Alumni Stories · Leadership - Strategy

The lasting impact of the IMD EMBA

Director and Chairman Henry Rourke describes how IMD helped him step up
April 2016

Henry Rourke is a Director of the Hong Kong-based manufacturing and retailing company Hop Lun, and Chairman of the Board of the London-based financial services company Momenta.
During his career he has held top roles at Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Guggenheim Global Trading among other prestigious companies. He recently completed his Executive MBA as well as the High Performance Boards program at IMD and credits the experiences with helping him step up to his current roles.

Before coming to IMD, Henry was well aware of the school’s potential to boost his career as one of his close friends who did the IMD Program for Executive Development (PED) described it as the best professional-oriented educational experience he has had yet.

The EMBA appealed to him because of its real world leadership and strategy focus and because the balance between on campus, discovery expeditions around the world, and independent online-based study was a good fit for him.

According to Henry, the EMBA delivered everything he expected it to and even many things he didn’t expect.

He said the diversity of the group and the relatively family-like experience of being in a small class with a great deal of attention from faculty was a real plus, as was the highly professional delivery of the program.

“I was slightly older than some of the participants and I have been all over the world in my career, so going on the EMBA trips to discover Silicon Valley or China wouldn’t have been necessarily interesting just to see the places,” he says. “But with the EMBA team and the other participants, I was able to see these places through a new lens and learned a lot of new things, so the discovery expeditions were very valuable.”

Speaking about the crisis management module where the EMBAs are put to the test under high pressure conditions over two days with the Swiss Armed Forces, Henry says: “The module was very challenging, but it was a terrific opportunity to be fully immersed and experience how one institution deals with real-world crisis management. This part of the program is truly unique and special.”

In the end Henry really enjoyed the EMBA experience but what was even more important was what he took away with him. He said that once he returned to work he was ultimately in a different mind-set. It also re-energized him and gave him some tools that would help him change both personally and professionally.

The program taught Henry things about strategy and leadership that are absolutely essential to his job but that he would have never had the opportunity to acquire while he was working “so the program made a very big difference and for me became a very real catalyst for positive career change,” Henry said.

Not only does Henry feel that he will be a better part of his team now but that he discovered the value of continuing to develop himself.

“The IMD experience has been invaluable, life-changing. I really enjoy my new roles, being part of new teams, and having new challenges. The IMD journey has been central to creating those opportunities.”

IMD’s Executive MBA program is for fast-rising, internationally experienced executives. It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding EMBA programs in the world.

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