An INSEAD MBA is an intense, fulfilling, whirlwind of personal and professional growth.
Aissa Hermoso

Aissa Hermoso

Nationality/Passport: Filipino Year of graduation: 2019 Current Role: Senior Program Manager at Amazon

What made you decide to do an MBA, and why INSEAD?

I reached a point in my career wherein I had big ambitions of accelerating the number of businesses with high social impact in my country and region. Coming from the government sector, I had gained sufficient experience in development and wanted to broaden my perspectives by diving deep into the commercial side of the equation. An MBA would give me the business tools for a career shift. At the same time, INSEAD’s ‘Business as a Force for Good’ philosophy aligned with my passion for the intersection of business and development.

Do share with us your class experience over the past few months.

I don’t know where to start! An INSEAD MBA is an intense, fulfilling, whirlwind of personal and professional growth. Intense because every minute is an experience in itself and no two days are the same. In fact, each period has a totally different atmosphere from the one prior. Fulfilling because the MBA experience is what you make of it – you have all the resources to achieve what you set out to do or discover on the MBA. In my case, I had the opportunity to join a social impact venture competition and advise nurse entrepreneurs on their micro-businesses in Pretoria. Finally, an INSEAD MBA is a whirlwind of personal and professional growth simply because learning comes from all directions, both as hard skills (cases and academics) and soft skills (managing in a highly diverse environment).

How did the Washington SyCip Scholarship help you?

The scholarship helped me in two ways. First, by de-risking the MBA economically, I had the (rare) opportunity to fully focus on learning opportunities and immerse in the entire MBA experience. Learning at INSEAD happens in and out of the classroom. You might wonder, what do I mean by the ‘entire MBA experience’? You’ll have to find out yourself! Secondly, through the scholarship, I met brilliant and forward-thinking business leaders (also INSEAD alumni) in the Philippines whom I could learn and connect with directly. This was invaluable.

Could you describe your scholarship application journey?

The application process for the Washington Sycip scholarship was just like that of any scholarship. Accepted applicants can choose up to five scholarships to apply to. It’s quite some writing, so I decided to prioritise three scholarships where I thought I would be a good fit. The Washington Sycip scholarship is housed under the diversity scholarship. Since it was a broad essay format, I made sure to mention my fit specifically for this scholarship. I advise everyone to do the same.

What is one useful tip for admitted students and prospects out there who are interested in applying for an INSEAD scholarship?

It’s all about FIT! Just as you carefully thought through your MBA school fit, so should you with the scholarship fit. Make sure your stories clearly convey that you are a perfect match.

Please tell us more about the PLDP – how has it benefited you?

In the intense INSEAD environment, the PLDP was ring-fenced time to stop and reflect on my personal and group leadership style. There’s no ‘one best leadership style’, so PLDP helped me keep track of what worked for me and what I needed to work on more.

What is your experience with our Career Development Centre like and how have they helped your post-graduation goals?

CDC was helpful in three ways: first by helping me understand my strengths, my passions and job goals, second by exposing me to new opportunities I had not previously considered, and third by decreasing friction and connecting me directly with the companies I was interested to apply for.

What is one important lesson that you learnt from your MBA experience that was especially useful?

Know your strengths, double down on them, and collaborate endlessly with the bright minds around you.

Any tips for those who are considering an INSEAD MBA?

Take the GMAT, start typing your essays, and submit that application! Nothing you will regret. ;)