Our class was going through the programme just as the global financial crisis was unfolding.
What is the biggest benefit of doing the INSEAD EMBA?
It’s not just about getting a “better job”. It’s about getting a more rounded view of business. Whatever your background, it will have given you a narrow view based only on your own experiences.
In my case I had a Euro-centric, IT-industry perspective. The EMBA gave me a holistic picture thanks not only to the professors but also to the perspectives of 75 classmates from 40 nationalities and many different industries. And of course, that gave me the confidence to approach any challenge including getting a job with more responsibility.
Looking back, how did the INSEAD EMBA change your career?
Since doing the programme, I’ve changed roles twice within Oracle. At the time I was running one of our businesses in EMEA out of Spain. After the EMBA, I moved to manage a ten times bigger business across the same region. And after another two years I took my current job, which is global and twenty times bigger. I’m sure these promotions are partly thanks to the programme.
The EMBA enabled me to have more educated conversations at every level of the organisation.
Do you have any particularly strong EMBA memories?
Our class was going through the programme just as the global financial crisis was unfolding. Now we have the benefit of hindsight to understand it. But then, we just had great professors to help us grasp what was happening!
Are there any professors you’d like to single out?
There were so many. Kevin Kaiser on value creation, Filipe Santos on entrepreneurship, Horacio Falcão on negotiation. And Pascal Maenhout is an extraordinary professor of finance. He took us from zero to a very high level in just two weeks.
Are you still in touch with your classmates?
Our class is still very much in contact. Every year there’s a wedding or a birthday party to go to somewhere in the world. And there are always emails going around: “I’m going to be in Paris/Singapore/San Francisco/etc next week, does anyone want dinner?”
Do you recommend the programme to potential applicants?
Of course, I recommend the programme without hesitation, but I always remind them that it’s an intense experience and that their family has to be aligned with the decision. I remember how demanding the EMBA was with a small child at home.
What recommendations do you have for INSEAD about the next decade of EMBA?
The pace of change in business and technology is so rapid. INSEAD will need to adapt its delivery methods to bring in more remote learning – both during and after the programme. Similarly, the programme needs to teach students how to cope with rapid change in any industry: how to adapt an organisation, how to adopt new business models is becoming a critical skill set in today’s business world.
In other words, it’s not about predicting what’s going to happen but about knowing how to learn in order to adapt to any change. After all, that’s what the programme gave me!