GEMBA: A Fast-Paced Transformational Experience

Raimundo Frohlich

I am now 10 months into the GEMBA journey, with only two more modules left to finish it off, and I can’t help but feel that it has gone so fast. Don’t get me wrong, these 10 months have really been a transformational experience. This programme makes you challenge yourself in every possible aspect, which not only made me grow as a better professional, but also as a better person.

To be honest, I entered the GEMBA programme without really knowing what will come next for me in my career. But with every module I did, every interaction I had with faculty, coaches and classmates, and the self-exploration I was faced with, this programme helped me discover what I am passionate about and how to turn that into a reality in my career.

This process started with the core courses that gave us all the tools, ranging from hard skills to soft skills, to successfully run a business that truly creates value. Following INSEAD’s principles and values, we were taught how to tackle world-scale challenges and advance business as a force for good.

And what’s great about the GEMBA is that you are going through this learning journey with some of the most talented and accomplished classmates you could have, which makes every interaction so much richer.

My cohort members, through their experience and stories, taught me equal to or more than what the classes covered.

After such an important formative experience, we got the possibility to select a wide range of electives to have a better understanding of different topics that will help us in our career. Every available course looked extremely useful, so choosing was tough, but luckily, we can come back for more in coming years.

I have to say that spending three full weeks during the summer in Fontainebleau, with almost every one of the Europe Cohort, plus most of our classmates from Middle East and Asia, and even alumni from past years, was probably the most exiting time of the GEMBA.

But not only the social aspect of it was great. Academically I managed to learn so much about innovation, entrepreneurship and growth investing. I found particularly useful to get a better understanding of the institutional investor angle in the financing of Startups by Venture Capital firms, thanks to the amazing Private Equity course by Claudia Zeisberger.

All these experiences pushed me to think that entrepreneurship is the right path for me, and that this would be the way were I could make a difference.

But the learning didn’t stop in the classes, for in between modules we had the opportunity to attend to a wide range of webinars, workshops and events run by INSEAD. I was very impressed by the Startup Bootcamp run by GEMBA alumna Charlotte Mason, an intensive and interactive 48 hours of training designed to test one’s entrepreneurial appetite and jumpstart the entrepreneurial adventure.

The experience was great, and my career path started to get clearer.

To rise to the challenge, I decided to present a new venture in the famous INSEAD Venture Competition, chaired by Ben Ling. I got the opportunity to compete against exceptional ideas and teams like fellow GEMBA projects such as Carbon27 led by Sunny Kumar, or Airstock led by Satoshi Yamada.

Thanks to the help of my classmates Mohamed Diabi and Beilun Wei, our project Lulu, an AI-based app that brings an affordable and efficient communication solution for people with mobility and speech impairments, managed to place third and receive an additional Social Impact prize.

It was an intense experience, but the perfect validation that we are into something good, using our talents to build a product that will be a real contribution to tackle inequalities in the world.

With all those experiences falling to places in the right time, I managed to define my career path as an entrepreneur, aligning my passions and purpose into a real business opportunity that I’m convinced will help in the day-to-day life of millions of people around the world.

And I’m sure that we will make it a reality, because we’re not alone, we have the support of a caring and passionate global network which is the GEMBA that I know now that will always have each other’s back.

Now that the finish line is in sight, I can’t wait to see what more surprises the GEMBA will bring to our lives.