The Leadership Lab: Eloïc Peyrache

In this interview I have the enormous pleasure of talking to the Dean and Director General of HEC Paris, just ranked as the top European Business School for the fifth year running. We discuss social injustice, the opportunity to have an impact on who people become and why the world is a triangle.
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Perhaps unsurprisingly, every time I have the great privilege of discussing leadership with the head of a world class educational institution, I am left thinking about the world a little differently. In this instance, the image that has stuck in my head is of the world as a triangle not a sphere. 

Born in India, growing up in Japan, moving to the US and Spain, Eloïc believes fervently in the importance of international diversity and the ability to look at the world through the lens of many places and cultures. He is influenced by his mother, a prominent proponent of gender diversity in Paris. 

The themes of social injustice, changing destinies and building bridges in an increasingly polarised and complex world, run throughout this interview. I hope you will find it as thought provoking as I did and understand why I am so delighted that HEC is now one of our partner business schools; offering full MBA Laidlaw Scholarships to women from socio-economically backgrounds. 

00:26 | We talk a lot with our Scholars about leadership being a journey, not a destination. Where did it all begin for you?

02:28 | You've been at HEC since 2003. A lot of people now think of moving jobs every 18 months or so, yet you've been very successful staying at one organisation - what made you follow that route?

05:30 | One of the things that you focused on early, and consistently, is diversity and equal opportunities, why is this so important to you?

09:54 | When we first met, you told me that a business school’s role is to create bridges, which really stuck with me as an image. Three of the incredible programmes that you run to do that are your Eloquencia, oracy programme with local schools and your Imagine Fellows programme for students coming from war zones and Stand Up for women from underprivileged backgrounds. Can you tell us a bit more about these initiatives?

20:50 | When we release this interview it will be to coincide with our launching a new Women’s Movement together which I am so excited about. Together, we’ll be providing 10 full MBA scholarships a year to women from socio economically disadvantaged backgrounds. What are your hopes for this programme?

22:58 | François Ortalo-Magné, Dean of LBS, with whom we have been partnering for 4 years now, credits the women’s movement there with re-thinking how they address all aspects of diversity, equality and inclusion across the student body. Do you think this programme will have a wider impact across all of HEC?

25:23 | One of your many successes has been to revamp the curriculum for your Masters In Management which is now rated number one in the world and includes three areas very close to our hearts at the Foundation, civic engagement, ESG and an entrepreneurial mindset. Why did you think those three things were so important to embed in the curriculum?

30:48 | What are you proudest of?

33:00 | Would you say that making social mobility happen is the hardest thing that you do?

35:47 | What do you think are the most important traits to cultivate as a leader?

39:15 | What would you say is your North Star?

41:04 | You have met with leaders from all over the world and in every sector. Who have you admired the most and why?

43:45 | Sally Mapstone, VC of St. Andrews University, is motivated, daily, by what makes her angry which is any form of social injustice. In fact, she has a mantra which is what motivates her to lead. Every morning, she asks herself, what she is going to do today to address injustice. What do you set yourself as a target when you wake up in the morning?

45:58 | Our next interview, I am delighted to say will be with the ex-Prime Minster of New Zealand Helen Clark; what do you think we should ask her?

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