INSEAD’s Executive Master in Change (EMC) is more than a business degree. It carries you deep into the basic drivers of human behaviour and the hidden dynamics of organisations. By going deep, however, the programme also raises your vision. Integrating business education with a wide range of psychological disciplines, it helps you to understand yourself and others — and to use that knowledge to drive change and lift performance.

The programme comprises eight on-campus modules, three supervised practicum experiences and a thesis, that when combined, will take you on a life-changing journey of intellectual and emotional discovery. This will be the first part of a three-series article, to demystify the practicum experiences within the programme.

“It helps you to understand yourself and others.”

Practicum 1: Executive Exchange

The first practicum experience is a peer-shadowing exercise in which participants pair up to observe each other at work, after which the observed becomes the observer. Participants keep journals to record observations of themselves and their colleagues — tapping into the wealth of data people have within themselves that often goes undiscovered.


They also give each other constructive feedback at the end of the process. The goal is to go through the stages of acquiring knowledge and reflective thinking which eventually leads to a transformation of mindsets and behaviours.

Part 1: A life-changing voyage of intellectual and emotional discovery

I credit the peer-shadowing exercise with helping me discover and shape my own style as a professional. It made me realise that I have the information I need within myself; in my thoughts, observations, reactions, as well as within my diverse peer group,” explains Peter Boback, Director of Executive Programmes at SAP and graduate of the programme.

"One of the most interesting parts of my experience as an 'observer' was learning to pick up on non-verbal clues I would ordinarily have missed.


Once, I was in the car with the colleague I was shadowing and his client on our way to lunch. During the drive, I noticed the surprising choice of music his client was playing. Afterwards, I mentioned it to my colleague who revealed that the client, currently a Managing Director, wanted to be an artist when he was younger.

Being in full observation mode allowed me to investigate what turned out to be an internal driver for the client — a useful piece of information as we continued to work with him.”

The practicum also offers participants the opportunity to not only learn from observing others but to also take a third position where they observe themselves, observing somebody else. “The practicum is one big learning experience into yourself,” says Boback.

“As the 'observed', I got caught up in the action and completely forgot I was being shadowed, which allowed me to receive objective insight into my 'blind spots'. You’re challenged to dig deeper into your history and the things that motivate you. This makes you not only better at coaching others, but you also gain in-depth understandings of your own style, ideals and preferences.”

“It made me realise that I have the information I need within myself.”

“The EMC is as much about you, as it is about state-of-the-art academic input in the form of tools and concepts. The key learning in the peer-shadowing experience is that you are the primary tool and intervention instrument. The peer shadowing experience is one of those moments you get honest feedback about the way you work — and how it may or may not be appropriately suited to your clients.”

Part 2: Organisational Observation

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