Is an MBA still worth it? The answer is a resounding yes, according to MBA alumna Cintia Tavella from INSEAD, who graduated at the height of the global financial crisis.

Life after Lehman Brothers collapsed bears some resemblance to the current coronavirus crisis: a deeply impacted jobs market, concerns over whether time out of work to study is worth it, and questions over what the economic recovery will look like.

With an invaluable support network, new knowledge, and accelerated personal development, Cintia says there is both immediate and long-term value to be had from going to business school, especially during a time of economic downturn.

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The value of an MBA in a crisis

Cintia graduated at the end of 2007 and went straight into investment banking with Citi Group. However, because of the financial crisis she was let go after a year. 

Her advice for graduating in a time of crisis is to be patient. You might not get your dream role right away, or like her you might find yourself out of work unexpectedly.

“I had to reassess when I couldn’t get my next corporate job,” she recalls. “I knew I needed to continue growing and building knowledge. It wasn’t about what I’d be getting paid but how I could keep myself relevant in the business community and keep learning through difficult times.”

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This is where the value of an MBA came into play.

That’s where INSEAD gives amazing value because you have access to the alumni network, people who want to help you.

Together with a Chicago Booth alum she met through her INSEAD network, Cintia initially began as a freelance consultant in Singapore, working with the government to help entrepreneurs hone their pitches and get in front of venture capitalists. She then moved on to strategy and M&A roles with AXA before joining the Richard Chandler Corporation in investments. A four-and-a-half-year career with Diageo followed, before Cintia joined Expedia in March 2017, as a director for strategic growth initiatives.

The story of her role with Expedia is a story of how invaluable an MBA network can be. Cintia explains that each of her roles post-MBA were facilitated by INSEAD alumni. 

Utilising your network during a time of crisis isn’t just about finding a job but also finding a mentor, someone who has gone through something similar and is able to offer their advice, their perspective. 

As part of her role as the president of the INSEAD Alumni Association in Singapore, she has created a mentorship programme that will help MBA students graduating from INSEAD this year to navigate the next period in their careers. 

“We want to be here to help them, to tell them that though it’s a hard time the network is here for you and things will get better."

This article was originally published on BusinessBecause.

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