Beyond the standard lectures – the value extra presentations bring to the INSEAD experience

Leandro Salles

That INSEAD is fast-paced, everybody knows. It goes without saying, and probably you’ve heard this from many of us by now. Among the many choices we need to make here, along with lectures, parties and career events, there is an aspect which is less discussed here which I will try to cover in this post: the extra presentations and events offered to MBA programme participants.

Just to give you some feeling of what I am talking about, below are some examples of talks, conferences or special events that took place in the Fontainebleau campus in a window of three weeks:

  1. Conferences and special weeks:
  • 16th INSEAD Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference
  • Annual INSEAD Women in Business Conference
  • Social Impact week
  1. Extra presentations
  • GE Executive, Loïc Douillet - "Transforming changes in the power market"
  • Presentation by Bain & Co.: The role of governments, companies and the people in structured, fact-based socio-economic development of resource-rich countries
  • Position LTD: Creating Value for Retail Brands from Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
  • Impact Investing and How to Measure Impact
  • The Euro and the Battle of Ideas
  • Chairman of Polish Central Bank Narodowy Bank Polski on "Are we allowed a free lunch after all? Monetary policy implications of solid growth and low inflation”
  • Pre-Acquisition Due Diligence and Post-Acquisition Value Creation in Private Equity
  • Amphenol presentation - Entrepreneurship in a Fortune 500 company

As you can see in the list above, the range of topics is broad – covering private equity to social impact. Therefore, whatever your interest, you will find something at INSEAD to satisfy it.

Whatever your interest, you will find something at INSEAD to satisfy it.

For me, those extra events were not a priority in my first three periods, but I decided to join more of them as the recruiting season ended and my life became a little bit less hectic. Since the final week of P4, I have been realising how these are chances to not only offer me new perspectives on subjects that I usually don’t know much and that I do not usually hear about in my courses, but it also provides me the chance of meeting new people after the session and interacting with the presenters.

Below I share my perceptions on three events that took place last month and what I learned from them:

  1. From Asset Management to Politics: A conversation with Christian Dargnat

Following my interest on politics, I joined the Politics Club-organised talk with Mr. Dargnat, who was one of the early supporters of the En Marche! movement that ultimately elected France’s President Emmanuel Macron. It was an inspiring talk, where Mr. Dargnat shared how he conscientiously abandoned his corporate life in a bank to pursue a greater purpose in life and tried to build something bigger.

I learned how he and other supporters built a political movement from scratch, not only by following their dreams but also getting their hands dirty.

He not only accepted Mr. Macron’s invitation to build En Marche!, but also didn't earn any money in this very risky venture. It was a very nice talk on business, politics, but also on inspiration and following your intuition and aspirations in life.

  1. From Blue Ocean Strategy to Blue Ocean Shift with Professor W. Chan Kim

This much awaited talk with INSEAD’s Professor and author of the best-seller Blue Ocean Strategy book Mr. W. Chan Kim was filled with practical examples on how the proposed methodology from his new book, Blue Ocean Shift, could be used to transform organisations around the world. He showed us how the Blue Ocean Strategy was used in a prison in Malaysia to improve prisoner’s reintegration by using rural military zones.

  1. MBAs meet GEMBAs Networking night

It was a great opportunity to meet the colleagues who come to INSEAD periodically to take their Executive MBA courses. It was interesting to hear their perspectives on the moment I was having in my life, as I could have the “luxury” of spending 10 months reflecting about my next career move, while they needed to attend their program AND work at the same time, which is no trivial task. One of the people I met that night was telling me how he would still do a conference call after leaving our happy hour and going to his hotel. Also surprising to me was discovering that many of the EMBAs were not sponsored by their companies. Contrary to my belief, many of them were also seeking to shift gears in their careers.

As my INSEAD journey comes to an end, I still amuse myself by the richness of my experience here. Be it in or outside the class, every single moment here is a moment of discovery. The extra events that take place on campus are no exception.

P.S.: In case you want to hear more about my experience at INSEAD or ask any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below and check my LinkedIn for other posts.