INSEAD operates on a “psychological safety” principle, and everyone is encouraged to curiously and respectfully inquire and connect. Of the top schools, the campus is unequivocally the most diverse. Make use of that diversity of ethnicity, nationality, and thought.
Could you share a little why you decided to pursue the MBA, and in particular, the INSEAD MBA?
The more I progressed in my professional life, the more I noticed the widening gap between how I perceived business problems and how business leaders did. I studied computer science in my undergrad and, in the earlier part of my career, I worked on technical problems that often had one, definitive answer. I needed to develop my acumen, learn how to derive insights and communicate a compelling story. The toolkit that comes with an MBA precisely addresses that gap.
As to why INSEAD, I was looking for a programme with rigorous academia but also a strong network and global reach.
The INSEAD MBA was a great fit because of its one-year programme taught by exceptional faculty, alumni associations and sense of belonging, and placement across the world whether in different campuses or in jobs across different geographies.
Can you share your thoughts about the class experience, professors, the curriculum so far?
Speaking for myself, I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience so far. The school uses many approaches to teach different material, which not only helps in internalising the knowledge but also in being more curious and asking more questions.
For example, in my strategy class in P1, our professor presented us with a unique case on avocado shake shops in Zanzibar. As part of the case immersion, we used VR headsets to see the island and the shops, talk to the business owner and competitors, and develop our qualitative analysis of the business environment.
Another example was in the marketing class in P2, where we were given a simulation for a couple of sessions on how to reposition a firm’s marketing strategy to sell more electronic devices. As a group of five, we had to come up with an approach to analyse customer perception, allocate budget on R&D, develop communication plans, and forecast customer response.
All in all, I found that many of the classes were highly engaging, and that the professors are really responsive and approachable. Everyone wants you to learn and will help to the best of their ability to ensure that.
Where are you located and what are you most looking forward to during your time on the programme?
I am currently in Fontainebleau, France. I am most looking forward to P4 and P5 to do some independent studies on organisational behavior and applied statistics. Not the coolest thing anyone ever said, but I enjoyed the classes so much that I wanted a more tailored experience in them!
Have you learned any important lessons so far from MBA experience that have been especially useful?
Plenty! I will try to narrow down my list to top three:
Networking really, really matters: it isn’t far-fetched that you will discover your calling through a passing conversation with someone, who spoke to someone, who spoke to someone about you.
I got my best opportunities when I went full-throttle on networking with students, faculty, and alumni.
Exploration (in moderation) can provide clarity: going to every industry overview seminar and attending every recruiter call ever is draining and distracting; however, sparingly showing up to such events can give clarity on not just what I might like, but what I surely do not like (thus better allocating time on what I might like)
Taking some time off is good: prior to INSEAD, I always scheduled my days and tried to optimise my effort as much as possible. While I was productive, I was subject to, and often found myself, getting burnt out. I learned at INSEAD to take a deep breath and to switch off for some time, to regroup and then to reconnect with better focus and drive.
Any tips for those who are considering an INSEAD MBA?
All of my tips can be best summarised in two major categories:
Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise: INSEAD is incredibly fast-paced—the messages on the academic calendar that say “extremely intensive” are to be taken seriously. Alongside that, there will be socials happening left and right. By P3-P4, you will be preparing for your job interviews. Doing it all at once will guarantee you fatigue and diminishing marginal utility. Try things out as you go, but always focus on what matters to you.
Talk to people: INSEAD operates on a “psychological safety” principle, and everyone is encouraged to curiously and respectfully inquire and connect. Of the top schools, the campus is unequivocally the most diverse.
Make use of that diversity of ethnicity, nationality, and thought.