Find your own balance between being exploratory and focused.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
My background is in electrical engineering and technology. Although I’d already made the transition to a commercial role, I wanted to formalise my business education to tackle more complex business issues.
I'd had nine years of experience in the semiconductor industry, first in Silicon Valley and then in France. So it wasn’t enough for me just to gain a plethora of new tools and frameworks.
I wanted to be exposed to people from different cultures, industries and backgrounds, whose experience would round out the tools. As a one year global programme offering an international network, INSEAD was the obvious choice for me.
Have you found the career you were looking for? If so, how did INSEAD help?
Yes, I’m moving from a mid-size semiconductor company to Amazon, a large-scale e-commerce company. I secured this job through the on-campus recruitment process and the career staff helped greatly during the interview process. INSEAD helped me to not only expand my network but also to engage with my network more effectively. In addition, there was one Career Development Centre workshop that was particularly helpful: “The One-Hour Jobsearch”.
Did you get the different cultural perspectives you were looking for too?
Absolutely. With 90 different nationalities in the class, you always find a new perspective on something you thought was obvious. INSEAD does a great job of mixing and matching people from different backgrounds in groups. I suppose I was expecting that, but the caliber of the people and the accelerated learning came as a surprise.
Could you describe the INSEAD MBA culture in one word?
And do you have one memory that particularly stands out?
I was participating in the INSEAD entrepreneurship bootcamp as a member of a multicultural and multidisciplinary team. We had to devise and pitch a business plan within 48 hours. Our business was a fashion-tech service concept. At 3.00 am on the second day, we still needed to calculate the burn rate for our financial plan and our Malaysian accountant was exhausted. Searching for inspiration, our French strategist randomly pulled out a maple-leaf-shaped lollipop that he had saved from the North American National Week and gave it to our accountant - we all laughed and suddenly our accountant regained her spirit! That memory somehow sums up INSEAD for me.
Did you join any student clubs?
Although I’d never played before, I was part of the Rugby Club and I was also a member of the Technology Media Telecoms Club. I’d recommend joining a combination of fun clubs to create bonds with classmates you wouldn’t otherwise run across – and professional clubs – for the industry connections, especially if you want to change careers.
Would you also recommend the campus exchange?
I highly recommend it. Singapore and Fontainebleau are so different. In Singapore, off-campus life is more vibrant. It gave me the chance to experience a new region where I hadn’t spent much time before. In Fontainebleau, on-campus life is more vibrant. However, the quality of teaching is exactly the same on both campuses.
Do you have any other advice for future students?
Find your own balance between being exploratory and focused. INSEAD may be your only chance to be exposed to certain opportunities. However, know when to focus on the key goals. I forged deeper relationships with people who l know will become my lifelong friends, picked the electives that would round me out, and I chose my Plan A and Plan B.