The Journey to Discover Why

Marcelo De Rada Ocampo

The decision to attend business school carries a similar importance to the decision of who you want your partner to be for the rest of your life.

You won’t go to multiple business schools, nor will you start at one to realise that you wanted to attend another. Now that I realise, it’s even more important than choosing your life partner, since 3.2 people in every 1,000 get divorced in the U.S. Wow.

Choosing what business school to attend is a very important decision in your life.

The journey to decide what business school to attend starts with why. Simon Sinek, one of the most celebrated and followed motivational speakers, has a great TED talk about the value of building companies with a purpose. Maybe because of its value, this question has been drilled to the ground by bloggers, authors, and all other people giving personal advice through the internet.

In my experience, pairing this philosophical question with the right introspection will help you gain a lot of clarity before embarking on this transcendental episode of your life. Before you continue reading this post, take a second to make sure you clearly know why you are making this decision, and make sure that this reason is yours and not influenced by external factors.

Marrying someone is a very personal decision, and you don’t make it because it will help your career or because you will win a competition. I am aware that my marriage example is not the most comprehensive, but it's point is to help you see the importance of the decision to attend business school beyond marginal utility in your career.

In my personal experience, thinking about business school started nine years before deciding to come to INSEAD.

During a summer school in London, I had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of friends from all over the world. Sharing a beer after class and helping each other with homework was the norm for a group that had people from seven different countries of the world. Right there, one of the persons that would go on to become a mentor for me, brought up INSEAD as a school to consider if I wanted to pursue a global career. I was just on my first year of college in the U.S., and I wasn’t even sure about my major degree. However, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to have the adaptability to meet people from all over the world and to engage with them.

For the next five years, I continued to gain a lot of experience that helped hone my hard and soft skills, and most importantly, help me figure out why I wanted to attend business school.

After working at different software startups (and in very different types of roles), I learned how important it was for a business to have great leaders and managers. Pairing this awareness with my desire to build a global brand or lead a global business, I realised that I had to 1) gain more feedback on my professional experiences with other people who had the same desire to lead global businesses, and 2) learn in a globally oriented environment about business.

I connected with a memory from London and started to research more about INSEAD. For the next year, I would learn more about what made INSEAD the perfect fit for me, why other top business schools failed to resonate personally, and gain more clarity about my journey towards becoming a global leader.

If you are thinking about attending business school, you should start matching the experiences of your past self with the vision of your current self. Respect is the glue that holds relationships together. Be respectful to your future self and take as long as you need to find your why.