For some, INSEAD is described as a ‘social laboratory’, where the sheer diversity of people helps one look through problems with different lenses and perspectives.
We spoke to Jed Johnson and Divyansh Gupta, both MBA'22J recent graduates, for whom this rings particularly true as members of the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBTQ at INSEAD
"While INSEAD was a steppingstone to developing a global outlook and network for learning business, at the same time, it made me feel 'free'", Divyansh says.
In fact, he recalls a sense of community when coming out during launch week to an amphitheatre of more than 500 people: "The non-ending applause and the warmth I got from my classmates made this place home.''
"Never at INSEAD did I feel that my identity as a gay man hampered my experience in any way. The only thing that INSEAD gave me was love and freedom!"
He goes on to describe how INSEAD made his transition to living outside of India easier: "INSEAD is the most diverse business school in the world and is designed to be very inclusive.
At INSEAD, there is a strong focus on respecting the other person’s culture and background, debating views, thoughts, and growing together."
Jed echoes the same feelings:
"I was conflicted about leaving California for INSEAD, but I knew that all my best decisions came from a place of courage and yearning for adventure - INSEAD offered that adventure after a year of pandemic lockdown."
Open-mindedness and acceptance are values that all students at INSEAD hold dear as one of the principles of the school.
Jed resonates as he shares gratitude from his husband joining him during his year at INSEAD in France:
"I found everyone at INSEAD to be as open-minded as curious as I am, and with that open-mindedness came a wonderful sense of acceptance for both of us."
"It was so rewarding to hear from some classmates that I was their first gay friend, since many came from countries where LGBT people can’t live as openly. Joey and I felt we could live as openly at INSEAD as we did in California."
As to the future post-INSEAD and what it holds, Divyansh enthuses: "Post-INSEAD, I will be joining the McKinsey Digital Practice in their London Office, continuing to put the learnings from INSEAD into more operational practice and developing a more global network with McKinsey.
INSEAD is best suited for those who believe most of their learning and growth comes from diverse experiences.
So, if diversity and a fast-track environment excite you, INSEAD is the best b-school for you.
Regarding the application and interview process, I would suggest people be very authentic with their life stories and bring the element of how diversity is a valuable asset for them."
Jed is also moving into consulting and shares: "I made the career switch to strategy consulting at EY-Parthenon in San Francisco, California, where I’ll work in growth strategy and M&A advisory worldwide.
I feel that INSEAD has given me a great base for entering consulting, and though I’m returning to my home country, I know that INSEAD means I’m always part of a global community."
"INSEAD is certainly a challenge because of the fast-paced nature of a one-year programme, intense social environment, and oftentimes living in another country."
"The experience is designed to take you out of your comfort zone, but I strongly believe that being outside of your comfort zone is where perspectives are widened and personal/professional growth flourishes."
A message to MBA candidates
With regards to messages to the LGBTQ+ community who are thinking of joining the Business School for the World, he adds:
"If you’re global, curious, and ambitious, then INSEAD is the right place for you – make sure you include experiences that highlight these traits in your application!
INSEAD is also a great place for LGBTQ+ folks (and their partners!), and we have a strong OUTSEAD community of students and alumni who are more than happy to connect with potential applicants."
"To all the members of the LGBTQ+ community, INSEAD will offer you the right platform to be free and equal and express yourself the way you want. It is on you how you use INSEAD as a support system. INSEAD will lay the foundations right, and it’s on you to make the journey your way!"
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