Alumni Stories · Strategy

Taking your senior career to another level

Shell Executive Colin Crooks tells how BPSE helped him achieve a breakthrough
March 2015

Colin Crooks is Vice-President of Downstream Strategy and Consultancy at Shell. A Canadian national, now based in London, he has a PhD in chemical engineering. He never obtained an MBA or any other business degrees, but nevertheless advanced steadily through commercial and leadership roles over his 23-year career at the global energy company.

“Although I got ahead without having formal business education, I was interested in getting outside perspectives from academia and other industries,” said Crooks.

Shell’s Human Resources department recommended several courses at different business schools to Colin. He chose to do the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE) at IMD, which he said was fabulously executed by program director, Professor Seán Meehan, and coordinator Sangeetha Wickram.

“I wanted to take my stakeholder engagement skills to another level since I now find myself regularly dealing with top-level executives. I really got exposed to an excellent group of faculty and participants at IMD with impressively diverse perspectives,” Colin said.

According to Colin, the program was perfect for someone like him who had risen to a senior level but was now looking for a step change at the executive level.

“The program gave me an excellent overview of a broad set of topics such as macro environment, strategy, marketing, and finance, as well as time to reflect on my own leadership style. I received guidance (from coaches and participants) on how to implement the breakthrough I explored during the program, which was related to the strategic evaluation of projects under uncertainty,” said Colin.

Some other features that Colin appreciated about BPSE was the intimate size of the course which favored intense interaction, networking with professors and MBA students on campus, and the trip to the Swiss mountain town, Gstaad, which was part of the program.

Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives (BPSE) caters to a carefully selected group of senior executives who are searching for game-changing moves in their business through high-impact strategy and leadership. It is a two-week program with additional pre- and post-program support.

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