4 Reasons Why I Chose the INSEAD MBA as an American
I lived in the US my whole life before landing in Paris three weeks ago to start my MBA programme at INSEAD’s campus in Fontainebleau, France. Some of my friends and coworkers back home in Los Angeles, California had a hard time understanding why I wasn’t interested in going to Stanford, UCLA, or any number of top business schools in sunny California or a short flight away. My reasons for moving me, my partner, and my cat across the world go far beyond just wanting to spend a year eating baguettes and camembert (although both of these things are exceptionally tasty in France).
As a market researcher back in California, I could measure, analyse, and synthesise consumer perceptions and relay them to Fortune 500 executives. I loved helping my clients solve their business problems, but when the CEO or CMO I was presenting to didn’t follow through with my recommendations, I didn’t have the business background to understand why. I knew my consumer insights piece of the puzzle in the business world, but I wanted to see all the pieces of the puzzle (finance, supply chain, organisational structure) and put it together.
As the #1 MBA programme in the world, INSEAD will not only teach me every part of business, but it’ll prepare me for the strategic, big-picture roles in management consulting where I’ll be solving all types of business problems.
INSEAD sends more graduates to management consulting than any other business school, with many going to top firms like McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. I’ll have options to work anywhere in the world, and though INSEAD doesn’t enjoy quite the same reputation as Harvard or Wharton in the US, the global companies and roles that I want to work for all hold INSEAD in high regard. If an employer doesn’t know INSEAD because they aren’t global enough, it’s not the kind of company or role I’d want to work in anyway.
One of the first things I learned studying for my psychology degree at the University of Michigan in undergrad was that, while it can be more challenging to work with diverse teams, study after study shows that culturally diverse teams perform better than less diverse teams. No other business school can compete with the internationalism of INSEAD - or even any other global institution (with the possible exception of the United Nations). My class of 22J alone has over 90 nationalities from every major city on earth, and when I graduate, I’ll have met classmates from Bangkok, Cairo, Moscow, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Beirut - the list goes on infinitely.
I believe that studying with such diverse classmates not only distinguishes INSEAD alumni from all others, but also gives me a huge network of friends and colleagues that I know I’ll visit around the world.
One Year of Study
I doubted whether I would ever pursue a graduate degree in business, because the thought of spending two full years studying and two full years of tuition didn’t sit right with me. INSEAD’s 10-month programme immediately stood out, and while I’m excited to learn a ton during the MBA, I’m even more excited to pursue work opportunities available to me and other INSEADers afterward.
Additionally, the fast-paced nature of INSEAD’s MBA will prepare me for intense (and rewarding) career options. The pace of technological, societal, and business change is only accelerating, and getting used to accomplishing a lot quickly will be a major benefit in my career.
The happiest and most rewarding times in my life have been when I’ve taken risks, explored new cultures, and met people vastly different from myself. From performing as concertmaster on orchestra tours in Germany to teaching music and English at an orphanage in rural Brazil, my international experiences have enriched my perspective and have enhanced my capabilities beyond the limits I thought I had. Simply living in another country and navigating new cultures and systems has made me a better problem-solver and a better person, and my three weeks living in Europe before INSEAD has started have already given me a wellspring of experiences that I’ll treasure forever. Running into other expats at lunch in Paris, yachting off the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, and enjoying aperol spritzes en plein air with classmates from six continents are just some of what I’ve experienced, all before classes have even started.
If these reasons resonate with you and you have global life and career aspirations, I highly recommend you to consider INSEAD. The world is so much bigger than the home country you’re coming from - it’s time to experience it for yourself!