INSEAD gives me a European and worldwide network, which is what I need to grow my chain of up-market hostels.
Lee Gonzalez

Lee Gonzalez

Lee Gonzalez
Nationality/Passport: American Year of graduation: 2012 Current Role: Principal, L&L Hospitality

Why did you decide to do your MBA at INSEAD?

I wanted to do an MBA from the time I first started studying business as an undergraduate. I knew there were lessons in strategy and finance that would be much more valuable once I’d gained some experience. And I chose INSEAD mainly for the international exposure. I grew up in the US, so I have a broad network there. INSEAD gives me a European and worldwide network, which is what I need to grow my chain of up-market hostels.

How would you describe the classroom experience?

When I arrived at INSEAD, I was impressed by the extremely high quality of teaching. As an undergraduate at a leading US business school, I always had professors who were at the top of their field, but the classroom experience was sometimes disappointing. INSEAD makes it a point to attract and retain professors who are not only experts but more importantly, brilliant teachers. They do an amazing job at orchestrating diversity to generate learning.

What were your favourite classes and how will you make use of them?

Having already studied business, I entered the programme fully aware of which areas were my weak points. I came to INSEAD dreading accounting but to my amazement, the professors were so great that it was one of my favourite subjects. I chose to revisit the business curriculum, figuring there would be more relevant application given my entrepreneurial experience. I was pleasantly surprised by how much more enriching the classroom experience is with more mature and international colleagues. I very much look forward to returning to my business to apply the lessons I’ve learned in and out of the classroom.

What about the campus experience?

Everyone uses the word “intense”. At first, naively, I thought they were just talking about the curriculum. But “intense” also sums up campus life. Fontainebleau is a small town you share houses, have group dinners and do everything with your classmates. Singapore seems to be the opposite: a bustling city in South-East Asia, but it’s the same experience transposed to travelling at weekends with your classmates.

What is the benefit of the campus exchange?

I went to Singapore just to experience Asia, but it opened up my world. It’s meeting people that helps you see new opportunities. Now I really do feel that the world is my oyster.

So what next for you and your business?

I plan to return to Barcelona and apply my knowledge. While everyone else is looking for jobs, I’ll be looking for my next market. It’s certainly going to be a lot easier with the contacts that I now have. Even if my friends haven’t lived wherever the new market turns out to be, they’re bound to know people who have. In other words, the INSEAD network is truly empowering.