The professors are leading academic practitioners who are charismatic and impart nuanced knowledge with practical real-world and professional applications.
Kareem Al Ghussein

Kareem Al Ghussein

Kareem Al Ghussein
Nationality/Passport: Canadian Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Director, Corporate, Commercial & Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional and personal background?

I have been happily married for 10 years and am a proud father of three boys. I have lived between Ottawa and Abu Dhabi. I am Canadian of Palestinian heritage and I have friends from all over the world.

In my spare time I enjoy reading science fiction (the Culture and Foundation series are favourites), playing bad rounds golf with friends, I am an aspiring BBQ pit-master, and it is my aspiration to run a marathon (hopefully after GEMBA!). I am motivated to improving myself and those who are close to me. 

I am proud of the work which I have done with and through Standard Chartered, an international emerging markets ‘Here for Good’ bank. For the last 15 years I have been helping our corporate and institutional clients achieve their aspirations to the benefit of their customers, communities that they serve and shareholders.

What led you to decide to pursue an EMBA, and why did you choose INSEAD in particular?

I have a nuanced view of the world which I have found to be compatible with INSEAD’s founding values.

The proximity to a world-class programme, a global curriculum, with a network spanning Europe, Middle East and Asia is a privilege. The GEMBA and MBA programmes at INSEAD rank highly and the wide network of professional alumni is powerful.   
How would you describe your experience so far? The classes, the curriculum, your fellow participants, the professors?

The programme has exceeded my expectations.

The professors are leading academic practitioners who are charismatic and impart nuanced knowledge with practical real-world and professional applications.

My favourite aspect about the GEMBA programme however is being able to build strong relationships with leading professionals from diverse backgrounds and industries which I would otherwise have been unable to interact with personally or during my professional career.
Please share some examples of new insights / tools that you have gained through the GEMBA and how you’ve been able to implement them in your professional life?

I have learned a lot from courses such as Strategy, Marketing, Corporate Finance, Pricing and Markets, Business & Society. 

Professor Pushan Dutt of the Price & Markets module reignited my love for game theory and price discrimination concepts which I trained for in my undergrad degree. 

As a banking professional examining and serving corporate clients from a ‘Creditor / lender’ lens, I have found the Equity / Investors’ tools imparted by Professor Pascal Maenhout to be extremely useful as they add another dimension to my understanding of client’s needs and motivations.

The hands-on experience and simulations which we played during Professor Hilke Plassmann's and Professor Guoli Chen’s Marketing and Strategy modules (respectively) added a layer of understanding of the organic drivers of companies to expand their client base, market share, sales and profits in a competitive market.

The strategy simulation on a real-world emerging start-up trying to improve diabetes patients’ lifestyle and health was excellent.

Finally, the social and moral perspective gained in Professor Mark Stabile’s Business & Society module discussing the impact of markets and governments on communities and individuals was impactful. The course resonated with me having recently read Rajan Raghuram’s book The Third Pillar which examines the neglected role of communities in society and the economy, and the importance to shift and empower communities to provide balance.

Could you tell us more about your experience with the Leadership Development Programme (LDP)?

The coaching provided through the LDP has encouraged me to explore and examine my personal drivers and blockers with a close-knit but diverse group of peers lead by an empathetic and experienced coach.

Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who might be interested in pursuing the INSEAD Global Executive MBA programme?

Enjoy every moment of the programme! Embrace its intensity, the diversity of your peers, and take moments to take it all in and be grateful. Share your thoughts and experiences.

It is more rewarding to be wrong than to be right during group work.

Finally, pass on support and thankfulness to your cohort coordinators and class reps (for ME GEMBA ’24 those were Mashael, Wessam and Shaikha). They work hard to keep the programme running seamlessly and aligning high aspirations and ambitious peers (in short, hard work!).