The EMC has provided me with so-called ‘night vision’, a tool we have learnt that enables us to look beyond what things look like on the surface level.
Sue Stephens

Sue Stephens

Nationality/Passport: Dutch Year of graduation: 2022 Current Role: Country Lead Malaysia & Philippines Growth Business at Facebook/Meta

What made you decide to take on the EMC programme at INSEAD?

After working for fifteen years, I wanted to take the opportunity to take stock and marry my work experience with additional theoretical knowledge gained through the EMC curriculum.

I was betting on the fact that attending one of the best (and most diverse) business schools in the world would shape and provide for a much richer perspective to how I show up in the world as an individual and more specifically how I lead business and people going forward.

It was the psychology angle of the course that led me to join EMC which has now delivered on much more than how to lead. For example, I was able to embark on more meaningful relationships within my family by having a more profound understanding of what drives the human psyche and therefore how best to engage with various members within my family and teams at work. 

By having a better understanding of what drives the human psyche I have been able to deepen the connection to my family.

Has the programme met your expectations?

The programme has surpassed my expectations.

One of the most meaningful components of the programme was the opportunity to shadow others at work and in turn allowing others to shadow me in action.

Because of this aspect of the programme, I was able to apply the knowledge gained through EMC in real life and during coaching sessions receive feedback from a trained professional in the systems psychodynamic approach. This wasn't something I had originally anticipated would be such an important component of the overall learning experience.  

Do share with us your thoughts on the quality of the professors, the curriculum, and your classroom experiences so far.

The best thing about EMC is the connections I have built with the people who are on this transformational journey together with me.

My cohort is incredibly diverse in nature covering different nationalities, race, sexuality, gender, age, industry, profession and language spoken. It’s truly unique to build such vulnerable connections with a group of people I know will be my friends for life. Groups are rotated in each module, allowing ample opportunity to get to know others within the cohort on a deeper level. 

The curriculum follows a very natural flow in terms of the content, starting by understanding yourself first as a person, a leader and then shifting focus to better understand the relationship you have to others and the wider system which we are all part of in society.

The way the learning experience has been designed allowed me to go deeper in different aspects of the curriculum before moving onto the next. The combination of the readings before and after each module helped to internalise the content. 

It’s been fun to have different professors and experts fly in and out for each of the modules. Due to the pandemic we experienced a hybrid class room experience, where some individuals attended class in person on campus, while others did so virtually over zoom. To level the playing ground, everyone dialled in on zoom making it a more inclusive experience.

For me as a new mum, it was great to have the flexibility of attending in person when I was able to, but also virtually which allowed me to attend class two weeks after having just delivered my daughter via an emergency c-section. In a pre-pandemic world this would have not been possible.

Susan Tang, our EMC programme manager, who, in my opinion, is the Chief Operating Officer to keep the operational side of EMC going, has been so thoughtful and inclusive. This meant I have been able to combine nursing my baby and/or expressing milk on campus and simultaneously attending class.

Do you foresee the EMC changing your perspectives or outlook towards life?

The EMC has provided me with so-called ‘night vision’, a tool we have learnt that enables us to be able to look beyond what things look like on surface level.

I can now consider what might be going on at a subconscious level. Applying night vision has reduced those moments where I would have previously prematurely jumped to conclusions. I now know we are always part of a system and in turn that a system also lives in us influencing our behaviour.

All behaviour, including irrational behaviour, can be explained. Our subconscious mind works in mysterious ways, or actually perhaps it’s not that mysterious anymore since EMC. Tools such as ‘night vision’ helped me become more self-aware as a person and in turn has made me a more effective leader. 

Last, but most definitely not least, as a new mum, I am so incredibly grateful to have acquired the knowledge and understanding of what drives healthy attachment for a child in their first years amongst other things to guide me on this journey of parenthood.

Have you seen any career changes since you started the programme?

The premise of EMC is to know thyself and others and therefore be able to effectively use yourself as an instrument to influence change within organisations.

Beyond expanding my scope at work, the most notable change has been around how I take up my role within any group setting I am part of. Though it may seem very subtle, the impact is significant to me.

What advice would you give to potential EMC participants?

My journey to apply for EMC was rather long, as I wasn’t too sure how I would be able to combine a demanding full-time role, a part-time degree, trying for a baby and just life in general.

If it weren't for my husband, as the supportive partner that he is to give me an extra nudge to consider joining, I am not sure I would have joined in the end. Having a supportive partner, for me was crucial as me taking part in EMC impacted our life as a whole. 

I highly recommend attending an introduction session, as well as speaking to EMC’ers past and present to learn more of the different individual experiences on how EMC has had an impact in their life. The most important thing is becoming clear on why it is that you want to make this investment for yourself. Identifying this before I joined EMC, ensured I had the necessary intrinsic motivation in those moments when EMC and everything else clashed in terms of time management.