I would like to encourage all men to become more vocal about gender equity.
Felix Takashi Wagner

Felix Takashi Wagner

felix takashi
Nationality: Japanese Year of graduation: 2021 Current Role: Consultant at Bain & Company | Coach | Feminist and advocate for diversity, equity & inclusion

So, what made you decide to do an MBA?

I wanted to take time off from work to fully dive into a large network of driven individuals, where I can explore diverse career paths and be inspired.  

And was there a particular reason why the INSEAD MBA?

Obviously, INSEAD is considered one of the top MBA programmes in the world. But there were many reasons why INSEAD was the only school I ever really considered and applied to. One of them was INSEAD's wide network of professionals from diverse backgrounds including a strong presence in Europe.

Growing up Japanese and German, I always felt at home with other global citizens.

Thus, I wanted to get in touch with people who had completely different professional and cultural experiences, but at the same time were equally longing for a global MBA programme. And because my wife and I had just relocated to Amsterdam after several years of work experience in Tokyo, I wanted to connect to a network that would lead to new personal and professional relationships in Europe. I was also very lucky that my top school choice was just five to six hours away from my home in the Netherlands, so I could visit my wife during my breaks!

Did INSEAD meet your expectations?

My INSEAD year exceeded my expectations by far! Not only did I get everything I hoped for, but never have I enjoyed learning and growing as much as I did in INSEAD. I was inspired by my classmates and friends, I learned from professors and class discussions, I reflected and got to know myself thanks to the school's psychological services and I found my passion and grew as person through all the school's Coaching services. I was so impressed by the quality and power of Coaching that I started my own journey as a Coach, joining a training programme and coaching my friends.

So, you were part of the INSEAD’s Women in Business Club (WIB). What made you join WIB?

I was not in the club's leadership team, but I took the role of an active ally to the Women in Business Club. For more than five years, I have been actively promoting gender equity through my volunteering work at non-profits and I have led DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives and Unconscious Bias trainings in my workplace. Thus, my personal passion had a strong fit with the club's ambition to increase women's leadership in business.

Since I was trying to explore whole new areas of interest during my time at INSEAD, I had been shying away from the club's time intensive leadership roles, so I was very happy when the club was looking for allies. In my role, I actively promoted IWIB's work (e.g. the new INSEAD Gender Respect Toolkit) through different channels and also hosted a "male allyship" workshop during the INSEAD Women in Business Conference. 

What are some tips for men to be more aware and supportive of gender diversity?

I would like to encourage all men to become more vocal about gender equity.

I've met many men who are feminists by definition and believe in gender equity, but they would never call themselves as such or voice their opinion. They believe that it's not their place and fear to speak out for a group which they do not belong to. But I would like all men to know that not being part of the discriminated minority makes it even more important, that we speak up about this topic. Vocal male allies are met with nothing but respect from women and men and there is really nothing to lose, but so much to gain.  

What were some of the club’s initiatives to help promote gender diversity?

IWIB was a very active club and its leadership hosted a series of events and workshops aimed towards increasing the awareness of the gender gap and sharing practical how-to's to create an inclusive environment at INSEAD, but more importantly for all of us to make an impact as professional leaders. I was personally impressed by the INSEAD Gender Respect Toolkit that was led by Jenn Lipes and Kristin Binder that will help also future generations of INSEADers to navigate through conflicts, become allies and bring positive change.

What advice will you give to potential students looking to do an INSEAD MBA?

This will sound generic, but be true to yourself and explore your passions, while listening and appreciating other people's completely different cultural and professional experiences and viewpoints.

INSEAD is a place that rewards the authenticity and diversity that people bring and you will get so much more in return. 

Lastly, if there is one thing in the world that you could change, what will it be?

This is such a big question! I think it's important for everyone to focus on their own well-being and spend time to reflect (e.g. on their own through reading, journaling and with help through intimate discussion groups, therapy and coaching) how to grow authentically and happily. With that we would have more capacity to inspire and help others and drive positive change in our environment.