Heddy’s story: From Experienced Manager to Rounded Leader

03 June 2022

Heddy Bourghida developed his operational and leadership skills at a multinational fast moving consumer goods company for fourteen years. Starting in manufacturing operations, he gained experience and steadily took on more responsibility as he progressed in the company. He relocated to Nigeria to start up a warehouse and customisation center, later returning to France to lead transport operations within Europe.

A couple of years ago, Heddy realised that in such a big organisation it was always going to be difficult to see the impact of his actions solely on bottom-line results.

“I wanted to feel more connected to the company. It was a great company, but also a very big company. And I felt my impact remained relatively small. I wanted to not only have a bigger impact on results but also on the company strategy.”

Heddy also wanted to bring his young family back to Belgium after having spent six years abroad.

“I wanted to be closer to Belgium and I realised that an MBA would allow me to increase my chances of finding exactly the kind of role I wanted to move into. But having two kids and a challenging job already, I didn’t want to spend every weekend on campus – an Online MBA was a good solution.”

“I considered another Online MBA in the UK that was also well-accredited, but the Vlerick Online MBA offered the perfect combination of live sessions and self-study that best fit my lifestyle. In addition, I also appreciated the extensive alumni networking opportunities that Vlerick provides.”

Vlerick Brussels-9441

Taking his career to the next level

Halfway into his Online MBA, Heddy took a leap into the role of Group Transport Director at Vandemoortele – an international B2B2C food company.

 “I’ve joined a company that has been owned and run by one family for five generations and that turns over €1.4bn per year. It’s a role where I feel I can have a bigger impact and I’m really enjoying it. The company has very ambitious sustainability goals  and thanks to the MBA, I feel that I better connect with my new colleagues with whom I have enjoyed working since day one.”

“I do believe that the MBA gave me the confidence and insights on how I can make my new role meaningful. For example, I completed the finance module before I joined the company. It gave me the confidence to interpret the company’s financial reports and highlight areas where I could make a difference.”

“My Knowledge In Action project is completely relevant to my role. It’s an enabler for organisational improvement and supports our journey to drive cross functional operational excellence. Nearly the full MBA toolbox is utilized and enables analysing strategic areas of focus and profitability. “

“Thanks to the Online MBA, there is an expert faculty and a new network of fellow students that acts as a sounding board and helps to make sure there is due diligence in place. Of course it’s not the first time I’ve done something like this; but thanks to the MBA, it will be a five star-rated project.”

A future with impact

Heddy says that anyone with some experience in business will have a good foundation to start an MBA. He adds: “In every aspect, the MBA helps you to be more rounded. You learn areas of business that you would otherwise not have contact all while being exposed to how people from other backgrounds and sectors think and work.”

“My group is very diverse, both from a gender and background point of view.  There are people based in Australia, the USA, Switzerland, Spain and Germany (to name a few) along with several ex-pats based in Belgium. They are from many different sectors too – engineers like me, healthcare professionals, people from the arts, marketers and finance people. It’s been valuable to understand their perspectives and challenges as well as what they’re looking for when they’re seeking solutions.”

“I’ve particularly enjoyed the Leadership module to further improve my leadership skills. I also enjoyed the Corporate Finance module and the perspective it offers. Altogether, the MBA will help me to be a more effective leader.”

“I have reached a point in my life where balance has become more important than ever. I want responsibility and income – but I want time with my family, too. What the MBA does is  increase my effectiveness and capacity while simultaneously giving me more possibilities. If I want to move into a more strategic role in the future, provide coaching to other companies or move up to an advisory board role, the MBA provides the needed perspective to have a seat at the table. I’m more rounded and have the ability to continue to progress, if I want.”

Intentional development

Heddy’s advice to people considering an MBA right now? “Be intentional,” he says, “Don’t just do it because you want an MBA on your CV. Know what you want to do with it and how you want to use it. This will help you make good choices about your MBA and while you’re studying.”

“Make sure you’re disciplined with your time – it’s a big investment, and you’ll enjoy it more if you make sure you still have some free time as well.”