Belonging is knowing that you are a part of the world around you. It's about fitting in, finding your place, and feeling like you belong with the people around you.
But some may have difficulties in identifying a sense of belonging to a certain place, or with certain groups of people, especially after international experiences or careers that may have shaped the way they think, behave, or address any challenges they are facing.
So let’s discuss the importance, or lack thereof perhaps, of having to find your place and assuming an identity and belonging.
After all, isn’t it the goal for us all to create more inclusive communities where one is accepted no matter where they are from, or where they believe they belong?
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Aya is the Associate Investment Officer at International Finance Corporation (IFC). Aya joined IFC's Financial Institutions Group in 2019 after working in management consulting and M&A advisory in the private sector. She is involved in executing new investments and the portfolio management of existing investments in the West and Central Africa region, after spending 2.5 years in Amman, Jordan, with IFC’s Middle East and North Africa team.
Most recently, her team has been working on equity investments to fintech companies in Africa, small loans to women entrepreneurs, including Syrian refugees, and loans to SMEs that could contribute to climate change mitigation.
Aya is a current INSEAD Executive Master in Finance (EMFin) participant.
Stephanie is the founder of The Inspiration Lab, a consultancy working for global companies to strengthen diversity, inclusion and leadership at work. Stephanie started her career as a researcher in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and a teacher in survey theories at Paris University.
Stephanie also spent 25 years at L'Oréal in the Luxe Division, in marketing, sales and general management and then at 50, decided to go back to learning and studied NLP at UCSC University of California Santa Cruz, and Organisational psychology at INSEAD's Exective Master in Change (EMC) programme.
What is one piece of advice can you give our listeners who are considering studying at INSEAD?
So for the Executive Master in Finance (EMFin) programme, there are lots of technicalities that I can talk about, for example, you get to keep your job whilst doing the programme. But if I am to touch on more fundamental things, then INSEAD is one of the best business schools in the world, no doubt about that. It's the people that make this school very special.
It attracts a certain calibre of people, you know, people who are willing to break the barrier, people who are willing to go limitless. You go through this very intense experience, and sometimes it's actually more energy-consuming than your actual day-to-day work.
At one point, you go through it with all these people you've never met before, but they're all in the finance industry together somewhere in the world. You start creating this link with the others that you will never have with your colleagues, it's a different type of connection. And you know that you can count on these people even after the programme.
Also, being a current student. I have had the pleasure of meeting INSEAD alumni through LinkedIn or through different events, and you instantly get this connection. And they're so happy to see you because you tell them that you're currently studying at INSEAD, and they start telling you about the experience that they had at INSEAD and then that contributes to creating another strong connection. It's definitely a life-changing experience.
My experience at INSEAD is that it's the way we learn from the faculty and the way we are challenged alongside our peers in the class. The people you meet at INSEAD are absolutely amazing and I have made many friends, moreover, we share a real mindset or spirit with our peers and this is unbelievable.
I think that beyond the fact that I consider that studying at INSEAD was a life-changing experience from a business and professional point of view, the human experience at INSEAD is really incredible and one that you have to live honestly to understand.
2:45 - Tell us a little more about yourself, how did you get to where you are in your career today?
15:00 - You’ve both lived, worked and studied in a few different countries. You’ve no doubt travelled to a fair few more. What is it like to have such an international experience?
In March we launched the third instalment of Limitless, INSEAD’s women’s campaign. The topics that were brought up by the alumnae featured revolved around the barriers, the biases and the belief systems that they have had to overcome in their lives.
21:50 - As international career women who have obviously experienced different cultures, what do you have to say about this sense of belonging? Do you have any tips to help assimilate and belong?
27:11 - What have you changed your mind about in the last couple of years?
31:33 - If I were to ask you where you are from, what would your response be?