My INSEAD EMFin Journey

Vikram Narayanan

My INSEAD journey started 12 months ago when I attended an information session conducted at the Singapore campus. My motivation at the time was to evaluate whether a Master's degree would help be a catalyst for my career. The obvious choice was the renowned Global Executive MBA programme, commonly known to INSEADers as the GEMBA, and the session really cemented for me the answer to the question – Why INSEAD?

To be honest, at this stage I didn’t know about the EMFin, or Executive Master in Finance, programme. It was only in subsequent conversations with the INSEAD Marketing team and a few alumni that I learned about it. Having spent 11 years in the Financial Services industry and with a desire to further my career within Finance, all my conversations were leading me towards the EMFin. And once I lined up my motivations against the various programmes, it was clear to me that the Executive Master in Finance was the right choice for me.

There are a few Masters in Finance courses out there. What differentiated the EMFin was the course design and structure.

Requiring dedicated periods of on-campus learning over an 18-month period, the programme is designed in a modular format centered around finance. It also borrows elements from the GEMBA to deliver what to me is a unique programme. I was convinced enough that I did not apply to any other programme, in any other school.

The admissions process was surprisingly straight forward.

While I had already registered for the GMAT before I had decided to apply for the EMFin, truth be told the Executive Assessment is a far more effective and time efficient way to take on the application process.

I would have chosen this approach if it wasn’t for my GMAT commitment. The admissions committee is really after two core elements – who you are and what are your motivations for the programme. I wanted to give them the most accurate reflection of these two aspects – rather than to try and wow them with my amazing accomplishments (which I don’t not possess).

The recruitment team even proofread my essays and guided me through the entire process. Once submitted there is an online interview where you are required to respond to questions set by the admission committee. The whole process just reiterated how appropriate I felt the programme was for me.

A few weeks later I received a call confirming my acceptance. While I was delighted to get accepted, we were now in full-blown lockdowns globally. There were suddenly numerous unknows and I was wrestling with the decision of deferring the course. After a lot of reflection however, I decided to start this year. No looking back now.

So, I pick this up now having finished my first module.

The first module was conducted on-campus and I got to interact and work closely with 26 classmates from around the world.

A lot of the value I derived from the programme was via my fellow classmates. And while those not in Singapore were not able to join the rest of us in person, they probably worked even harder than most of us. The first module is designed to build a foundation upon which the rest of the course builds. As such, it is very intense and quite relentless. But the professors make every topic relatable and engaging. They are characters in their own right and their passion for their subjects and energy is infectious.

Together it makes for an environment that is extremely conducive to learning and growth - an environment I can't wait to be a part of for the next 18 months.