The CDC helped me translate the vision I had in mind to identify roles and company types I should be looking for. Once offers started coming in, brainstorming together and having an outsider's perspective was a huge advantage.
Tell us about yourself, and how you go to where you are today both on a professional and personal level?
I grew up in the beautiful city of Haifa, Israel, and spend most of my childhood in a swimming pool. At 18, volunteered to join the Naval Academy and became first a ship captain, and later as the department lead I was building drones for the Navy.
At the base I was stationed, I drove through miles of Tetris-like scenery made of shipping containers. By the time I finished the service at 25, I was already hooked on supply chain and fascinated by how goods move around the world.
Since then, I have been balancing between leading people and teams to deep diving into core supply chain challenges such as scheduling, supplier management and communication. Today I lead the operations at an early-stage start-up called Factored Quality, enabling companies in the DTC/ CPG space to run quality control on their suppliers, products, and inventory anywhere in the world.
I'm currently moving between Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Berlin, Germany, living with my wife and escaping to the mountains whenever an opportunity presents itself to solve some problems on big wall-climbing routes (I know, we chose the flattest cities in the world to live in).
What made you decide you wanted to pursue the INSEAD MBA, and why INSEAD in particular?
In short, I wanted to get more responsibility quicker.
I spent the first couple of years after the military service translating the skills and experience I acquired to the 'civilian' business world and acquiring knowledge about logistics, manufacturing, and building software.
I believe that only an MBA or the entrepreneurship path can offer you the opportunity of getting more responsibility quicker. I have worked in numerous countries across Europe as well as Asia and connected more with the work ethics, values, and cultures. Working with global-minded people with similar values made INSEAD an easy choice.
I applied in the second round.
Which campus(es) have you experienced, and can you tell us more about any similarities or differences?
I did the entire programme on the Fontainebleau campus. I had spent so many years living in a city and longed to escape to the countryside. I was looking forward to living this dream and having it the other way around for a while.
Did you have any expectations before you started the MBA, and did you speak to any alumni before joining the programme?
I spoke to alumni and also kept in touch with the people who interviewed me during the application process. Their backgrounds and current roles were so different so it was great to see and be able to consult on potential paths after the MBA.
I'd say the biggest expectation I had was that this year would be incredible and interesting, and I was looking forward to see whether the concept of the "Business School for the World" was true. I was not disappointed. The year was even more incredible than expected (due to the people, professors, and scenery).
Could you tell us about your experience with the Career Development Centre (CDC)?
Coming from an early-stage start-up, I knew going in that I either wanted to build something or join an early-stage start-up. The CDC staff (shout out to Vimi and Evelyne) helped in narrowing the beam.
Being at INSEAD means there are a lot of companies looking to hire you, either reaching out directly or having a dedicated process for you during your studies.
It is overwhelming and flattering, but mostly distracting.
The CDC helped me narrow down the fields, the roles, and the locations as well as understand better how to purify and translate the vision I had in mind to identify tasks, roles, and company types I should be looking for. Once offers started coming in, brainstorming together and having an outsider's perspective was a huge advantage.
Has the INSEAD MBA helped you in your career?
I started talking to companies early on (not the traditional path with start-ups) as after working in different organisations and roles I truly wanted to make sure that I did the best I could to set myself up for professional and mental success and surround myself with smart, ambitious, and good people.
I sent hundreds of messages to alumni, founders, and executives at companies I was interested in. Around 95% replied and spent time sharing their experiences and views.
As with all top schools, the fact you are a student does not guarantee you a job offer, but it does say to potential employers that you are a top performer, ambitious, and have the potential to manage others.
At the end of the year (even one month earlier) I joined Factored, tackling a big problem with a huge market along with talented individuals. Exactly what I was hoping to do. This time focusing on the US market (a new market for me) and building a company from the ground up.
Has the INSEAD experience helped you remain relevant after graduation?
100% yes. People are always stressed about being outside the job market / leaving a good company and / or a good role. So far in life, I have seen that taking a break to learn something new, meeting new people, and yes, taking a moment to catch your breath does wonders in every aspect of life.
During the MBA you will learn the foundations but also analyse current-day events through multiple lenses.
Compared to other candidates applying to the same roles, almost none will have the time and ability to do so. I truly believe you are at an advantage point compared to other candidates (except your other INSEAD classmates 😉).
What advice will you give to prospects who are still considering whether an INSEAD MBA should be part of their career plan?
In my view, it's a no-brainer. The experience, friends, network, knowledge, and impact you gain during this year is unparalleled. I can go for an hour on each of these, but still will not do it justice.
On a practical note, I believe that candidates with proper experience in the workforce, either as a junior manager or as a team member, will truly be able to absorb the knowledge shared by the professors and the experiences of classmates. Make sure you have that in your toolkit.
Getting an MBA is a journey, not a milestone.
You get the GMAT, the application, the interviews, the learning experience, the friends, and the challenges of being abroad in yet another new country, and then interviewing for jobs. All of the above are obstacles you'll have to surpass, and with each one, you'll be a more resilient person, a compassionate manager, and a good friend. All needed attributes to growing in your professional career.
Don't hesitate to reach out to me with questions/ concerns/ doubts. Reaching out to random people will be one of the very first skills you'll need to master. Start practicing today.