INSEAD: The Future of Education and Lifelong Learning, by Sévérine Guilloux

Over the past few months, we have been sharing inspirational stories of a few fantastic female alumni from our valued Corporate Partner, INSEAD.

Each of these women will tell you that INSEAD has served as a true catalyst in their professional career and personal growth. So, we thought it would be interesting to dig deeper and find out more about the people who are responsible for the smooth running of INSEAD, the ‘Rolls Royce’ of business schools.

Today, we’re interviewing Séverine Guilloux, INSEAD’s Chief Marketing Officer, based in Fontainebleau.


Séverine Guilloux, INSEAD

Séverine Guilloux has worked for INSEAD for 20 years, but her career didn’t start in education. 

Paris born Séverine started her early career in the food industry. When an opportunity arose to move to the US, she grabbed it with both hands, even though in meant another change of industry, this time into the Electric Manufacturing Services industry. A couple of years later she made the jump back to her homeland in France, with IT education provider, Global Knowledge, and it was from here that she made her move to INSEAD.

Like many people who started their marketing careers in the 90s, Séverine has seen the digital transformation of marketing – moving from the heady days of print advertising to what is now an almost completely digital world. 

Joining INSEAD as an Assistant Director in Marketing for Executive Education in 2003, Séverine spent the next 20 years moving through various roles to really understand the business, inside and out, until she became the Chief Marketing Officer earlier this year. This role sees her manage 70 people across three campuses and time zones (Fontainebleau, Abu Dhabi and Singapore).

Séverine is the mother of 17-year old twins – a girl and a boy.  Fun fact: Séverine started playing drums 10 years ago and is part of the INSEAD rock band!


PWN Global:  We hear a lot about The Future of Work, but what, in your opinion is the Future of Education? 

Competition in the Executive Education market is fierce. The Internet has revolutionised the way we work, providing more and more flexible ways of learning with a very interesting market – Executives learn during their careers. 

Executives will find content and opportunities to consume it in a way the suits their learning style/available time: Listening to a podcast on the commute to work; online evening webinars; sessions in the workplace using VR technology and so forth. They also have vast access to corporate universities for internal programmes, L&D departments, partnering with open programmes with organisations like INSEAD, and hybrid/online learning models.

In addition, Covid has had a huge impact, in terms of people getting online fatigue. In the last 12 months we have seen a wave of Execs who have a huge appetite to return face-to-face contact and a social dimension to their learning – on campus or using technology to really facilitate online networking. 

To this end, INSEAD has developed a strategy to respond and keep responding to market demand in an agile way. We have been creating a range of offers to help people to continue learning and develop at an executive level, leveraging different delivery methods (online, in-person, blended).  This has included evolving our online content offers by designing new platforms and delivery techniques.

Micro-credentials, more commonly known as short-term learning opportunities have become a vital way for Executives to build competencies. This freedom to develop via various channels of learning, and to build a bespoke learning path that meets their respective career goals has given rise to a need for a more “à la carte” approach with our Certificate in Global Management. 

The Executive Education market is living through boom times. We were already moving away from traditional ways, and Covid has simply been an accelerator to making this a much faster process. 

Some interesting trends that I’ve observed are that the areas of strategic thinking, leadership, and general management skills, are still in great demand after Covid. However, in parallel, we have seen greater expectations on specific topics as management has an added layer of complexity in the online world. I believe that the top three critical things for Executives to learn in today’s working environment and beyond are:

  1. How to step back from a 24/7 connected world – encouraging leadership performance, resilience, mental health, making time to think and be strategic and managing digital interaction.
  2. How to manage remote and hybrid teams, and what that means for retention, engagement and belonging.
  3. How to manage the pressure and anxiety of the ‘immediate response’ world. Understanding how digital platforms put pressure on everyone, and how to manage this.

PWN Global: Typically, in your experience, do you see any patterns in the life/career stages of people returning to education?

A decade ago, INSEAD did serve a very elite market segment. Today, the democratization of continuous education means that companies expect their employees to continue their education. 

It is part of their professional development. For this reason, returning customers are a common phenomenon and the market is booming in traditional and non-traditional offerings. 

The demand is absolutely there, and we are constantly trying to add new sessions to our faculties, including programmes revolving around key topics such as responsible leadership, diversity and inclusion.

PWN Global: Trying to juggle work-life balance is already a challenge for many of our readers, and one of the big themes that came out when we interviewed some of the INSEAD Alumni. What do you say to people who are looking to add further education into the mix? 

We know that an Executive Education programme with INSEAD is a big undertaking, and it requires a certain time commitment. All our registration processes, especially those for the Global Executive MBA programme, spend a lot of time addressing the issue of time management and strong organisation skills. We encourage students, who are also employed in a leadership role, to work with their employers to agree on terms that enable them to devote the necessary time they need to their studies. 

INSEAD CampusINSEAD also organises sessions for potential candidates to speak to alumni of the programme they are applying for, so they get lots of tips and management techniques on how to cope with the juggling of job, family, study, and life in general.

By the time the student enters their chosen programme, they will have a very clear understanding of what is expected.

INSEAD has created a range of Multiple Learning Pathways, offering a range of programmes designed to meet the needs of individuals at different career stages and times available. Whether you are a recent graduate, mid-career professional, or seasoned executive, there is a programme tailored to your specific goals and aspirations.

Someone with limited time would be encouraged towards our modular, shorter programmes to support their needs, whereas someone with more time might find a part-time degree, such as our Executive MBA programme, more suitable.

What we do know is that our participants and students are inspired and transformed by our programmes, leaving them recharged and uplifted by their learning opportunities. We cover this a lot in the recruitment part of our intake process. 

Taking part in an INSEAD programme, whether a Degree or Executive Education programme, is a transformative experience and once you get started you will find a way to make it a priority. 


PWN Global: If I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical from my role, or be on a career break, what could INSEAD offer me in terms of Full-Time programmes?

INSEAD_StudentsINSEAD offers two prestigious full-time programmes, the Master in Management (MIM) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA). While the MIM provides a comprehensive business education that equips recent graduates with essential skills and knowledge across industries, the MBA is ideal for early to mid-career professionals and accelerates careers, cultivates leadership skills, and expands global perspectives.

INSEAD's Executive Education programmes cater to executives and senior leaders who want to enhance their skills, broaden their perspectives, and stay ahead in an ever-changing business landscape. These programmes are offered in various formats, including face-to-face, online, and long-form programmes, allowing participants to choose the learning experience that best suits their needs and schedules while benefiting from INSEAD's renowned faculty and global network.

INSEAD continues to support Executives by innovating programmes and is fully committed and aligned to PWN Global’s mission of advancing gender-balanced leadership. To this end, the offer the following programmes:


PWN Global: In your opinion, why is lifelong learning so important? 

Because if you want to have a successful leadership career, you can’t stay still. In today’s fast-moving and unpredictable working landscape, you need to be agile – this is fundamental to adapting to the new challenges that businesses are seeing. 

Successful leaders are the ones who continue to learn and adapt. Continuous education has become a normINSEAD VR in Classrooms. The future of work is completely aligned with the future of education. How do you foster innovation in a world that is faster and more competitive? You have the best people who are informed and well-researched – this is continuous learning. 

INSEAD believes that learning is a lifelong journey, and therefore, offers a range of programmes that support continuous development. Whether you are just starting your career or are a seasoned executive, there are opportunities at INSEAD to expand your knowledge, gain new perspectives, and advance your career at every stage.


PWN Global: What are the top three things that have helped you in your leadership career?

  1. Continuing to learn at all stages of my career has been a cornerstone for me. I have always had a sense of curiosity to learn about things that I am not familiar with. An example of this is having to learn new and evolving technology to build online programmes. To deliver excellent services we need to have cutting-edge technology and so I make it my business to constantly learn about this area.
  2. Adaptability – we all know that the one constant in this world is change. Be aware of your environment and be ready to adapt. Change always requires a period of mourning for something lost. If you develop an ability to grieve and let go quickly, you will be faster to adapt to a new situation and thrive. This will give you a real edge in leadership because you will quickly be able to address the questions of “What’s the new dynamic?”, and “What do I need to do to adapt to this?”.
  3. Being aligned with people above you. Alignment with your peers. Alignment with your teams. Adapt to the management style of the person you are reporting to. Figure out what their priorities are, how they make decisions, expectations etc. Do you understand one another? Get this right and it gives you a safe space to challenge. If you have this alignment, it will be easier for you to influence credibly and continue to develop. You will also have the respect required to challenge the status quo with a view to improving and innovating the current paradigm.

PWN Global: Thank you Sévérine, for taking time to share your insights with us, and thank you to INSEAD for their long and continued support of PWN Global. 


About INSEAD, The Business School for the World 

INSEAD As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools (ranked by the Financial Times as 2nd best MBA, and 3rd for Executive Education – no other school does both streams this well), INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society. Our research, teaching and partnerships reflect this global perspective and cultural diversity.

With locations in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and North America (San Francisco), INSEAD's business education and research spans four regions. Our 168 renowned Faculty members from 41 countries inspire more than 1,100 degree participants annually in our Master in Management, MBA, Global Executive MBA, Specialised Master's degrees (Executive Master in Finance, Executive Master in Change), and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 12,400 executives participate in INSEAD Executive Education programmes each year. 

INSEAD continues to conduct cutting-edge research and innovate across all our programmes. We provide business leaders with the knowledge and awareness to operate anywhere. Our core values drive academic excellence and serve the global community as The Business School for the World. 

More information about INSEAD can be found at


Author and Interviewer: Rebecca Fountain, Marketing Consultant, PWN Global
Date: September 2023

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