Letter to My Younger Self

Anna Ong

It's 9 PM and I'm winding down for the night when my phone buzzes with a LinkedIn notification. "Any tips for me? I'm about to start my year at INSEAD soon," a message in my inbox reads. It's a message from an INSEAD MBA admit.

I start to type a quick reply but then pause. This deserves more than a quick response. So, the next morning, I crafted a note that then inspired me to reflect on what advice would I give to my younger self if I were to step into this adventure all over again.

Dear Younger Anna,

Yay! Congratulations! You got into INSEAD! This journey is going to be a rollercoaster of growth and discovery. Here are some advice that I wish someone shared with me.

1. Academics and beyond: Focus on your studies, but remember, the real value lies in the connections you'll make and the conversations you'll have. Treasure these relationships – they're more valuable than any textbook lesson.

2. The inner you: Courses that push you to reflect might seem intense, but they're important. This self-discovery shapes more than just your career; it shapes you as a person.

3. Letting go: If a relationship isn't adding value, it's time to move on. This phase is about growth and making space for new experiences.

4. Embrace your story: Feeling like an underdog? It's common. But here's the thing – your voice and perspective are unique and valuable. Please don't shy away from sharing them. Vulnerability is not just okay; it's powerful.

5. Take initiative: If social invites aren't coming your way, change the game. Host your own events. The ones who show up are your true companions on this journey.

6. Practical electives: Skip the finance electives and go for entrepreneurship, communication, and organisational behaviour. These will equip you with skills that matter in real life, like empathy and adaptability.

7. Independence: Now's the time to shine on your own. You've got the tools and the talent. Make your mark independently and confidently.

8. Discover your passion: Don't just walk the beaten path; explore. This year is your time to find out what lights your fire. Try new things and find your true calling.

9. Speak up: Your story and insights are invaluable. Don't hold back. The world needs to hear what you have to say.

10. Love and learn: Open your heart to new experiences and the fantastic people you'll meet. These friendships will be your lifelong treasures.

Younger Anna, this time at INSEAD is more than an MBA; it's a personal and professional transformation journey. 

Embrace every moment, every challenge, and every triumph.

So don't take yourself so seriously, have fun!

The world is your oyster,
Present-day Anna

This blog was originally published on Linkedin