2019 Best EMBAs: Wladimir d’Ormesson, INSEAD

Wladimir d’Ormesson


“Passionate, analytical and straightforward, I love politics, teamwork and building meaningful ventures.”

Age: 38

Hometown: Paris, France

Family Members: Happily married and father of two, girl and boy (9 and 7 years old)

Fun fact about yourself: Thanks to Poets&Quants and my classmates, I finally managed to win an election…

Undergraduate School and Degree: École normale supérieure de Lyon (Master in Geography), Ismapp (Master in European affairs), ENA

Where are you currently working? Judge, Paris Administrative Court

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Member of Bourges local council from 2008 to 2018

Volunteer for three presidential campaigns

Départemental secretary for Les Republicains for the Cher district in France

Candidate for Parliament for the 2017 legislative elections in France

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being able to fit in a class of experimented business executives after coming from the public sector with no business experience before joining the EMBA.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?

Convincing the mayor of Bourges to implement a program to fight illiteracy in difficult neighborhoods by using the best practices for 3 to 6-year-old kids with the help of the foundation Agir pour l’Ecole. The classes benefitting from the program have stunning results, matching the best classes of the district. I hope the methodology implemented in such programs will one day be the standard for all French schools.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is our finance professor, Lilly Fang. She managed to raise the class to demanding standards, with a great sense of humor and a very rigorous approach in terms of content and methodology.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Finance was my favorite course. It is the class I came to the EMBA to learn. I enjoyed how Finance is the touchstone of technical and mathematical approach, strategic thinking, and also plain common sense in order to understand the real potential of a business investment.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose INSEAD’s executive program because of the quality of its academic team and its international openness.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Going back to school after a first career in the public sector was very refreshing and also challenging. Thinking in terms of P&L, market share or profits wasn’t my daily bread. I also liked the constant balance in class between great theoretical insights and pragmatic approaches to solving business cases. Last, but not least, I really enjoyed my classmates, discovering so many different profile and building new friendships.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?

A first lesson is that differences we have in mind between the public and private sectors – or different industries – should not be seen as barriers. The mindset you need to get the best out of your team or organization is the same, regardless of your trade. I also learned that everything can be taught and learned, provided you have the good teaching methods and skills. INSEAD has a statistics class that I particularly dreaded. Math wasn’t my strong suit to say the least in high school. Yet, our professors managed to make me understand concepts that I never thought possible to catch.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? Being at the same time a young civil servant engaged in politics and starting a family, I haven’t waited the EMBA to struggle to balance three-lives-in-one. Yet, there have been some moments where the EMBA’s deadlines had to be matched no matter what I did or where I was. I took my family for a spring holiday in Spain, with an essay on my plate. Thanks to 4G and connected devices, I could draft it in taxis, planes, or whenever a spare moment could help me finish the essay without taking too much time from my family…

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? You need to know what you are looking for, whether it is a professional change, a desire to prepare a new business venture, or simply to take a step back from your professional routine. The EMBA will be what you make out of it. You also need to be aware that time flies, especially in programs that only last a year like INSEAD.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Often, people think that going back to school is like being a first-grade pupil again. In fact, it has nothing in common. The relationship with academia, and the input from classmates is completely different. The executive program looks very much like a cooperative work-in-progress, where the professor receives insights from the expertise of classmates, and vice versa.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Maybe not doing a business school earlier! More seriously, I probably regret not having enough time diving deeper into some of the topics we were taught.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Everyone in class deserves to be put in the light. My classmates offer a fantastic image of what intelligence, dedication, and diversity can offer. If I had to put a name, I think I would mention Laetitia Aymonin, who had an intense professional career before having to fight breast cancer. She’s now cured and invested herself in a new business: creating a Montessori school in her hometown.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I decided to quit politics and join the private sector.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Build or contribute to the development of long-lasting business ventures. And surely diving back into politics…

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A dedicated, reliable, and trustworthy colleague.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Finding a new job

Preparing the next trip abroad with the kids

What made Wladimir such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?  

“As a judge at the Paris administrative court, it must have been a new experience for Wladimir to stand the scrutiny and questioning from the interviewers during the INSEAD Assessment Day. However, he passed with ease and was considered a straightforward admit, based on his stellar academic record and his unique and atypical background. He thinks differently and reaches valuable conclusions in a creative way.”


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