04 March 2014

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

They say that learning from experience is one of the best ways to learn. They also say that learning from the mistakes of others is an invaluable way to avoid making the same mistakes yourself. They are very wise.

Indeed, it is this ethos that is at the very heart of the theory behind the celebrated CEO Speaker Series at HEC Paris MBA. This series, organized by the General Management & Leadership Club, brings top CEOs and Business Leaders to campus for an evening of intimate discussion with our students. These guest speakers open up and talk about their past experiences in business and offer invaluable advice to the leaders of tomorrow, as well as answer any specific questions our students may have.

Recent CEO Speakers have included Virginie Calmels, chairman of Disneyland Paris Supervisory Board and ex-CEO of Endemol and Jean Hornain, CEO of Le Parisien-aujourd’hui en France, as well as Fabrice Brégier, CEO of Airbus and Jean-Yves Fillion, CEO of BNP Paribas North America.

Engaging with these accomplished Business Leaders constitutes a golden opportunity for our students to engage in conversation with innovative and illustrious figures, learning from their experiences (and sometimes even their failures!) and hearing their secrets for success. For whilst we believe in “learning by doing,” we also realize the importance of reflection and learning by example.

But don’t just take our word for it; both Jean-Yves Fillion and Fabrice Brégier took time out from their visit to HEC Paris to talk about their thoughts on the CEO Speaker Series.

Jean-Yves Fillion is Chief Executive Officer for BNP Paribas’ North American Corporate and Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities and is responsible for overseeing the North American operations of the Bank’s Asset Management and Securities Services activities. Fillion started his career with BNP Paribas in the Marketing team of the Investment Banking division. Fillion received a Master’s degree from Dauphine University and obtained an MBA from HEC Paris. He also studied at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University in Chicago.

Fabrice Brégier is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Airbus. He started his career in 1983 as a test engineer at Creys-Malville nuclear power station, becoming sales manager at Pechiney (Japan) in 1984. In 1986 he joined the DRIRE Alsace (Ministry of Industry) and was then appointed Director of economic and financial affairs with the Ministry of Agriculture in 1989, serving under several French ministers. Brégier joined Airbus in 2006 as Airbus Chief Operating Officer. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1980 and Ecole des Mines previously.

Both Jean Hornain and Jean-Yves Fillion are Alumni of the HEC Paris MBA program. To read about the careers of other Alumni post-MBA, visit our Alumni Profiles here.

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