Viewpoints - Broderic Dytoc

Nationality: Filipino 

Year Graduated: 2021

"I believe INSEAD is a wonderful holistic experience highly driven by a very important value: DIVERSITY. I am constantly evolving in ways that surprise me through the stories I hear and the connections I make in this community."

INSEAD MBA

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? 

I am most proud of the long-term growth I was able to drive for my category during my time in Shopee. I started as a category management analyst for the Fashion cluster, highly leveraging my skills in big data analytics to support Category Managers in business development, and I was promoted within six months to handle Apparel as a Category Manager.

At that time, I was the youngest category manager with the least experience. Compared to my colleagues that were ex-consultant expats, I felt small, insecure, and lost in my first few weeks. I found comfort in my team who believed in me to lead them, and I gained confidence by leveraging my current strengths. I was also luckily mentored well by Jaebum, Category Manager of Bags & Accessories …and an INSEAD alum.

I continued using my skills in big data analytics, engaging in category studies that look at price variation, impact of promo mechanics, shop level analysis, and category seasonality and others, to find opportunities for growth. Within the next six months of starting this role, the category grew 141% in orders and 101% in gross merchandise value.

Why did you choose INSEAD? 

INSEAD was my first and only choice in MBA programmes. That’s not because I did not value other schools, but because I wanted specifically the INSEAD experience more than I wanted an MBA. Through my close friend and mentor, who was an INSEAD 17J alumnus, I was inspired to seek growth, higher knowledge, and the best global experience.

I believe INSEAD is a wonderful holistic experience highly driven by a very important value: DIVERSITY. It is quite a phenomenon that astounds me every day, with every experience I have and every person I meet, since I arrived in Fontainebleau. I am constantly evolving in ways that surprise me through the stories I hear and the connections I make in this INSEAD community. There is so much value in our differences and so much learning from this immersion, and the more people and experiences I encounter, the more I am reminded that I made the best decision.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? 

My favourite professor in this first period is Professor Theodoros Evgeniou of our data and statistics class, “Uncertainty, Data, & Judgement.” I enjoy the subject very much as it appeals to the data and math nerd in me.

What is special about it, however, is the way Professor Theo is able to relate these statistical concepts to everyday life, including the purpose and impact of math and statistics to society. He reminds us and instils in us that what we practice is not simply for grades and degree advancement, but is rather a means of understanding our world and making the best decisions we can to have the most impact. There is power and purpose to what we are learning here, and we are responsible to make the most out of it.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? 

There is nothing that I would really regret as each experience thus far has been valuable. If anything, I wish I learned more basic French before arriving in Fontainebleau. It is such a unique and vibrant town to be around and it would probably be nice to converse with the locals and talk more about the wonderful wine and breads they have here.

What is the biggest myth about INSEAD? 

I think that some applicants carry a notion that INSEAD is a consulting-based business school. I believe that it just so happens that the major consulting firms love INSEADers and the candidates have a good success rate. However, the amount of learning, available resources, clubs, and the diversity of the backgrounds of my classmates show me that almost any path I wish is possible. The alumni network is MASSIVE and incredibly friendly as well.

I, myself, have been engaged with start-up workshops and events, as well as big tech happenings. Some of my classmates are geared towards real estate, luxury goods, social impact, healthcare, education technology, and many others — despite having a different prior background. The variety of opportunities at INSEAD is very diverse and I can only assume it would be the same after graduation.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at INSEAD? 

I believe it was critical to know the school’s values, purpose, and objectives, and to see if I resonated with them (I would have reconsidered if I did not). Knowing I did, I strongly leveraged and shared the experiences that exemplified these values like diversity.

Looking back, my journey of leaving a lucrative consulting job to be a full-time dance artist in the Philippines was not exactly the “classic” MBA recipe of success, but it was real and authentically me. My journey gave me such growth and uniqueness and I believed that to be of valuable. My experiences and different perspectives bring diversity in the business context. Thankfully, INSEAD thought so too.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? 

As early as we are in the programme, I most admire Barkha Bansal. I met Barkha online in December of last year (during P0), as we were groupmates in the INSEAD Start-up Bootcamp, wherein we placed 1st runner up. I found her highly intelligent, organised, and inspiring. She has a way of driving solutions, and having big picture direction, while still being numerically detailed and sound. I was impressed with her again during her group’s presentation in our recent Master Strategist Day; I could tell she gave a lot of valuable input by the way she presented. I am sure her groupmates are very happy to have her on their team.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? 

It was truly difficult, especially experiencing first-hand how much more engaging and exciting it was to learn in the amphitheater. Living alone and staring at Zoom the whole day can really tire one out very quickly. I know it is not the MBA experience I asked for nor was it for my classmates too, but COVID is a world situation we cannot change – only adapt to.

I like to give myself the glass-half-full perspective – that we can pursue an MBA education and have the INSEAD experience despite this pandemic — and that makes us quite unique as a cohort. Nonetheless, I see INSEAD staff and officers work so well with government authorities, faculty, and students to give the most interactive and engaging hybrid experience. They are truly innovating on how education happens in a pandemic. We are all truly grateful for this.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? 

INSEAD 17J alumnus Jaebum Park was my mentor and colleague at work and the biggest influence on me in pursuing an MBA at INSEAD. Of course, he shared many stories and facts about the school, but the biggest influence for me was how he led by example. I was inspired by his leadership style, the way he thought about business and strategy, and (most importantly) the way he managed his team and cultivated an effective, positive, and inclusive culture. He himself was a living example of what INSEAD alumni can be and how such a programme can help me become a force for good as well.

Lastly, he believed in me more than I did myself. I never thought I could qualify for any MBA programme; I did not even think I could do “okay” on the GMAT, but he was there to push me in bringing out my full potential. I hope to pay it forward in the future as a proud INSEAD alumnus too.

This interview was originally published on Poets & Quants' 2021 MBAs To Watch