I knew I wanted to go to business school when I realised that an engineering approach may not be the best way to tackle every business problem.
Chandler Elizabeth Hatton
Hometown: Portland, Oregon, USA
My parents back in Oregon (Nikki and Dan) and my parents-in-law in the Netherlands (Jan and Wilma) as well as my sister (Julie), my sister-in-law (Marije) and my wonderful partner (Maarten)
Fun fact about yourself:
I co-own a Rotterdam-based real estate development firm that aims to improve the quality and sustainability of our cities.
Undergraduate School and Degree:
Dual BSc in Mechanical Engineering and Architecture (MIT), MSc Industrial Design Engineering (TU Delft)
Where are you currently working?
Arthur D. Little is a strategic management consultancy, operating at the intersection of technology, strategy, and innovation. As Manager at ADL, I develop strategic advice for an international portfolio of clients. My work focuses on two areas: innovation management and growth strategy.
Extracurricular activities, community work and leadership roles:
I am a volunteer mentor to tech founders in the Amsterdam chapter of an international start-up accelerator, and I also mentor young professionals in the early stages of their careers.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
Our GEMBA cohort has “peer sharing” sessions in which classmates share their personal and professional experiences through thought-provoking mini-lectures. I’ve had the pleasure of organising these sessions together with my classmate Dianne Baunbaek and I am proud of the impact they’ve had in bringing our cohort together.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
As CTO of a Netherlands-based biogas company active in East Africa, I frequently traveled between our headquarters in the Hague and our production facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Just after we’d launched our first product I was visiting Dar when the local team happened to be celebrating their 200th installation. Seeing the way the local team rejoiced in the company’s success was one of the proudest moments of my career.
What was your favorite Executive MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
Professor Philip Parker’s Marketing course exposed me to a whole new toolkit: the course revealed the power of modern, data-driven approaches to developing marketing strategies and understanding your customer.
Why did you choose the INSEAD Global Executive MBA?
One of the key reasons that I chose INSEAD is its Leadership Development Programme (LDP). It's an intensive trajectory that runs throughout the programme to help students hone their leadership skills through coursework, coaching, 360-feedback, and experiential learning.
What did you enjoy most about business school in general?
It is a delight to be part of a global network of open-minded and insightful professionals that together contribute to the realisation of needle-moving initiatives.
What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work?
INSEAD creates small peer groups that collaborate closely on leadership development (part of the LDP programme). My group provided invaluable feedback – for example on how I communicate in moments of conflict – that helped me to change the way I interact both at work and at home.
Give us a story during your time as an Executive MBA participant on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education?
In work, family, and education pressure comes in waves, and the third module of the EMBA really put me to the test: all three waves peaked simultaneously. I am grateful to my classmates for noticing and providing the support I needed.
What advice would you give to a student looking to enter the GEMBA?
There are a lot of programmes out there and figuring out which programme is right for you can be difficult. Fortunately, most schools have a team dedicated to helping prospective students find their way. Get in touch with these teams and try to understand whether their programme is right for you before immersing yourself in the application process.
What is the biggest myth about going back to school?
Most people assume that preparing cases and studying for exams is the brunt of the work. In fact, most of the work took place between modules: the EMBA curriculum made me aware of hazardous assumptions and bad habits – changing these is a work in progress.
What was your biggest regret in business school?
Professors recommend all sorts of interesting reading to further explore course topics. I wish I could make time to pursue all the suggested literature, but just getting through the assigned literature while balancing work and family is sometimes a Herculean effort. I regret that many of these recommendations will have to be picked up at a later date.
Which GEMBA classmate do you most admire?
Without exception, my cohort is filled with admirable executives with inspiring stories. In particular, Kenji Kishi is admirable in his commitment to building his own knowledge and sharing his insights with others. He is reliable, frank, and just as quick to help explain an assignment as he is to list the best places to eat on your next city trip. For example, Kenji recently traveled from his home in Germany to our classmate Rahul Yadav’s firm in Denmark to give a workshop on Japanese culture and business processes.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…"
I realised that an engineering approach may not be the best way to tackle every business problem.
What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?
My goal is to make transformative technologies available through the development of simple products and services. When I was working in biogas, a seasoned engineer once explained that, “It must be easier to do than not to do – otherwise no one will do it.” My goal is to make it easier for us, as a global community, to embrace sustainable and equitable solutions to our most pressing problems.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
I hope that my peers remember me as an engaging sparring partner and someone they can reach out to (tomorrow or two decades from now).
What are the top two items on your bucket list?
Teaching is certainly on my bucket list, as is making a tangible contribution to the promotion of women in science and technology.
This interview was originally published on Poets&Quants Best & Brightest Executive MBAs