The fact that INSEAD had an accelerated 10-month programme was key to my decision.
Estefanía Merino

Estefanía Merino

Nationality/Passport: Peruvian Year of graduation: 2020 Current Role: INSEAD MBA '20J Student

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?

I led an integrated and multifunctional team towards the launching of savings accounts through a digital channel in December 2017. Since the first year, our digital product has over accomplished its sales objectives and it has come to represent a very important percentage of the units sold throughout the bank.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?

After almost three years in digital banking and feeling too comfortable in my position, I realised it was time for the next challenge to advance in my career. To do so, I considered investing a year learning and improving my management skills. Therefore, I decided on an MBA at INSEAD where I can learn from experiences and points of view from all over the world.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? 

First, I looked for the class profile and programme curriculum. The fact that INSEAD was the most diverse and had an accelerated 10-month programme was key for my decision. I was also interested in taking several digital elective courses – such as the ones INSEAD has to help me grow in my career in the digital sector.

Moreover, I researched student clubs to understand the culture of each school. I got interested in INSEAD’s Fintech club in both Fontainebleau and Singapore, which enhances the international experience. Finally, I got a better understanding of the culture during the interviews. While my INSEAD alumni interviewers were telling me about their experience as students, I realised INSEAD was a perfect fit for me.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? 

Fearless about challenges and excited for the new adventures to come.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose the INSEAD MBA and why was it so important to you?

It is an intensive and international programme in that it has more than one campus that will enable me to step up in my career and my network. I am looking forward to taking some electives courses such as Digital Transformation, Digital Disruption Strategies, and Fintech. These will enrich my knowledge and management skills in the digital sector, where I want to continue working after graduation.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? 

I plan to join the Fintech club, where I can contribute with my work experience as a product owner in Scotiabank’s Digital Banking and also learn from experiences and initiatives from other countries. We can even gather a team to participate in the Product Games.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?

Who inspired me the most during my life? It was a hard question for me because there were so many people and positive and negative experiences that have helped to shape who I am now. But I chose my parents because without my mother’s support and my father’s successful career I would probably not be who I am right now, personally and professionally.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? 

In the ’90s, Peru was going through a rough period of economic crisis and terrorist crime. My father got a job in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We lived there for almost two years, learned the language, and adapted to a different environment from home. This was my first international experience that started with my better understanding of the world.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In 10 years, I will be running my own company in Peru’s digital sector. I believe there are a lot of challenging opportunities available for the taking, as digital experiences and products focussing on people’s needs are new for Peru. First, I want to gain as much experience as possible. After I finish the MBA programme, I want to continue my career abroad where I can gain more management skills and learning experiences that would contribute to creating this company. I also want to contribute with my experience as a mentor to younger peers who are interested in a career in the digital field.


This interview was originally published on Poets&Quants Meet INSEAD's MBA Class of 2020