The more I spoke with alumni and current students, the more convinced I became that INSEAD was the ideal place for me to learn, develop my leadership skills, and be challenged and inspired by people from all over the world.
Could you share something unexpected about you?
I am working on developing a stand-up comedy routine for an open mic night. I am not naturally funny and so I’m challenging myself to try and connect with a broad audience by making people laugh about every-day relatable absurdities.
Tell us about yourself, and how you go to where you are today both on a professional and personal level?
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, lived for some time in my early 20s in France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa. At age 22 I expected to become a U.S. diplomat and when that did not work out as planned, I ended up having a seven-year career becoming a professional fundraiser in Colorado.
I used to think that I was organised and hardworking enough to control my future. Instead, over the past decade I’ve learned that control is a myth and if you try and control your world, you’ll end up miserable. Instead, I’ve learned to be resilient and curious when things don’t go according to plan, and to find meaning in the beauty and awe in small moments and in nature.
Through life’s highs and lows sports and competing in cycling, running, and ski mountaineering have been a joy and passion that has kept me grounded and centered. I now plan to meld my passion for mountain sports with my professional life by working in the outdoors industry in Europe.
What motivated you to choose the INSEAD MBA, and how do you envision it aligning with your future goals, even at this early stage?
I never planned on attending business school, but as I was exploring ways to pivot my career to a different industry outside of the U.S. a friend suggested I investigate attending INSEAD.
The more I spoke with alumni and current students, the more convinced I became that INSEAD was the ideal place for me to learn, develop my leadership skills, and be challenged and inspired by people from all over the world. In fact, when I told my organisation I was leaving to come to INSEAD they offered me a promotion to an Executive Director role if I stayed for another year. I was honoured to be given the opportunity; however, I chose to attend business school so I am prepared in the long run to be the best leader that I can possibly be.
What were your impressions of campus life so far and how did you navigate accommodation, and sorting out all the admin? Any tips for incoming students?
I highly recommend taking advantage of the intensive language programme (ILP) before starting your core courses (check out Varun Sharma’s blog post on Why You Should Opt for the INSEAD Intensive Language Programme for more on this).
Arriving early for the language programme allows you to settle in, explore Fontainebleau, and make friends before diving into the intense pace of core courses.
I recommend living in a group house so that you can meet others outside of your cohort and have people to eat dinner with on a whim. Try and book your housing four to five months before moving to Fontainebleau. Also, try and finish all your language classes and do as many exemption exams as possible.
Could you share a little about your application process, securing financing, and making your way to Singapore/Fontainebleau?
I am very lucky that INSEAD was the only business school I applied to and that I was accepted!
Originally, when I applied my test scores were not high enough, but the admissions office gave me the opportunity to test again without having to submit a new application. After boosting my GRE score, I was accepted in the second round for the '24J class.
The earlier you apply, the better, so you can sort out housing and apply for scholarships. Thanks to the kindness of the Forté Foundation, who encourages more women to pursue MBAs, I was awarded a Forté Scholarship. I arrived in Fontainebleau in July to do the language programme and business foundations before starting classes in mid-August.
In your first few weeks, what aspects of the INSEAD MBA have stood out to you as unique or particularly appealing?
One of the most surprising and wonderful parts of INSEAD is how kind and humble everyone is. Everyone at INSEAD has an interesting story and it’s amazing to sit in class and see how many different nationalities are represented on people’s name placards. I am impressed by how many of my classmates have founded businesses, obtained PhDs, and committed themselves to having a positive impact in the world.
Aside from your academic pursuits, what extracurricular interests or activities are you exploring at INSEAD, and how do you see them enhancing your overall MBA experience?
I participated in the Startup Bootcamp, which was an intensive weekend long immersion into the startup world. The experience acquainted me with the vernacular of the startup world, as well as exploring a business idea of developing a new type of bicycle helmet that European urban commuters would be eager to wear.
In addition to attending the startup bootcamp, I would recommend joining the rugby club, which is welcoming to beginners (I’d never played before) but the rugby club is pure fun and a great way to meet students in other classes!
Any parting words of wisdom, and are you willing to be contacted for more information by prospective students?
Coming to INSEAD is the best decision I have made and there’s nowhere else I can imagine being right now. If you are interested in hearing more, I would be happy to speak with prospective students.