The Global Leadership Accelerator

Max Sumargo

What got you here will not be what gets you there.

This is a resounding message throughout the MBA programme and it entails fundamentally changing the value that your skillset brings to the table.

All business schools will undoubtedly equip their students with the necessary skills to be a business manager but it is likely that the breed of graduates will be very different school to school. In a sea of potential business managers, it may boil down to leadership as the key differentiating factor.

INSEAD mandate courses which build on leadership, like Organisational Behaviour (OB) and Leadership Communication Foundations (LDF), that help one understand the various personalities, leadership styles, and interpersonal dynamics. Better yet, INSEAD students each get a personal coach via the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLDP). All these resources aim to expedite your leadership growth journey not only throughout the precious school year, but also for the rest of your life.

All these are great sources of development but the one unique resource that definitively shapes my personal leadership growth would have to be my fellow classmates.

Instilled in INSEAD’s founding values is diversity as a source of learning and enrichment. You see diversity in the alumni network, class cohort, classroom, and even in your four-to-five strong study group.

Diversity brings variance in perspectives, talents, and personalities among many other aspects. While these variances have the potential to discover creative solutions while mitigating the risk of falling into pitfalls, more often than not, they remain suppressed in team settings and the amazing benefits of diversity are often untapped.

The common information bias, courtesy of day one in Organisational Behaviour, is the trap of searching for commonality and conformity which results in team time being wastefully spent on common information and not on the unique information each team member has. Effective leaders will need the attuned awareness and hardened experience to surface these hidden value drivers in a team.

Also related, is the need for cultural understanding which naturally comes from increased exposure to the cultures of the world.

The programme brings world cultures together but leaves one to discover how to communicate effectively across a wide spectrum. There are ample resources to guide a leadership development journey but each student will need to personally decide how to exercise their leadership muscles. 

Thankfully, the MBA programme helps build these crucial leadership skills by throwing you into the deep end of different diverse teams again and again. With a class made up of 62 different nationalities and people from all walks of life, there is always going to be variance in whatever team you attempt to form. Whether it is a one-hour intense negotiation role play, two-day idea-to-pitch startup bootcamp, or one-week case competition, the skill to harness the power of diversity proves to be extremely valuable.

At the end of day, we live in a globalised world and the case for leaders that thrive in such an environment is only growing stronger.

What got me here will not be what gets me there. I believe what gets me there is rooted in the unparalleled leadership growth I share with my classmates from around the world.