Seeking Relevance

My primary objective of attending the GEMBA programme is to prepare myself with the necessary executive education to ensure that I stay relevant in the currently challenging global business environment. This has become more palpable with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted multiple industries.

The education sector has not been spared from the disruption caused by COVID-19.

This is evident with the INSEAD EMBA Admissions team embracing online orientation events for the coming academic year. While no solution is perfect, the school has made every effort to proceed through the implementation of online learning platforms for candidates who have been affected by travel restrictions.

While I was accepted to the programme prior to the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, it has only reinforced my decision to pursue it. The current chain of events have led to real-time adaptation of multiple industries and its attempts to maintain relevant, and this situation has become an extraordinary opportunity for learning in this crisis

Initially, I was skeptical about embarking on executive education, given the financial and personal commitment required. In addition, my career trajectory has led me into a senior position in the organisation, having spent eight years in Operations in China & Malaysia, and leading Business Development for the past two years. I decided to undertake an Executive MBA late 2019, to seek a new challenge and develop new skills to avoid falling complacent professionally.

INSEAD was the only business school I applied to and my primary choice for an Executive MBA.

I was confident that it would provide me a rigorous education with a global perspective with a strong understanding of adapting to disruptive technology. It would also provide the tools needed to innovate traditional businesses to remain relevant while engaging with like-minded peers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Image
classmates

During the admission interview, I asked the panel: “How does a business school stay relevant?” While admittedly they did not have a concrete answer, the key message was to remain flexible, keep an open mind and seize opportunities. 

I received the good news from Carolina Bouza from the admissions team while on holiday in Tokyo with my family. My initial feeling was a sense of relief from the anxiety of the admissions process as well as excitement on taking on a new challenge. My wife shared my joy and I also texted my father, who has been very supportive throughout my professional career.

At first, it was slightly overwhelming with the amount of participation among the my fellow admitted classmates across various platforms. However, everyone made a conscious effort to be welcoming by getting to know each other before commencement of the programme. It has made the transition into online participation alongside physical attendance much smoother. There is a great sense of camaraderie within the group despite only being acquainted in an online environment with everybody making the best of the pandemic situation.

With Module 1 starting in the coming week, there is a sense of anticipation and fear, having left higher education more than a decade ago. Nevertheless I believe I will not be alone in embarking on this journey with this strong sense of community.