Be prepared to invest hard work, time and effort… but you will treasure it for the rest of your life!
What were your goals on starting the programme?
I was born to be in finance. I breathe, eat and drink finance 24/7. I love stepping out of my comfort zone to explore unknown territories and pursue different challenges. After eight years in this industry across various roles, I was keen to formalise my learning and explore the remaining non-comfort zones that were open to me. When I came across this programme, with its great INSEAD reputation, I realised I could do all that without taking a year out and losing my professional growth. I didn’t hesitate to apply.
Did your classmates and their diverse profiles live up to your expectations ?
INSEAD did a phenomenal job selecting a class where each person comes with a different profile. Most parts of the finance industry and its roles are represented. As one of the junior members of the class in terms of experience, my learning curve has been exponential. I am not only overwhelmed by the sharpness and experience of my fellow students – but also by their approachability and supportiveness.
Can you describe the learning experience ?
You can always read books, but the professors turn the pre-readings upside down and inject them with their own experiences and those of the entire class. You could never get that kind of learning from books or from anywhere else in the world.
What were the professors like? Do you have any favourites?
It’s an incredible line-up. I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms because the programme is over and I won’t get to see them as often. Massimo Massa is my all-time favourite; he turned my interest in corporate finance into a passion for the subject. Then there’s Ian Woodward – you can’t imagine the impact that his leadership and communication elective had on us all. Theo Vermaelen is amazing as well; he has actually created a successful investment fund based on his research. Anil Gaba made modelling and behavioural finance fun, and not to forget Pierre Hillion’s after-class chat sessions where he shared with us some incredible and valuable insights on how things are working in the financial world. Those are just five of the faculty, but I am in awe of every single one of them.
Is the international dimension of INSEAD important to you?
I’m so pleased that INSEAD doesn’t relent on the diversity of cultural backgrounds and work countries in the selection process. It creates an amazing experience. I don’t feel the need to physically travel anymore, because the world is in my classroom. I’m learning to interact with so many different cultures, which is particularly important in finance because we work in such global circles.
Have you recommended the programme to anyone else?
I used to approach people on LinkedIn or at work to find out about the INSEAD Executive Master in Finance before enrolling in for the course – and now people do the same to me. I would always recommend the programme. And I don’t know anyone I’ve spoken to who hasn’t applied or isn’t thinking of applying!
What do you tell them about the programme?
It’s been the most enriching and amazing journey of self-discovery, personally as well as professionally for me. The richness of cultures and professional backgrounds changes your attitude and opens your eyes to other – and often better – ways of doing things. At work, you don’t have time for self-reflection, but INSEAD gives you a safe environment to experiment. My friends tell me that I am a new me, after 1.5 years into this programme. Be prepared to invest hard work, time and effort… but if you get to be a part of this programme, you will definitely treasure it for the rest of your life!