13th June 2014   |    by Jacqui Harper MBE

INSEAD in Spring

At the beginning of Spring Jacqui Harper travelled to INSEAD Business School in Paris wondering what the week had in store …

It wasn’t a promising start: sleet lashed me as I descended the stairs of the aircraft. Not exactly springtime in Paris. I shivered in my Mac and wished I’d worn my winter coat.

It was a relief to settle into my room in Ermitage – one of the campus residential buildings. It is modern, comfortable and elegantly French. Although they don’t normally provide dressing gowns staff often go the extra mile. I was thrilled when a member of staff managed to find a dressing gown for me. I was staying the whole week so it was a welcome extra.

My ID badge was waiting for me on the desktop in my room. I smiled when I saw ‘Faculty’ written under my name. Every time I work at INSEAD I feel proud and honoured to be there. It is an exciting and challenging place to work.

You want to do your best every time you walk around the campus. Maybe it’s to do with the modern, shiny buildings. They inspire ideas and confidence. Maybe it’s to do with the people. They’re all smart, interesting and thoughtful.

I was looking forward to the courses. I knew I would be working with my friend and business partner, Steve Knight. We have worked together for many years and he introduced me to INSEAD.

The courses were billed as The Art of Communication and Communicating with Impact. They were designed for INSEAD staff to develop leadership presence through communication skills. They were demanding programmes and great fun to deliver. We spent quite a bit of time preparing the sessions so we appreciated the tremendous feedback. I’ll pull just one out of the bag so you get an idea what participants said:

I do not regret signing up for this training. Even if really challenging. I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from Steve and Jacqui. I will recommend this training to my colleagues. It was very impactful and powerful.

By the end of the week the winter chill receded and spring sunshine brightened the campus. As I packed my bags to return home I made two resolutions for my next visit: go to the campus gym and improve my French!

© Jacqui Harper 2014

About Jacqui Harper MBE

Jacqui Harper MBE MA Hon Fellow

Jacqui is a visiting professor at INSEAD – the number one global business school (Financial Times, 2017) where she teaches Executive Presence to MBA students and executives.

As a TV news anchor Jacqui has presented several news programmes for BBC TV, Sky News and ITV and a chat show on BBC 2.
Her presenting experience gives her many practical insights and skills to share with business leaders needing high grade communication skills at conferences, board presentations, media interviews and stakeholder events.

Through her company, CRYSTAL BUSINESS COACHING, she has been transforming Executive Presentations for over fifteen years and her clients include many CEOs of global corporations and senior staff at The Foreign Office.

Jacqui has a passion for writing. It started as a business reporter for the Oakland Tribune in California. She has written a business book called The Professional’s Guide to Presentations. She is currently writing a new book on Executive Presence.

Jacqui is married to Peter, a lawyer, and they have two gorgeous kids who are at school. Jacqui’s free time is spent walking in The Yorkshire Dales.

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