My reflections on the Introducing Corporate Governance and Board Effectiveness course

By Elerson Nogueira, Sloan 2021

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My Sloan journey started when I was close to completing 20 years in my career. How could I map out the next 20+ years? was the question I had in my mind – I didn’t know at that moment, but reflection would become a mark of my new trajectory. It became clear that it was time to pause and prepare myself. The goal? To amplify the impact of my leadership. Business Schools were the place to go. Being an experienced professional, I knew I couldn’t take the traditional MBA path, so I started looking for alternatives.

After doing some research and talking to former students, I realised there were excellent options worldwide for people at my stage. So, my mission was to find the best match for my situation. The combination of high calibre Professors and content, diversity in the cohort, student community and space for guided reflections about life and career made LBS my winner.

Why the Introduction to Corporate Governance and Board Effectiveness course?

The programme started precisely the way I expected, and I’ve never learned so much in life – not only in the lecture theatres but also when interacting with colleagues and setting time aside to think about myself. Then, when we had to decide which electives to take, the new Introduction to Corporate Governance and Board Effectiveness course was a 100% match. While evolving in my executive career, being part of a board of a charity or company is a natural place I want to be in the future, and I got to prepare myself for it. The fact that the course complemented our Sloan core Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Relationship course was a plus. I had already had contact with Vyla Rollins (Executive Director of the Leadership Institute and a strategic organisational effectiveness consultant) and Professor Randall Peterson in sessions they championed on campus and knew I would learn a lot from them – I was right!

In our first class, we had a game. An excellent chance to break the ice, create some bonding with the classmates and engage with the content. Then, we had a sequence of classes combining theory on Corporate Governance and Organisational Behaviour with practices and discussions in groups or with peers. One of the benefits of being at LBS is that this elective is offered to all the programmes. We had students from Early Careers, EMBAs, MBAs and Sloans – a multi-generation group. You can imagine how rich these discussions were.

My 20+ years career experience and thinking was challenged by bright young professionals and others in the group. We learned a lot from each other because we had people from their early twenties to late forties and a variety of industries represented. FMCG, Oil & Gas and Renewables, Finance Services, Investment Banking, Media, Tech, Real State, Government, and the list go on… Every time we were presented with a real business case and invited to discuss and provide our thoughts, we all had something to contribute.

The grand finale was a highlight for me! We went to one of the biggest Lecture Theatres, where we could sit like in a stadium, cameras and microphones well-positioned to give those on Zoom the best experience (remember, we were in the midst of Covid, and LBS provided a differentiated hybrid learning experience). At the centre stage, a mix of well-versed board members from the market and actors were invited to perform some real-life board meetings. Students had their chance too and could feel what it means to be in a situation where things go just right or totally wrong. Those who go to theatres know how impactful a play can be. That’s what we got from that special evening. And before leaving, we were challenged by Vyla Rollins to reflect on our experience: “Now, let’s take 1-2 minutes to reflect on what we saw and felt. What we learned and how this will help us in the future. Any actions to put in place?” Those were the moments that I learned the most.

We all left the lecture theatre with the confidence that we were prepared to start exploring new possibilities in our fields. Governance is important and professionals that understand its importance and how to adapt accordingly, will contribute enormously to any company they work for, whether as an executive or board member. I am so grateful I had the chance to join this class, and I’m sure I’m better prepared for the challenges ahead.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sloan programme, please visit our website.

You can also learn more about the Introduction to Corporate Governance and Board Effectiveness course by visiting our website.

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