Attending IMD's Transition to Business Leadership (TBL) program gave Anne Rigault a platform to express herself as a female leader in front of a group of participants, whose members gave her invaluable feedback.

"As a woman, it was a wonderful experience to assess, in a friendly learning setting, how my skills, character and style could make an impact on my peers – their feedback was extremely valuable."

Anne Rigault, who is Supply Chain & Technology Optimization Director at Walt Disney in the Netherlands, recalls how the program enabled her to take part in extremely useful role-play activities. These involved scenarios that helped her to learn more about how to influence others, how to be a good negotiator, and how to develop a strategy. They also allowed her to determine the best ways to face real issues and assess how her reactions might influence her organization.

TBL is the second part of the business school's Program for Executive Development (PED) diploma. The first module is Foundations for Business Leadership (FBL), which gives participants the chance to learn the fundamentals of business to prepare them for the move into general management.  

The two main themes running throughout the PED diploma program are personal leadership development and leading organizational change. These themes are developed over both the FBL and TBL modules (each lasting two weeks), with additional inter-module support. The two modules must be followed in sequence.

During TBL, participants from around the world and from many different industries come together on IMD's Lausanne campus to learn to lead change in organizations.

In the process, they are able to apply their new learnings to advance their organizational change projects. By the end of the program, they are ready to implement their personal development plan and organizational change project.

Having already attended FBL, Anne was looking to gain a deeper understanding of what it meant to be a leader, while also exploring what kind of leadership was best suited to her personality and individual approach.

The Disney executive discovered that carrying out the program's exercises led to self-awareness, which meant she was able to assess herself, her character and her values. "This combination gave me a deep and resonating value of who I could be as a leader and it was fantastic to see that you don't have to change, and you don't have to be like someone else," she explains.

"I realized that we all have a natural leadership style, and the program enabled me to bring all the pieces together to make it natural."

Anne particularly learned the value of understanding her weaknesses. "Weaknesses need to be understood, not avoided. By acknowledging and understanding them, you are better able to face them and become a stronger a leader," says the executive.

When asked what advice she would give to other women considering attending the program, Anne says: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time with a multicultural team and enjoy a quality of learning that produces a high value experience. It might be a challenge to add four weeks to an already busy schedule having to juggle between work and family, but it will enable you to change the way you see your work and professional leadership perspective, as well as your personal life," says Anne.