Just do it! It is a great experience, as you can re-invent yourself, take the time to reflect on what you really want to do and what excites you in life and above all, make friends for life.
Kathrin Artaker

Kathrin Artaker

Kathrin Artaker
Nationality/Passport: Austrian Year of graduation: 2017 Current Role: Country Head, India, Nepal & Sri Lanka, Agoda

Why did you decide to do an MBA and why did you choose the INSEAD MBA?

I had worked in the same industry and function for 11 years and I was in need of a change. I heard about INSEAD from some of my friends and after doing extensive research, I decided it was the best school for my career objectives as it has an excellent reputation for enabling students to switch careers.

Additionally, the duration of the programme was extremely appealing to me as I felt that the opportunity cost of a two-year programme would have been very high.

How did you decide to do an MBA programme, considering you have two children with you?

Prior to INSEAD, I already lived in Singapore with my family. My partner works here in Singapore. Having a full-running household made the decision to attend the intensive INSEAD programme relatively easy. I must admit that without this established setup, and a supportive husband, attending INSEAD would have been difficult, especially with two young children.

What were some of the challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?

A key challenge was to have enough time for my family and for INSEAD. The school takes up 12+ hours a day, seven days a week, not to mention the additional time you spend socialising - a key activity as it enables you to build friendships and connections. To stay engaged with the family and make the most of school, I was very focused, especially in class, and didn’t waste any time, especially when at school.

Other ways I managed my time effectively included scheduling group meetings during the day, or inviting my group over to my house for dinner to allow me to spend more time with the family when work was done.

Can you describe a day at INSEAD?

One of the interesting things at INSEAD is that you don’t have a typical day or week. When you get your schedule, you will see that every day is different. It is really time optimisation at its best. Overall you will have two to four classes every day and the time in between and after will be spent in group meetings to work on your various projects.

At night or on the weekends you will have time to do your pre-readings, individual assignments or study for your exams. But INSEAD isn’t boring and only for academic geeks. The motto “work hard – play hard” is integral to INSEAD, because even after a full day of studies, people will go out party and have fun together to release the stress and bond with each other.

How did you manage family life and your studies?

I am planning to remain in Europe and join an international consulting firm, and building on my previous experience as a consultant and expanding the scope of my influence. The business landscape is changing dramatically in so many sectors, and it’s an exciting time to get involved and help reshape the way companies work.

I believe that the best consulting firms will be the ones who excel at developing innovative solutions to meet dynamic and evolving client demands, and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge.

Any advice to potential prospects who are considering the INSEAD MBA?

My family is extremely supportive and have stepped up to handle things since I am not around that much. This had made it easier to manage commitments from both ends. Also given that I have relatively clear goals within the programme, I don’t have the same extent of FOMO – the fear of missing out - that others might have, hence I am very efficient with my time, which also enables managing my family and studies easier. 

What do you think business schools can do to attract more female participants?

Many women don’t see the need for an MBA as they don’t think it will give them a very positive ROI in the future. I think business schools can make a greater effort to show that an MBA from a school like INSEAD can boost women’s careers tremendously, whilst simultaneously working with the business world to show that having more qualified women in the workforce in senior positions, truly does benefit companies

What is the biggest takeaway you have gotten at INSEAD so far?

You should be more strategic about one’s career. You should consider where you want to go and how to get there. I know this seems very logical, but most people have a general idea of where they see themselves in 20-30 years, but have no concrete plan on how to get there. So sit down, reflect and really think about what skills and positions you need to have in order to reach that final career goal. Lastly, learning is a lifelong endeavour that doesn’t end with INSEAD.

What advice would you give women who are considering an MBA?

Just do it! It is a great experience, as you can re-invent yourself, take the time to reflect on what you really want to do and what excites you in life and above all, make friends for life. I would recommend that women should be more strategic about when to go to business school by taking into consideration at what stage of their professional and personal journey the MBA would work best for them.