They say an MBA can help you change either function, industry or location; in my case, it was all three!
Do share with us your educational and professional background prior to joining INSEAD.
I have a diverse educational background including a degree in Architecture, a Masters in Engineering Management, and various law and dispute resolution training. Before coming to INSEAD, I was working in the Claims and Contracts Management of real estate projects, based out of Beirut and covering the MENA region. I have also set up an online startup called “Fix My Résumé” that offers targeted résumé writing and upgrade services in the Middle East.
Why did you choose INSEAD?
I believe that in this highly competitive and evolving world, an MBA has become essential for driving change in the right direction.
With my technical background, I felt I needed an MBA to make a shift to management and make the change I wanted.
INSEAD was the only business school I applied to because it was the only one that fit all my criteria: a top 1-year programme that offered exceptional academics, exposure to diversity, access to a powerful network, and travel experiences of a lifetime.
Did INSEAD meet your expectations?
INSEAD has exceeded my expectations. I had heard about the incredible diversity of the cohort, the benefits of having more than one campus, the power of the networks and the richness of the academic programme, but actually experiencing INSEAD was nothing close to hearing about it. I still remember what an INSEAD alumni told me when I first got admitted: “it is an experience that I can’t explain in words, you will have to live it to understand…”, and now I do.
How was your class experience like?
Classes are very well thought through, and professors put huge efforts into making their sessions stimulating for students. I was impressed by how up-to-date the articles and cases professors used were.
And most importantly I was impressed by the insightful views shared by my colleagues during class discussions.
What was your favourite module?
My favourite module was the statistics class in P1. I would have never chosen statistics had it been an elective, and I’m so glad that it was a core course that I was forced to take. The subject was taught in a very innovative way, proving theories with class exercises and simulations. You can be surprised how a conceptually boring subject can be re-shuffled to become the most interesting course I’ve had so far. I was also impressed by “Your First Hundred Days” which thankfully became a core course for the future classes. It is the most practical course it can ever get, replicating everything that might go wrong in the life of a company.
How has the MBA helped you in your career?
They say an MBA can help you change either function, industry or location; in my case, it was all three! Apart from providing me with the necessary business acumen to move to a managerial role, INSEAD has labelled me with a very powerful brand that gives me more credibility in negotiations. Besides, I found my post-MBA job thanks to an INSEAD colleague!
How has the Career Development Centre helped you?
At the beginning of my MBA year, the CDC guided me to discover myself through a series of tests and exercises, which narrowed down my job search to a handful of industries and functions. My career coach gave me solid support by keeping me on track of my career plan, networking efforts and job applications. What I really appreciated from the Career Development Centre is their belief in every person’s unique potential and career objectives, and hence did not push students to apply to any job opening or accept any offer.
What advice would you give potential prospects who are interested in the INSEAD MBA?
The application process is long but do not give up! Every minute you spend writing those essays or getting your recommendations is worth it. Be yourself during the interviews and enjoy them, INSEAD alumni can lead you to very interesting discussions. Also, get in touch with INSEAD alumni in your network, they are very responsive and very helpful in giving you tips and insights about what to expect.