How Do You Become A Better Leader? CEO Mentor Shares All With HEC MBAs In London

MBA alumni from HEC Paris and ESSEC Business School got top tips from a leading business mentor last week. David Carter is a successful entrepreneur and works with big-name CEOs.

One of the world's leading mentors to top CEOs told MBA alumni from top-ranked French business schools what they need to get ahead in business.

David C.M. Carter has helped over 50 clients become multi-millionaires, working with an exclusive list of just 10 clients at any one time – ranging from CEOs of multinational companies to entrepreneurs, celebrities and philanthropists.

At the Caledonian Club in Belgravia in central London last week, David shared with alumni from top MBA ranking schools including HEC Paris and ESSEC Business School his tips on inspirational leadership, and how to become a better version of yourself and define success.

The event brought together an audience of 150 UK-based MBA alumni. David, author of BREAKTHROUGH and the founder of Merryck & Co, was the keynote speaker. The ambitious crowd were hungry for answers as they listened to the speaker explain “How to be a better version of myself”.

Defining success

Starting with a few highlights from pivotal stages in his career, including finance and entrepreneurship and his epiphany moment 14 years ago when he chose to be a mentor, David summarized the key components of success in a four-item check-list.

“I found myself doing something that I was good at, that I loved doing, which paid the bills and made a difference. We should all seek to combine all of these things in what we do,” he told the crowd.                      

What makes an inspirational leader?

David recounted the four life-stages that he describes in his book, BREAKTHROUGH: Learning, Loving, Living and Leaving – the last word referring to one’s legacy. “Most people start thinking about what they will leave behind later in life; but inspirational leaders tend to have the ‘make a difference’ philosophy in their DNA from very early on,” he said.

Speaking to a captivated audience, David explained that his BREAKTHROUGH mantra starts with simple realisations: Identifying the time wasters and focusing on “doing what only I can do”, imagining your “dream board” and picturing a vision of the life you aspire to in order to create a pathway for attainment.

Gettng a mentor and being one to others, knowing your inner self – how you function, how others perceive you, were also his key messages.

Practical tips to being the best version of yourself

David’s beliefs that a series of five-degree course corrections will set you on a trajectory to be the best version of yourself have resonated strongly with all of the alumni. He answered deeply thoughtful questions from the audience on mentoring, self-awareness and personal achievement.

The importance of having a mentor in business

Many leading CEOs have cited mentors as key to their success and David is no different. He told the audience that it is also important to be a mentor to others, too. “Be a mentor as well as a mentee – give what you want to receive,” he said.

“Let the mentor enjoy the process of mentoring too. Choose a mentor as per what suits you best; mentoring creates a ‘safe space’ for both the persons involved to share opinion without being judged.

“And if things do not go the way you envision, know when to pull the plug and move on. Distinguish between failure and a learning opportunity.”

“Every one of us could take something away from tonight,” said Laure Fau, HEC Alumni and co-organiser of the event. “I personally liked the idea of building a vision of your dream future and working backwards on how to get there – something David Carter calls back-casting, by contrast to fore-casting.”

Jeev Sahoo, who graduated from the HEC Paris MBA in 2012, agreed. “He kept the audience well-engaged. Audience members who were asked for feedback had a positive feeling and a willingness to come back again for similar HEC events,” he said.

“Personally, this was a much needed dosage of inspiration and structured positivity. An added bonus was the fact that the audience consisted of people from three different schools in Europe, and a number of HEC Paris alumni from all age groups in London.

“It was a very fertile ground to meet entrepreneurs, investors and prospective clients who have the base common thought of 'how to be a better me'.”

Other MBA attendees cited “how to break-up a mentoring relation which is not working” and “the difference between executive coaching and mentoring" as their highlights.

The event also served as a catch-up for HEC alumni whom are otherwise engaged in busy schedules, Jeev added.

Keynote speaker David spent ten years in banking and private equity, followed by another decade in his thirties as an entrepreneur in the UK leisure sector, including two start-ups, one of which was sold, and the second launched on the AIM stock market.

He spent the next 14 years building and leading, as Founder, CEO and Chairman, Merryck & Co., which eventually became the world’s leading CEO business mentoring company. 

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