INSEAD does a particularly good job at selecting the best in every industry from every corner of the world, and bringing them together.
What made you decide to do an EMBA in Europe?
I wanted this experience to be as international as possible and also, to obtain a world-class education that would be competitive anywhere in the world. Europe has historically been (and in my view will continue to be) at the heart of the global discussion regarding multilateralism, business, finance and the future of the global economy.
Europe, by its own cultural heritage and geographic configuration, is naturally prone to look to the outside: no country in Europe is large enough to think about itself independently, it is clear that significant development to individual nations can only become a reality from teaming up with its neighbours.
Europe is one of the greatest experiments that humankind has accomplished; not only has it resulted in the creation of one of the richest and best-educated populations in the world but it has also established peace for an extended period of time in a region that has originated some of the most relevant global conflicts in history.
What are your main reasons for choosing the INSEAD EMBA?
I recall with some clarity how, since I was about 20 years old, I often looked at the rankings of business education. For decades, INSEAD has been a consistent presence as one of the leading business schools of the world.
I did not personally know anyone from INSEAD but when questioning people about business schools for my future, I obtained a consistent answer from some of the most successful professionals whom I have met during my career: all of them expressed profound respect for INSEAD as an institution of excellence.
From a more personal standpoint, INSEAD was the only alternative I actually considered to continue my studies. Some of the factors that influenced my decision most were INSEAD’s focus on diversity (it is a truly global business school), leadership (the Leadership Development Programme is one of the best features of the EMBA), and educational excellence (knowledge is promoted with rigour and respect).
What are your thoughts on the curriculum, faculty and class experience?
The curriculum is aligned with what is expected from any global leading business school. It comprises every major field of expertise one would desire to study to become an accomplished business professional. In addition to that, INSEAD puts great emphasis on its Leadership Development Programme (LDP), one of the things that set INSEAD apart, and this track of development clearly enhances the experience and takes it to the next level both in the personal and professional domains.
Faculty is top notch. Noticeably, INSEAD spoils the GEMBAs and send us their best. We are seated in a class with world-renowned professors and some of the leading minds of this time. Once you are seated there, you realise what it takes to become INSEAD faculty and the emphasis that is paid to educational excellence. The faculty is significantly engaged in the programme, they are aware of what is being taught by colleagues and can establish clear connections between the different disciplines.
As a participant, I can also say that for the faculty this is a great experience too, and we notice that they are looking forward to spending time with us: they sleep as little as we do, invest every available time to further discuss materials, provide feedback, and surprisingly are able to monitor progress on an individual basis.
The class is the best of the experience. The first day was a humbling moment when every member of the GEMBA class introduced themselves to the rest of the group, and you suddenly became aware of how small you are in this pool of talent. Then, it only gets better when you realise that these people, who are quickly becoming your best friends for life, are an inspiring force to bring out the best version of yourself. INSEAD does a particularly good job at selecting the best in every industry from every corner of the world, and bringing them together.
Do tell us more about your Leadership Development Programme (LDP) experience.
The LDP is clearly a differentiator of the INSEAD experience. This path is a transformational one and I would venture to say that I suspect its effects are long-lasting. During these sessions, we actually step back from our professional, academic, and family lives and take time to reflect on who we are. This, as simple as it may sound, is a powerful experience.
For those who have been through it, you may agree that it is difficult to actually describe it in words. For those tempted to venture on this track, I can comfortably say you would not regret the time invested on this, and you would certainly get to know yourself better and have a better relationship and improved understanding of the “whys” embedded in your life.
You are participating in the Europe section, but are based in Mexico. With all the long-distance flights for all your modules, how do you keep your life-work-study balance? What are the challenges you faced?
You will want to have very open communication with your family, your employer, and all the stakeholders in your life. INSEAD is clearly a dynamic experience and on campus you will want to have every moment available to be with your class.
Be ready. Long commutes, time zone differences, cultural nuances, all of those are an important part of the development experience. INSEAD is ready to challenge the most established professional and take him/her out of their comfort zone. INSEAD is a mirror of the actual global and dynamic business environment, and it provides the playground required to improve on what you think you do well, and to grow in all aspects in which you still want to develop.
What advice will you give to potential applicants looking to do an INSEAD EMBA?
I have been an investment banker during most of my career. The industry is well-known for its long hours and fast pace. INSEAD is a game for pros: to actually benefit from the great things that the experience brings to the table you want to be prepared before arriving on campus.
Enough time has to be invested in preparing all the readings and to cover all the materials proposed by faculty – believe me, you are going to need it. Preparation time is not a weekend before going to class. You will want enough time to go through all materials; preparation is paramount to profit from this experience.
Once you are on campus, you want to be available for the magic that will happen before your eyes. You do not want to miss that because you did not prepare well enough beforehand.