I wanted to have an amazing year living the experience that only an MBA programme can offer!
Dahlia El Assi

Dahlia El Assi

Dahlia El Assi
Nationality/Passport: Lebanese Year of graduation: 2017 Current Role: Principal at Strategy& - Energy, Resources and Sustainability

What made you decide to do an MBA? Why the INSEAD MBA?

A few reasons made me want to do an MBA. I wanted to develop the business and managerial skills that I didn’t get from my engineering degree. I wanted to be around other ambitious and successful people whose experiences and perspectives would enrich my own and I wanted to have an amazing year living the experience that only an MBA programme can offer!

INSEAD was my number one and the only school I applied to. Of course, it is top-ranked and a one year MBA programme. What differentiated it for me was the exceptionally diverse and international experience it offers that you cannot find anywhere else.

Is INSEAD what you had expected?

INSEAD is so much beyond what I expected! I was skeptical about the comments I heard from alumni I spoke to who described INSEAD as “the best year of my life”. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! Before you arrive at INSEAD, the bar is set very high for the academic and social experience. Not only is the hype exceeded, but INSEAD will also surprise you in other dimensions you didn’t expect at all. The combination of ambitious, intelligent people, an excellent academic programme, and a year abroad create a powerful environment that will, without a doubt, give you a transformational, enriching, amazingly fun experience.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being in such a diverse environment?

Diversity at INSEAD comes in all shapes and forms but it is, in my opinion, always a positive. Challenges arise from different styles of communications, expectations, and priorities (especially within study groups). Students are assigned to groups of five to six people to work together on cases and assignments. The groups are designed to include people from different industry backgrounds and from different countries. This results in many differences in the approach to solving problems and communicating the different perspectives would sometimes result in disagreements. As a result, in the beginning, I sometimes felt that I preferred to do some cases alone. However, after working with the group, I was always forced to look at the problem from a new angle and then ended up asking questions I didn’t even know existed. I also saw how this positively changed the behaviour of each of the members in my group.

What are your thoughts on your class experiences?

The class experience is set out to be very engaging, mind-opening, and most relevant to a post-grad career. Teaching methods rely a lot on cases and class discussions. On one hand, cases are presented from a variety of industries and countries, which relates the course material to real-life professional situations (sometimes even inspired by situations faced by actual INSEAD alumni). On the other hand, we have classroom discussions where there is always someone in class with relevant experience or a challenging opinion that adds a new dimension to the topic. In addition to this, many times professors have other surprising methods such as simulations, flying eggs, and Champagne. This has made, even what can be considered the dullest of classes, such as accounting or statistics, actually a lot of fun.

What advice will you give to potential prospects who are interested in taking the INSEAD MBA?

Before I came to INSEAD, I had a very good job, as well as a happy and comfortable life outside work which made me hesitate a lot about taking the leap to do the MBA. So if you’re like me and you are concerned about taking a year out of your life and making a big investment into the unknown, my advice would be: if you have the opportunity to come to INSEAD, just do it! It is most definitely worth it, and you will immediately see this once you start the programme and become more certain of it every day after. 

Can you describe your INSEAD experience in three words?

Invigorating, disruptive, and amazing.