A Year of Reinvention

Renata Santos

It has been one year since the opening ceremony of the TIEMBA Class of 2022. Since then, six modules out of 10 have been completed. Currently, my cohort is planning how we will use our thesis projects to individually demonstrate all that we have taken away from the programme thus far. 

The sixth module this past July gave us the opportunity to learn non-technical skills that are not related to a specific business field.

We had the opportunity to choose among a wide variety of elective classes, such as Oral Communication, Marketing, and Negotiation. These elective classes allowed us to broaden our personal and professional viewpoints and enhance our leadership skills.

Here are some of the takeaways from this experience: 

  1. Gratitude, humility, and transparency help win the empathy of the audience during a presentation.  
  2. It is possible to improve communication skills with practice. Awareness and adjustments of your voice, breathing, posture, and gestures are important tools for being a better speaker. 
  3. There are psychological principles that we can apply to better understand and influence people, which are undoubtedly important leadership skills.
  4. Mapping cultural differences, understanding the other party’s expectations, learning techniques to solve disputes, and communicating with agents are all important aspects to take into consideration during the negotiation process.

Unfortunately, we could not attend the classes in person due to the continued travel restrictions within China and throughout the world, but, as usual, the members of the cohort that are based in China found an exciting way to be together and streamline the learning experience. This time, our choice was Dali, in Yunnan province. 


I cannot deny that we were looking forward to enjoying the stunning scenery of the Europe campus in Fontainebleau (which we have nicknamed “Fonty”), tasting authentic French cuisine, and drinking delicious locally produced wines in one of our professor’s gardens. This plan must be postponed to July 2022.

However, we should not lament something that is beyond our control.  The uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged the current TIEMBA students, as well as both INSEAD and Tsinghua University, to reinvent the standard EMBA programme. The traditional concept of an entire cohort and a professor in one classroom on a university campus has also been rethought. Certainly, it has not been an easy process, but highly talented and motivated people are capable of adapting quickly and can innovatively address any adverse situations.

The initiatives we have created as a cohort to make our learning journey as enjoyable and fruitful as possible have made studying during this particular period a uniquely rewarding experience. 

As I write this, I am on a high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing for the seventh module at the Tsinghua campus. I am still just as excited for what’s to come as I was at our cohort’s opening ceremony a year ago. The module has yet to begin, and I am already looking forward to sharing this next chapter of our learning journey with you in my next report!