Viewpoints - Naomi Geita

Naomi Geita

Nationality: Kenyan

Year Graduated: 2021

"Aside from the fact that my classmates come from 76 nationalities across the world, the people I have interacted with, including alumni, are very kind and helpful."

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

My greatest achievement is setting up the largest real estate development in East Africa. I executed the completion of a complex two-tiered land acquisition transaction involving 10,500 acres of land, setting the stage for a large-scale commercial venture that is making tremendous socio-economic impact.

I led the structuring and execution of corporate social responsibility initiatives to provide full high school scholarships and mentorship to over 200 needy students, upgrade classrooms for two schools, and provide vocational training to over 100 previously unemployed and unskilled young people, most of whom are now gainfully employed in the company’s projects.

Why did you choose this business school? 

I chose INSEAD for various reasons, but one that stands out is the amazing community. Aside from the fact that my classmates come from 76 nationalities across the world, the people I have interacted with, including alumni, are very kind and helpful.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? 

Michele Hibon, a professor emeritus, is my absolute favourite. She tutors non-traditional candidates in the Uncertainty, Data and Judgment course with so much clarity and patience.

What was your favourite MBA event or tradition at your business school? 

During the first semester, all MBA students get to solve a strategic problem for a non-profit organisation that is making an impact in the society. My class was tasked with developing strategic solutions for MiracleFeet, an organisation working towards eliminating clubfoot among children in low and middle income economies through effective early treatment. This tradition affirms INSEAD’s value of advancing business as a force for good.

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

Nothing, really. I do not have any regrets so far.

What is the biggest myth about INSEAD? 

You should not go to INSEAD unless you want to end up in consulting. While a significant portion of the class goes into consulting, there are many other careers options with an INSEAD MBA, and INSEAD provides a lot of help to help candidates discover their career interests.

What surprised you the most about INSEAD? 

How fast the time flies!

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

Although I applied under time constraints, I prepared thoroughly and sought help from people who had gone before me. Speaking to alumni made all the difference for me.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? 

It was one of my study groupmates, Jõao Cardoso. He is also a non-traditional candidate, but he has a way of quickly grasping even the most difficult concepts and explaining them to others in the simplest of ways.

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

I applied to INSEAD when COVID-19 had already been declared a pandemic, so there weren’t surprises. On the contrary, my class was able to have in-person classes right from the first week subject to regular testing and contact tracing, after INSEAD negotiated an exemption with the French government.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? 

It was my Friend Kerubo Nyamwaro, who had also joined Centum through the graduate programme a year before me. After she graduated with an MBA from INSEAD in 2019, we had a conversation and she encouraged me to consider enrolling into the MBA programme. She further mentored me throughout the application process and she continues to guide me during my MBA.

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