MBA Student Viewpoints: Henna Kamdar
Describe yourself in 15 words or less:
I go everywhere and do everything.
Hometown: Roslyn, New York, USA
Fun fact about yourself:
I run five miles every day – it’s as necessary as my daily coffee!
Undergraduate School and Degree:
Emory University; Bachelor in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Film & Media Management.
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?
Command Entertainment Group; Director of Celebrity & Influencer Partnerships.
Where will you be working after graduation?
At this time, I hope to transition into a digital strategy role within the consumer and retailer product industry.
However, since arriving at INSEAD, I have been fascinated by the spectrum of backgrounds, functions, and countries that my peers have come from.
I am confident that my academic and personal experiences within this incredibly diverse environment will introduce me to new perspectives and positively contribute to my career development.
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
I am really looking forward to integrating myself within INSEAD’s plethora of extracurricular, professional, and community service opportunities this year. During Launch Week, our class engaged in a community challenge in which we built a playground for a non-profit institution serving children with disabilities who require medical, education, and rehabilitative care. Being able to create positive impact within the first week as an MBA student was both incredibly fulfilling and empowering.
I am also so thrilled to be a Student Council Communications Representative for our class. In this capacity, I will have the opportunity to contribute to and promote a student life culture that resonates with the larger INSEAD community. I am looking forward to hearing about my peers’ experience and integrating their insights into communications that will expand INSEAD’s presence globally.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
I am confident that INSEAD’s challenging, but encouraging, environment will provide many opportunities to excel. Thus far, I would say that I am incredibly proud of my class’s achievement during our community challenge. We successfully upheld the tenets of teamwork, dedication, and spirit to create a positive impact on our community. Few, if any, MBA students have any skills in construction-related work. Some, like myself, barely knew how to use a screwdriver.
But our class collectively embraced the opportunity to step outside our comfort zone. We enthusiastically dedicated ourselves to the challenge and developed a supportive environment that not only allowed us to successfully complete the project, but also establish a team-oriented and inclusive culture for our class.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
Prior to INSEAD, I was the Director of Celebrity and Influencer Partnerships at Command Entertainment Group (CEG). In my role, I facilitated synergistic partnerships between brand clients for spokesperson campaigns, PR events, TV/digital commercials, and social media programmes.
During my tenure, I spearheaded the expansion of CEG’s microinfluencer programmes. The sector was becoming an increasingly lucrative segment of the business as the new media landscape compelled brands to diversify their engagement strategies.
Under this initiative, I created a microinfluencer database and built out relationships within the digital community to strengthen our competencies in this emerging arena. CEG experienced a continuous growth in revenue due to these influencer partnerships, which have now become a core component of the agency’s business model.
Who was your favorite MBA professor?
I’m really enjoying Introduction to Strategy with Ithai Stern. His passion for the subject feels contagious at times and he is able to engage the entire class in a way that inspires incredibly insightful conversations.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school?
I am really looking forward to the Dash, an INSEAD tradition during which students dress up and attend class in costume. I believe it’s a custom that is perfectly emblematic of what the multifaceted INSEAD experience entails – we work hard, play hard.
Why did you choose this business school?
While there were many reasons I chose INSEAD, including its record for academic excellence and unparalleled post-MBA placement opportunities, I was largely motivated by its renowned global presence.
As social platforms and new technologies continue to bridge traditional societal divides, I believe that a global business proficiency is more valuable than ever. The alumni I spoke with during the application process were more passionate and enthusiastic than any others. Every one of them spoke passionately about the tight-knit communities they developed at INSEAD, and which still exist.
In my short time here, I have already established relationships with incredibly accomplished classmates across dozens of nationalities. They have all offered unique perspectives that have driven some of the most enlightening conversations. I am really looking forward to continuing to expand my global network from both a personal and professional perspective – a privilege that I completely owe to INSEAD.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA programme?
Embrace your uniqueness! I know it’s a bit cliché but I have had conversations with more than a few prospective students who are concerned by their lack of a consulting background. While it’s true that many current students have experience in the sector, it’s not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage.
In fact, the perception contradicts the inclusive culture that INSEAD actively promotes. I had a background in the entertainment industry and used my essays as an opportunity to emphasise my experiences working in a niche field. Don’t be afraid to let your individuality, strengths, flaws, and quirks shine through your application.
What is the biggest myth about your school?
A big myth is that you should only attend INSEAD if you want to work in Europe.
It’s true that the location in France facilitates job opportunities in Europe region. But INSEAD also has campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi which have strengthened their foothold in those regions as well.
Most importantly, one should not underestimate the value of having students, faculty, and alumni from almost every country and industry in the world. Between INSEAD’s vast network and connected Career Development Center, students are offered a strong foundation through which they can pursue career opportunities in almost any area.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
I definitely underestimated how involved the process of moving to another country for a graduate programme was. As someone who had never moved internationally, it was even more tedious and time-consuming while I tried to figure everything out myself.
The task list is endless – from finding housing to securing visas to coordinating the move. And as an independent personality, I thought I could do it on my own. I ultimately reached a moment of uncertainty regarding the timeliness of my visa and relayed the issue to my peers in the incoming class. I was surprised by the overwhelming number of responses and recommendations.
If there was one thing I’d do differently, I would definitely ask for help sooner. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an environment that has been as supportive as INSEAD. Between my classmates and the variety of school resources (including the campus’ Student Life and Visa Officer!), there is never a reason to hesitate when asking for help.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire?
I really admire my Lebanese classmate Georgio Irani who has an unmatched charisma and passion for life. His vibrant personality uplifts our entire class and motivates us to take action. In fact, I hope to learn from him and inherit some of these qualities, which I believe will serve me well in future leadership roles.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
I don’t think there was any one role model who influenced my decision to pursue business. Instead, I have always been fascinated by the brands and companies that have not only flourished, but literally shaped cultures and industries alike.
And as we look to the future, business will be an exceptional conduit for positive social, environmental, and societal impact.
I aspire to be a part of this force so that I can also inspire change in our increasingly dynamic global landscape.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
I would like to start my own company and one day deliver a TED Talk.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I would like to be remembered as the person who never said no to anyone in need.
I am an avid runner – these days, I am especially enjoying my runs through the beautiful forest by the INSEAD campus in Fontainebleau. I love to travel, bake (I have a serious sweet tooth!), and write. I’m also a passionate Google-er as I tend to be a very inquisitive person.