Getting back to the family business as soon as possible was a prime reason to choose a one-year MBA.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far
I set up the company’s first overseas entity – a manufacturing facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?
Seeing the family business grow rapidly in recent times, it was crucial to understand ways to grow and scale the business sustainably. My parents had been the guiding light for me so far, but they were of the opinion that understanding the best practices worldwide was essential to steer the business globally. Gaining insights on growth and diversification strategies was essential and I felt a short-duration MBA could enable me to gain this knowledge.
What other MBA programmess did you apply to?
Stanford, LBS, Kellogg.
How did you determine your fit at various schools?
1) Course duration: I was looking at shorter MBA programmes to minimise my time away from the family business.
2) Climate of the city: During the course of the MBA, I also want to enjoy life – hike, run and cycle around (if I get the time!). I don’t like cold weather for the very same reason. The Fontainebleau campus has bearable weather in the winters, compared to most other business schools.
3) Family business electives: I was looking at programmes that offered electives in topics like family businesses, intrapreneurship and growth and scaling. INSEAD offered a good combination of the above and the freedom to choose plenty of electives.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?
Super enthusiastic and friendly. The activity on the Telegram groups is quite overwhelming and refreshing. I’ve already been on pre-MBA trips with several batchmates, attended numerous meetups, and joined several clubs before the MBA programme even started.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose INSEAD MBA and why was it so important to you?
1) It's a one-year programme. Getting back to the family business as soon as possible was a prime reason to choose a one-year MBA.
2) A reunion with France. Having had two stints in France already, I was acquainted with the language and culture and also quite attached to Paris as a city. I think it was destiny to come back here!
3) The Fontainebleau campus and the beautiful forest next to it. Being an outdoorsy person – a runner and a mountaineer – the lure to go on runs and go bouldering in the forest was too good to resist!
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?
Family business, energy, football, climbing
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?
This was a question I asked myself in introspection while writing the motivational essays:
“How do I justify working in the oil and gas industry when I am so passionate about sustainability and clean energy?”
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are?
Building a life-size, solar-powered house during my college days was a big moment in my life. As part of a university competition – the ‘Solar Decathlon Europe’ – our team designed and built a sustainable house over two years. We also lived in it for a few weeks! We had to dismantle it, ship it to Paris, and rebuild it over there in 10 days’ time while competing with 20 other international universities. It was a tremendous feeling when we finished it. The whole experience was extremely enriching and eye-opening and gave me a self-confidence that I can do things that I never even dreamt of before.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
10 years down the line, I see myself as the Managing Director of my family business – expanding it into different fields and product lines (hopefully in sustainable sectors). I see myself balancing my time with work, travel, exercise, and family. Hoping to continue to summit mountains, cycle in different countries, and swim in different seas.
This interview was originally published on Poets&Quants Meet INSEAD's MBA Class of 2020.