The INSEAD Summer School provided me with the opportunity to enhance my leadership and decision-making skills and allowed me to gain technical knowledge in areas like venture creation, production and operation management, and more.
Alexis Ramos Alvarado
Could you share something unexpected about you?
I thoroughly enjoy public speaking, which led me to participate in debate competitions where my team and I secured the first-place position.
Tell us about yourself, and how you got to where you are today both on a professional and personal level?
It has been quite a journey for me. I received a scholarship during high school, which opened the doors to my education. I then enrolled at Universidad del Pacífico, where I am currently pursuing a degree in economics.
I believe that what has propelled me to this point, beyond the technical knowledge, are the soft skills that are so crucial in today's business world. These skills have not only shaped my professional path but have also played a significant role in my personal growth.
What motivated you to choose the INSEAD Summer School, and how do you envision it aligning with your future goals, even at this early stage?
INSEAD became an enticing option for me when I discovered the school's multicultural environment. I realised that the INSEAD Summer School (ISS) would provide me with the opportunity to enhance skills such as leadership and decision-making while simultaneously gaining technical knowledge in areas like venture creation, production and operation management, and more.
I was very enthusiastic when I submitted my application because I believe that in Peru, cultivating a global mindset is incredibly beneficial. In today's highly globalised world, forgoing the advantages of free trade, tourism, and more is simply unthinkable.
INSEAD represents an opportunity for me to gain a deeper understanding of the global landscape, allowing me to harness this knowledge in my future career and enrich the teams I work with.
I aspire to become a member of the Master in Management (MIM) programme in the future. I see the INSEAD Summer School as a stepping stone towards a more global perspective, equipping me with valuable skills and insights that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavours.
Recognising INSEAD's esteemed reputation and its global impact on business education, I wanted to gain a preliminary experience at INSEAD through the ISS.
This opportunity not only allows me to immerse myself in the unique INSEAD environment but also aligns perfectly with my long-term goal of joining the MIM programme, where I can further expand my knowledge and skills in the world of business.
Tell us about your experience on the ISS – what was a typical day like?
My days at the INSEAD Summer School were intense yet utterly fascinating, and I believe the general sentiment each day was one of excitement. The mornings kicked off quite early for me, as I'm not a gym enthusiast, but I used those initial moments to skim through summaries of the topics that would be covered in the day's seminar.
Following this, I would have breakfast with a fellow programme participant. It was comforting to know that each breakfast could lead to a lively and enriching conversation with any member of the programme. This camaraderie was special because the atmosphere was so energising that it didn't matter if you had little prior interaction with someone; it felt like you had known each other for ages.
Afterwards, the ISS Programme Director Adrian Johnson would provide us with a brief introduction and introduce us to our daily speaker. I will hold the lessons imparted by Professor Subramanian Rangan and Professor Miguel Sousa Lobo in high regard.
Professor Rangan's social perspective was profoundly enriching, constantly pushing you to see beyond the typical dichotomies with which you approach problems.
I won't give away any spoilers, but I was genuinely impressed by how it expanded my mindset.
On the other hand, Miguel Sousa Lobo took decision-making science to another level, leaving us all with an invaluable legacy.
We spent approximately eight hours with the professors each day, with a one-hour lunch break in between. Oh, how I miss those fruit juices from the buffet during lunchtime. During lunch, you could continue interacting with the professors, discussing the seminar topics or seeking advice for your professional life; they always had valuable insights to offer.
Additionally, you could engage in enriching conversations with fellow INSEAD friends, covering topics ranging from sports, geography, parties, travel, history, and practically anything imaginable.
After the seminars concluded, we had a one-hour break to prepare for another two-hour session. I must highlight Professor Erin Meyer's seminar; I was captivated by how she structured cultural differences and helped us adapt rapidly to highly multicultural environments.
Following this seminar, dinner was served, and if there were no tests or activities to complete for the next day, it was time for fun. We engaged in everything from card games to get-to-know-you activities, foosball, or other mentor-planned activities. Our mentor Selina was always cheerful and encouraging, and Jason, with his multitude of talents, a genius in both soccer and management.
When bedtime approached, I think the prevailing feeling for the next day was, "INSEAD, surprise me." Every activity and lecturer contributed fantastically to my professional growth.
I believe I fall short in my description, as there are many details I may have missed, but the INSEAD Summer School experience is immense, and encapsulating those two weeks in a text is quite challenging.
Any memorable moments that you will take back with you?
One of the most memorable moments during our time at the INSEAD Summer School was when we were tasked with building a paper airplane, putting our communication skills to the test.
What made it truly unforgettable was when my friend, George, and I decided to construct the airplane based on coordinates, using a Cartesian plane and the assistance of GeoGebra, a modern digital tool. It was a fascinating blend of old and new techniques that not only saved us a significant amount of time but also proved to be the winning strategy for that exercise.
This experience highlighted the power of innovative thinking and collaboration, demonstrating how combining traditional concepts with contemporary tools can lead to remarkable results.
What were your impressions of campus life?
I have the feeling that from the very beginning, we all internalised the concept of interculturality. It was incredible to engage in conversations with each of my fellow participants and discover that we could find common ground despite our diverse backgrounds.
In fact, I'm still in touch with several of the programme's participants to this day, and I genuinely feel that I've formed friendships that will last a lifetime.
The activities were truly enriching, and it was amazing how we embraced the culture of "Give Give Get," or emphasising the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. INSEAD transcended being a mere institution; it became a culture in itself, leaving a profound mark on me.
I'd like to give a special mention to Kostadis from Greece, Nico from Singapore, and Martim from Portugal, with whom I shared numerous adventures in Paris, and I hope to see them again soon.
Could you share a little about your application process, and making your way to Fontainebleau?
The application process is quite intuitive, and the platform clearly outlines what is required. However, it's crucial to request certain documents from your university well in advance, as administrative procedures can often be time-consuming.
I believe the most challenging part of the application is crafting the essays, as you have to convey your thoughts and aspirations within a limited word count.
You must effectively communicate the energy you intend to bring to the programme and emphasise the multicultural perspective you want to contribute.
In my case, I complemented the global vision with a national perspective because I believe that looking "out of the national box" can offer solutions to many of our problems.
As for your arrival in Fontainebleau, if it's your first time in Paris, always stay alert to the train schedule, as it runs every 30 minutes. Additionally, you'll be captivated by the charm of Fontainebleau itself. I highly recommend taking an afternoon to explore it by bike. You'll find that Fontainebleau exudes a unique energy that makes you feel right at home.
Any parting words of wisdom, and are you willing to be contacted for more information by prospective students?
INSEAD, beyond the invaluable technical knowledge it imparts, will transform you into true "global citizens."
You'll experience a wealth of perspectives that will provide you with a versatile toolbox for both your professional and personal life. When the programme concludes, you'll find yourself wishing it had lasted even longer.
You'll build a diverse network and become part of a tight-knit family that will remain connected long after the programme ends. INSEAD is your chance to explore the world like never before, with 24 countries represented, offering you a "once in a lifetime experience" that serves as a glimpse into the incredible future that awaits you.
If you'd like more information or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. You can contact me through email at alexisramosalvarado [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll be delighted to address any inquiries you may have on your journey to the INSEAD Summer School. Don't hesitate to get in touch, and I'll be here to assist prospective applicants with their doubts and concerns.
I hope it is useful, I loved remembering the days at INSEAD. Greetings and success.