My GEMBA Journey and My Career Transition

Sanita Pukite

How was your experience at INSEAD? Was it worth it? – a question that many considering the MBA programme wonder about

This is my “why” and journey in pursuing an EMBA. I am happy to share it to inspire and help people decide on this large commitment.

I first thought about pursuing an MBA about three years ago when I attended a leadership course with Columbia Executive Education and realised the immense value such an education could add to a mid-career professional like myself. It was also when I was reflecting on my career path and looking ahead to the next decade.

How it all started

One day, while savouring a cup of coffee on my front porch, I realised that my career had been shaped by chance, not a choice. 

In that moment, the thought of career reinvention, new possibilities, and a future vision of myself began to form. Pursuing an Executive MBA seemed like a natural path forward to reshape my professional identity and to break out of the “rut”. 

The first time this thought crossed my mind, I was hesitant. I lived a very comfortable life and enjoyed my work at Johnson & Johnson. I had been climbing the corporate ladder for 16 years, moving across five countries and expanding my responsibilities. Having said that – something was missing. As the days passed, the inner voice of change within grew louder, demanding to be heard.

And so, one day, I decided to listen to my intuition and change my life forever. To pursue an Executive MBA at INSEAD.


My GEMBA Journey and my career transition

The 17-month EMBA journey proved to be a transformative experience. It was a time of building confidence, seeing new perspectives, immersing myself in different cultures, and intense learning. It opened a window to Asia for me, and it was the start of many friendships that keep blooming. 

It was a time of travel, new friendships, and countless coffee chats that sparked inspiration.

This period coincided with my sabbatical. I left my corporate life behind while pursuing GEMBA studies and embraced the space I needed for reflection, experimentation, and reinvention. 

It was in the messy middle, in the pause between chapters, that the need for change and a new direction was cemented.

The career reinvention process seemed to closely mimic the advice by Herminia Ibarra, former INSEAD professor, from her book “Working Identity”. It became a great guide for me during this time and one I could recommend for anyone looking to embark on a similar journey. 

I moved from healthcare to wellness to fitness, and finally concluded that what I am most passionate about are people, development, learning, and continuous growth. 

After many experiments and trying a variety of things, I discovered that my passion lies in inspiring and empowering people to unlock their full potential, become their best versions of themselves, and thus achieve greater fulfilment and success in their professional lives.

The aftermath

The aftermath? A transformation I did not expect. 

I went from working at the largest healthcare company in the world to becoming an entrepreneur. I am the CEO of 7A Leadership, a platform enabling sustainable high-performance team development within organisations and educational institutions worldwide. It is a fantastic coincidence that the company was also started by GEMBA alumni a few years ago.

Leading a start-up and becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t what I envisioned while sipping coffee in my garden and contemplating a change of career direction; however, it was the change I needed. 

Indeed, the EMBA paved the way for my aspirations to change and transform.

So, when asked about my experience, I have to ask back: "Why do you want an MBA?"

It’s only worth it when you know what you want out of it.