine, individuals in need (i.e. homeless single-mothers, orphans, the elderly) regardless of religion, origins or political views.

At the end of 2018, I take on the responsibilities as President of the International Officers Club of Geneva (IOCG). This officer-only circle (mixed gender), ruled by the Chatham House principle, has for purpose to debate regularly on various polemical subjects (i.e. art, politics, economy, education). A central objective of this group is to encourage the expression of differences of opinion while maintaining strong and civil relationships.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My regional Bishop has nominated me as the general coordinator of the Pope’s visit to the Word Churches Council (WCC) in Geneva on June 21st and for the Mass that will take place at the end of the visit (with a projected 80,000 pilgrims attending).

When I accepted this mission, I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; but I also knew it would be a time- and energy-consuming activity. This volunteer work is in addition to my current agenda, studies and extra-professional activities.

However, the intense working dynamic of my EMBA and my improved efficiency and time management skills, has enabled me to go the extra mile and manage this new challenge with enthusiasm and motivation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was once encouraged to ignore an illegal act that I witnessed, linked with information protection. While I realized that not following this advice would harm my career in the short-term, I nonetheless refused and asked my hierarchy to stand to their responsibility. This decision, in fact, made the following year unbearable within the organization, but I do not regret my decision. Values and integrity are non-negotiable.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite MBA Course was, without a doubt, the strategy learning stream led by our Dean, Stefan Michel. Throughout this stream, I learned the key concepts and principles to transfer and adapt my strategical military andsecurity knowledge into a full-scale and transversal business approach. I went from understanding leadership in a crisis (military) to understanding leadership in business.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program?

Mostly for the program structure. It is not “fluff” to say that IMD really applies its principle and motto: “Real learning. Real impact.” An important part of the Mastery Stage assignments is to develop individual professional initiatives linked to our business or industry. The aim is to leave the EMBA with a fully-developed and implementable business initiative. The second reason I chose IMD was for the strong alumni network, where IMD and regional alumni clubs are highly active.

Finally, it was the brand. EMBAs are like high-end Swiss watches. When buying a “Vacheron Constantin” for example, customers are aware that it is not just an “average” or standard product. It is a lifelong heritage. The same principle applies to the IMD EMBA.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Getting out of my comfort zone and discovering various industries. Being able to verbalize and frame numerous ideas and concepts. Finally, meeting talented individuals and developing strong and sincere friendships.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education?Prior to the Silicon Valley Discovery Expedition, my partner and I decided to organize a road trip along the west coast of the USA. We finished our vacation in Las Vegas, where we were joined by a group of IMD classmates impatient to learn more about statistics, probability and bankruptcy best practice.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Already in the application form, it is important to highlight how your professional and personal experiences will contribute to the class. Be transparent and authentic as it is difficult to hide your true nature in such a dynamic and diverse environment.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Going back to school was painful after being in the corporate world for a while. In fact, I found that it was a positive balance. A smart mix between academic studies, international expeditions, individual online learning, and corporate working habits.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not to have had the time to read more than the given mandatory books.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I deeply admire Mordy Rappaport. He is the Rolls-Royce of all classmates. Naturally open and socially-skilled, he has this natural talent to gather people around him and create a positive and trustworthy atmosphere. He plays a central role in the positive attitude of the class.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I understood that to grow my career and expand my perspectives, I needed a general business education.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still asking myself why I have the feeling my career has stagnated and my world is narrow.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to lead a dynamic team of senior consultants providing customers with high-end and tailor-made security solutions. I would also like to partner with my wife to teach in-need teenagers in remote areas of the world, the skills associated with leadership and personal organization.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? “Gautier is a loyal classmate who always knew when to work hard…and when to play hard, whilst getting things done as a motivated team player.”

Favorite book: Memories of War (Volumes I and II) by Sir Winston Churchill. The only humoristic book able to teach you “how to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm” (1st volume); but also “how to turn adversities into opportunities” (2nd volume).

Favorite movie or television show: Interstellar by Christopher Nolan. This masterpiece has the ability to keep you awake all night dreaming of space and parallel universes. Furthermore, Hans Zimmer OST gives a breathtaking composition and Mathew McConaughey plays one of his best roles.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

First, I dream to write a book or a script about a historical event linked to the services of the Regimental Swiss Guards in Europe. For example, the sacrifice of the Pontifical Swiss Guard during the sack of Rome May 6th, 1527 or the massacre of the Swiss Guards of Louis XVI at “Les Tuileries” during the French revolution, August 10th, 1792.

Second, I want to learn how to play acoustic guitar. I love to sing and I always wanted to be able to play an instrument. My fiancée is a tremendous musician with 25+ years of experience playing the harp in some of the world’s top orchestras. I would love for her to teach me how to read scores and to maybe, someday, play together.

What made Gautier such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Gauthier is the youngest member of an EMBA cohort of 58 professionals – with an average age of 40 years old. His unique experiences – particularly as a Vatican Swiss Guard – and his rather untraditional EMBA profile, fits well into this highly diverse group of individuals. He is humble to admit his limited exposure to the corporate world and eager to learn as much as possible from his peers. He is open-minded, good natured and extremely jovial. Interestingly, he admires his classmate for traits that one would easily attribute to him!

Gauthier is fully committed to the EMBA and to immersing himself in the learning journey. He is a “keen” student and a dedicated ambassador of the IMD EMBA program. He admits that the program has been more intense than he imagined it could be – and is deeply grateful for this. He approaches the assignments and teamwork exercises with unbound energy, contagious enthusiasm and a great sense of humour. He frequently has funny anecdotes to share with his peers. Gauthier is actively transforming his military leadership skills towards being a more mindful and responsible civil leader – and enjoying every minute of his journey.”

Terry Akitt

EMBA Director of Program Delivery



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