Viewpoints - Sarah Nortey
Year Graduated: 2021
"The scholarship has relieved me from taking a huge student loan to finance my tuition. It has helped me focus on my interests rather than considering a career path because of its financial prospects of helping me quickly settle loans."
What made you decide to embark on an MBA programme at INSEAD?
I wanted a career transition and I thought that an MBA was one of the best paths to a successful career change. I chose INSEAD for many reasons.
First, INSEAD is not just any MBA, it is a highly ranked global MBA, the best in its class. You get to learn about everywhere in the world, and you get to meet people from every continent and almost every country.
INSEAD is the only MBA where you graduate having learnt a second international language. Second, for my bachelor's degree, I had a second major in French because I have a personal love for the French language and culture. So, I really wanted to do my masters in France. Third, the one-year duration of an INSEAD MBA aligns with my plans at this stage in life.
Do share with us your first impressions of classmates and professors.
I connected with some classmates via Telegram and other social media platforms even before the official start of the MBA programme, and they were very helpful with questions about how to pack for the winter, where to shop for the best clothes and shoes, etc. This was pre-MBA. Now that we have started the MBA programme, I see how classmates go out of their way to help each other ranging from grocery shopping for others who are in isolation, forming sub-groups of virtual fun time amidst the coronavirus pandemic, to volunteering to lead case study preps. The professors are no different. They make time in their calendars for us when we have questions post lectures. I am confident that INSEAD is a place where I can get all the resources to help me succeed in my career path.
What are your post-MBA career interests?
I am interested in finance, investment and education. In the short-term, I want to explore social impact, corporate finance and investment. Long-term, I want to contribute to causes such as personal finance and basic education in my home country Ghana and in West Africa.
What is one thing you have learnt about INSEAD that surprised you?
Partners are treated like MBA candidates. My husband has an INSEAD access card and can access the INSEAD campus, the library, and other INSEAD resources just like a student. He is currently being offered free French classes by INSEAD alongside other partners. The only thing he can’t do is to attend our classes.
There is a network of MBA partners, and it goes a long way to show how much INSEAD values its students and their families.
You are an INSEAD Nelson Mandela Endowed Scholarship recipient, congrats! How has the scholarship helped you?
The scholarship has relieved me from taking a huge student loan to finance my tuition. It has helped me focus on my interests rather than considering a career path because of its financial prospects of helping me quickly settle loans.
What was the most difficult part about the scholarship application?
There are a number of INSEAD scholarships, each with their own unique requirements. Having to apply to every scholarship that resonated with me was the most difficult part because I had to craft each essay by answering the questions as well as getting my message across within the word limit. It was a lot of work, but I put time and research into it. Speaking with former students was also helpful.
Any tips to African applicants who are interested in applying for a scholarship at INSEAD?
Apply for as many scholarships as possible. It increases your chances of getting at least one scholarship which can go a long way to help reduce your financial burden. Be authentic; there is nothing better than being yourself. Use your essays as a medium to show your uniqueness and the distinct value you bring to INSEAD. Take them as seriously as you would take the INSEAD application process. Most importantly, talk to someone who has gone through the process.
Please complete this sentence: On the day I graduate from INSEAD, I will...
.. party with classmates if COVID is over, hopefully!