EMFin: First Impressions and Experiences

Tareq Issa

Early on in my career, I had always dreamed about pursuing an MBA at a top-ranked university. INSEAD had always been on my radar, but over the course of my experience I became more interested in Finance rather than general management and wanted to continue growing my career within that field. 

I decided then that a specialised Master in Finance would further deepen my understanding of Corporate Finance and would give me the educational recognition that I had always been looking for.

Furthermore, I was determined to start the programme this year, even with the pandemic, as I felt it was the right time for me. Having spent most of my career on the move and travelling on weekly basis to meet my different clients across the Middle East had unfortunately delayed my ambition for years already. So towards the end of 2019 as I approached my 10 years’ work experience milestone, I made a firm commitment to myself that I needed to start a Masters in Finance at a school that had a diversified class profile with participants of varying work experiences that would enable me to maximise the value I would be getting out of the masters.

As a first step, I started researching different Finance programmes, and narrowed them down to LBS, HEC and INSEAD. The second step was to start contacting the admission offices to get a better understanding of the different programmes' structures.

I finally decided on the INSEAD EMFin as I found that if was the best fit for my needs, given its strong focus on corporate finance and financial markets, class profile and the modular format, which would allow me to continue working while pursuing the education that I was aspiring for.

Other factors that were also particularly important to me and made INSEAD my top choice are their strong alumni network and the solid support they offer for career development.

The application for INSEAD took me about three months and what really surprised me was the continuous support throughout the application process. 

The application essays were time-consuming, however they gave me a chance to work on self-reflection and identifying my true strengths and weaknesses. My advice for future applicants is to set aside a good amount of time for preparing the essays.

One of the best pieces of advice that Mai Chu from the EMFin recruitment gave me was to connect with one of the current students based in Dubai. Face-to-face communication with a  current participant effectively helped me to make the final decision to apply to the programme. 

It was thrilling when I received the acceptance call to join the programme. The good news spread fast in my family and among close friends who supported and encouraged me to invest in further education.

Joining the programme during the pandemic meant that the classes moved online. Though I was a little bit skeptic about online learning, I was surprised on how good the experience was and the great effort made to make us feel as involved as the students in Singapore.

So even through studying online, I was able to build a connection with many of my classmates while accomplishing course work.

The only difficulty that I can highlight is that classes started at 4:30am due to time difference between Dubai and Singapore.

I am looking forward to the start of the second module, Corporate Finance 2 and Capital Markets 2, which will be a continuation of the knowledge we already started to build in Module 1. Hopefully this time, I will be able to participate in person with the COVID-19 restrictions starting to ease.