Our Executive Master in Finance (EMFin) Class of 2023 participants started their first module in September 2021 – on campus in Singapore and online. In true INSEAD fashion, the class is extremely diverse with participants joining from 13 countries of residence and hailing from 17 different nationalities.
We caught up with a few of them to find out about their impressions so far, what motivated them to embark on the EMFin programme and some advice they would share with prospective candidates.
"Being able to meet a broader range of people helps me to develop myself more holistically."
Director, Global Markets FICC Sales at Societe Generale
Mark is a seasoned professional in the industry who has been working in global markets for about 12 years.
"I think the beauty about an Executive Master in Finance is that you get to interact and network with people from very different backgrounds", he shares.
"Being able to meet a broader range of people helps me to develop myself more holistically. There are various platforms available to enable you to try out new things, talk to people and get different perspectives."
When asked what motivated him to embark on the EMFin this year, Mark points out that prior to the pandemic, he was often strapped for time due to a hectic schedule with lots of business travel.
"Actually, I think the pandemic kind of helped me to make it possible to study a Master’s at this point. I also considered that down the road, maybe I'd have more responsibility on the job, so it would be even harder to go back to school. In some ways, I really think although the present situation is challenging, there also lies great opportunity."
Mark's advice for prospective candidates is to plan ahead and make suitable arrangements at work. "The structure of the programme is such that the learning is compressed into a very tight two-weeks schedule with exams at the end of each module. As such, you will really need to be able to take time off from work to fully focus on the lessons."
"The class includes a diverse mix of individuals from all over the world, with in-depth finance experience and expertise."
Linda Omara Koledade
Deal Maker at Investec Bank
Linda is an experienced investment banker based in South Africa.
"The modular format of this programme is ideal for me as it allows me to juggle my role as a wife, mother and full-time work," she says. "I was also drawn by the cutting-edge electives and strategic leadership courses offered in this degree."
With the travel restrictions still prevailing at the time of writing, Linda joined the first module online.
"Though I missed out on valuable face time with my classmates and various professors, the lectures were still an incredible experience to immerse oneself in very relevant finance topics taught by very experienced professors," Linda shares.
"The lectures were intense but also very interactive with a lot of content covered daily. I got to meet my classmates virtually before the start of the programme, and further all through module one we got to interact during lectures, breakout groups and while working on class assignments. It is a diverse mix of individuals from all over the world, with in-depth finance experience and expertise, and hearing each person’s perspective and real-life examples made the lectures that much more interesting to attend."
Given the time difference between South Africa and Singapore, where the first module took place, Linda had to reorganise her schedule in order to attend the sessions. "When you juggle studies, work and family, a support structure is everything," she says.
"I selected INSEAD’s EMFin programme because its curriculum and focus match my goals perfectly."
Investment Manager at UMG INVESTMENTS
Petro currently works in the private equity industry in Kyiv. He has 12 years of analytical and managerial experience in professional services, financial management and public policy development, with corporate finance as his core expertise.
"I’ve built my entire career in Ukraine until now, and my primary reasons for joining the programme is to extend my opportunities", shares Petro, who also joined the first module online.
"To rise to the top in this industry, I need to keep my knowledge updated, develop my leadership skills and my network, and gain the necessary gravitas. I selected INSEAD’s EMFin programme because its curriculum and focus match my goals perfectly, and because of the strong brand name," he says.
Due to prevailing travel restrictions Petro could not travel to Singapore for the first module, but he met up with a group of other students on the INSEAD Abu Dhabi campus instead to attend the classes online together. "INSEAD’s multi-campus structure has been a big benefit as it enabled us to find a workaround and still get together – though of course we still had to juggle the time difference which meant that our classes started at 4.30am!"
"I am looking forward to the career progression that the EMFin can possibly bring."
Investment Associate at Dimensional Fund Advisors
Stephanie has more than six years of experience in the asset management industry with some prior experience in banking and holds the CFA as well as the FRM certification.
Before joining the INSEAD EMFin, Stephanie was evaluating many different programmes and initially had her eyes set on doing an MBA.
"In the end, the EMFin appealed to me more because the opportunity cost is lower as compared to a full-time programme," says Stephanie, who also took advantage of the specialist scholarship by MAS which is available for Singaporeans.
With the EMFin being a part-time programme, she can directly apply what she has learned back at the office after each module. "This may possibly help you to advance in your career earlier, especially if you know you want to stay in finance", she advises.