18D: And So It Begins...

Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

Bonjour cher lecteur,

Welcome to my INSEAD Blog! I aspired to come here for five years, and now that I am here – I think it is only right to share my experience with others, especially people trying to decide whether to study at INSEAD. They say it gets very intense, but I hope I find time to keep you updated on my learning and adventures from time to time.

Let’s begin!

First, I had an almost-spiritual event on Tuesday. After aspiring to study here since 2012, I walked on the Fontainebleau campus for the first time! I wandered dreamily around the grounds, read posters from 1957 announcing the founding of the school, and met future classmates from four continents. I left campus in awe, reassured that I had chosen correctly.

A long road led here since earning my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. After reading Jack Welch’s Winning in 2010, I became interested in international businesses and how its many parts worked together to create shareholder value. As I worked at P&G on brands seeking to touch and improve the lives of the world’s consumers, I realized the potential of businesses to transform society in addition to generating shareholder value. I then decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Business Administration, to establish a foundation across the different areas of business and facilitate the achievement of my career objectives.

I researched many schools and decided on INSEAD. While many top-ranked MBA programs are similar in terms of the quality of the program, class, and faculty – INSEAD had differentiating factors that appealed to me. The shorter, albeit very intensive, program meant less time spent away from work. The diversity of the class and alumni network was also very attractive, given my interest in international businesses and emerging markets.

I had the first meeting with my group yesterday, and after discussing our home countries and the weird French weather (it is always raining these days!), the talk turned to our expectations from the program. Mine are to learn, network, and earn a world-class credential. I am under no illusions and don’t expect my MBA to make me an expert overnight or catapult me into the corner office; however – I expect to rapidly establish a strong foundational knowledge of the many moving parts of businesses and to acquire a rigorous framework for approaching business opportunities and challenges in future. It is also important for me to build friendships with classmates from across the world, improve my cultural awareness, learn to leverage diversity, and plug into the global INSEAD network. Lastly, I expect to earn – and not just be handed – my world-class diploma by applying myself and stretching my mind over the coming year.

I would like to end this first post with some tips for aspiring INSEADers. The first is to be clear why you want an MBA, and why you want it from INSEAD. If you have answers to these questions, they will shine through in your essays and during your interviews. The second is to start early. The more time you have to prepare for GMAT and complete your application, the higher the chances you will do better and feel more confident during the process. Thirdly, you need to have a plan for financing your MBA. I cannot devote enough time to that now, so I will go into that subject in more detail with my next post.

It is now time for the 18D Academic Kickoff. I am excited and anxious in equal parts, and cannot wait to see what the year holds. I will keep you posted on my adventures!

And so it begins…