I have come to appreciate that leadership is a skill that you must develop and not something you are born with.
Paresh Bhanderi

Paresh Bhanderi

Paresh Bhanderi
Nationality/Passport: Kenyan, British Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Head of Financial Planning and Analysis for Antofagasta plc

Fun fact about yourself?

I have lived and worked in four continents and I speak five languages

What led you to decide to pursue an EMBA, and why did you choose INSEAD in particular? 

I have worked for 15 years with increasing levels of responsibility in the mining industry and more specifically in the finance area. Most of my growth has come from learning on the job, however I wanted to go back to a formal learning environment so that I could develop new skills that I could incorporate and also learn from professionals in other industries.

I also wanted to enhance my leadership skill and style, and the INSEAD Leadership Development Programme (LDP) was the perfect fit for what I was looking for.

As for INSEAD itself - for me it was a no-brainer! 

I wanted to go to the top business schools in the world, I wanted a school which had world-class faculty and a global alumni base. I wanted to go to a school that had a multi-campus experience. I wanted to go to a school that emphasised diversity and not just as a marketing slogan, but actually lived it!

INSEAD ticked all those boxes, and now that I am part of the programme, I can see first-hand that INSEAD ticks those boxes by a country mile!
Could you describe your experience so far? The classes, the curriculum, your fellow participants, the professors?

The experience so far can be summed in one word, intense!  

There is so much to do and to be part of that you are afraid you are going to miss out on something. The professors are amazing, leaders in their respective fields and often you cannot find anyone on the planet in a better position to teach you about certain subject. They are truly experts and have been studying and researching this field for most of their adult lives, so for someone new to the field, in my opinion, there is no one better to learn from! 

My cohort is also incredible, I am in awe of each and every one of my classmates.

They are amazing! They are successful, driven people who have diverse experiences, who have different nationalities, who speak a variety of languages, work in different parts of the world and we all come together every two months with the common goal of learning, sharing and helping each other grow. There is nothing better than that!

How has the Executive MBA helped you in your career so far?  

The programme has made me look at myself more critically and challenge my thinking. I have become more inquisitive about myself and the work that I do.

My classmates have shown new ways of doing things and questioned why I did certain things in a certain way. Some of these questions may not have answers, but as I learn and grow I think it's important to ask them and develop my curiosity to find the answers.

Could you tell us more about the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) experience?

While I am still in the early days of the programme, there is little for me to say about the programme rather than this is one of the reasons I am at INSEAD. I have come to appreciate that leadership is a skill that you must develop and not something you are born with.

As such, you need to work at it, you need to practice it in order to improve and you will make some mistakes along the way. The LDP at INSEAD combines in-class learning, peer learning, coaching, seminars, reflection exercises, outdoor activities and much much more. This gives you the skills you need to be an effective leader, the space you need to practice those skills with your peers, and also a safe environment for you to fail. And in failing you will perhaps learn the most about yourself and what you need to do to improve.

What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in pursuing the INSEAD Global Executive MBA programme?

I would say be clear with what you want to get out of the programme.

This is an intense experience which will involve a lot of sacrifice, a lot of commitment and a lot of hours on your own or with your team studying.  

You have to be prepared for that and be clear what you want out of from the programme because that will make all the sacrifice and hard work worth it! If nothing else it will serve as helpful reminder when it's midnight on a Saturday and you find yourself sitting in the library studying for an exam you have to take in the morning!

I would also say be open to change. At INSEAD you will find such an an an amazing mix of people, professors and you have such rich and challenging experiences that you will almost certainly change as a result of it all, so embrace that change and enjoy it.