“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

“Become who you are.” Friedrich Nietzsche

I am Mathieu, a 36-year-old French national. I lived in France for the first 34 years (equally divided between Troyes in Champagne then Paris).

As far as I remember, I always did what I had to do, what the others expected me to do. First from an education standpoint: I completed a Master in Business Law, pursued a Master of Science in Management, attended law school and finally passed the Bar exam. Second, from a professional standpoint: I started my career in the Paris office of one of the biggest US law firms advising the largest private equity funds. After 5 years, I moved to one of the most prestigious French law firms advising blue chip companies and finally worked as Director for the biggest Swiss bank in Zürich and Geneva.

At that point, I started to reflect about myself and felt the need to take the time to discover whether what I was doing was really in line with who I fundamentally am. In order to take a real step back, I decided to pursue an MBA at IMD to benefit from a program that puts the accent on leadership and self-awareness, while enlarging my scope of skills and competences. It has now been 4 months since the journey started and I feel, working with leadership professors, a psychoanalyst and a leadership coach, that I am finally starting to understand and become who I am…. and it feels good!


Upon my graduation, I already have the feeling that I will have a clear view and conviction on what I really and deeply want to do from a professional standpoint. Owning this knowledge is the key outcome of my journey: waking up every day to perform an activity that I feel passion for is the ultimate goal that I should have searched for a long time ago… but as people say, “better later than never”.

As opposed to my classmates, I was living 7 minutes walking distance from IMD when I applied to the program. Moreover, I have the advantage that my grandparents live in the building next to IMD, which gives me a unique opportunity to enjoy them whenever I have spare time, and to receive their support and love as needed. Nevertheless, I feel that all of us came to IMD in January with this common goal in mind and heart: to start a journey towards a new enhanced life.

Mathieu Denieau


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