2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Birame NDIAYE, HEC Paris


HEC Paris

Hometown: Boston, MA

Family Members: Kady, Jameel, Jameela

Fun fact about yourself: I sing Mandarin songs. My first live performance was in China with more than 1200 people in the audience.

Undergraduate School and Degree: INSA de Lyon, BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering

Where are you currently working? Company: Littelfuse / Role: Sensors and Switch Modules Engineering Director and Waltham Site Leader

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I coach kids in developing their basketball skills during summer basketball camps.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I played professional basketball while pursuing my BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my role as an R&D leader, I successfully reinvigorated a highly experienced team of 16+ engineers with diverse fields of expertise in Boston, MA. Through my strategic approach of encouraging the team to step outside of their comfort zones and my ability to inspire, coach, and lead by example, we rapidly achieved significant improvements in team performance. In the process, we consistently surpassed our year-over-year key performance indicators.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? As an engineering graduate, I was keen on acquiring a comprehensive understanding of all the courses presented. Although it’s challenging to choose one, I would choose Professor Randy White’s class as it was a highlight of my MBA experience. His leadership course was exceptionally valuable, and his teaching style was both captivating and distinctive.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program?

The reputation of HEC EMBA was the main factor in my decision to enroll, as I was aware of the benefits of studying alongside diverse professionals with a wealth of expertise. I also recognized the potential for developing a strong professional network and acquiring valuable knowledge and skills in finance and sales, which would aid my transition from engineering to business management. If given the chance to make the decision again, I would choose HEC EMBA without hesitation. The program has equipped me with the ability to lead with impact, inspire innovation, and challenge the status quo, making it a crucial element in my development as both a business leader and an individual.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? One of the most valuable takeaways from my EMBA experience was the ability to think strategically. I have been able to apply this skill beyond my engineering role and explore new opportunities for the benefit of the company. For instance, I recently pitched an innovative idea called “Littelfuse Rising Stars” to our Chief Human Resources Officer to promote excellence within the company. This shows how I have become more comfortable in taking on new challenges and contributing to the company in a more strategic way.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? During my Executive MBA journey, I was faced with the challenge of balancing my full-time job, raising my two-year-old twins, and managing coursework, and traveling to Paris for in-person classes. To overcome this challenge, I made some significant changes in my routine, such as giving up some of my hobbies like cinematography/photography and reducing my workout routine to three days a week. I also woke up earlier to work on assignments and reserved weekends for preparing for upcoming modules.

I created a Gantt chart with all the assignments and readings and committed to finishing them weeks before the deadline. After completing an in-person module in Paris, I immediately started working on the assignment or exam on the plane or at the airport. Furthermore, I received tremendous support from my wife who took care of childcare, household tasks, and provided emotional support. She fully understood the importance of my education and was willing to make sacrifices to help me succeed.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? My recommendation for individuals considering an EMBA is to prioritize time management. It’s critical to communicate with your partner or family about the time and commitment required. Additionally, it’s important to savor the experience as it passes by quickly. Finally, I highly recommend starting work on the capstone project early, as it’s a significant undertaking that requires ample time and effort to complete successfully. 

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Well, the biggest myth about going back to school is that it’s all rainbows and unicorns! Let me tell you, it’s more like coffee-fueled all-nighters and stress-induced hallucinations. So, make sure you have a young spirit and a strong bladder, because you’re in for a wild ride!

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish it lasted longer…

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Australian Josh Carless. He is fun to work with, extremely smart yet very humble.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Given my geographic location, the EMBA was a more suitable option for my work requirements. 

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? In my professional aspirations, I aim to become a CEO in the future, and some have even suggested that I may become a President of a country (Shout out to Jeremy Hebras, my long-time manager and mentor).

What made Birame NDIAYE such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Fluent and fluid in his words and thinking, Birame was a wonderful addition to our diverse group of 62 in the first leadership class of the EMBA. His ability to reflect, his thirst for increased self-awareness, and his understanding of his impact on others is a model to all students. Birame is not frightened to admit what he doesn’t know and to learn from his experience—key ingredients in long term leadership effectiveness. His nomination to Poets & Quants reflects the high standards he has set for himself. I can’t wait to see what he will accomplish.”

Dr. Randall P. White
Partner, Executive Development Group
Professor of Leadership, HEC Paris EMBA



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