The Career Development Centre can help you navigate and steer through an ocean full of opportunities. But, always remember that you are the captain of your ship.
Riyas Vengasseri

Riyas Vengasseri

Nationality/Passport: Indian Year of graduation: 2021 Current Role: Senior Vice President AlixPartners Dubai

Tell us about yourself, and how you go to where you are today both on a professional and personal level?     

I was born and brought up in India in a poor family earning less than 10$/day. Both my parents were school drop outs. I left for the UAE after I graduated as an Electrical Engineer. 

What made you decide you wanted to pursue the INSEAD GEMBA, and why INSEAD in particular?     

Two aspects:

One, I was not really happy with my career trajectory and I wanted to switch into a completely new industry and two, I wanted to learn more about leadership, strategy and corporate finance to help me become an all-round senior executive.

I felt INSEAD was better placed to help my career transitioning into consulting because of the strong alumni network. I was also impressed with the curriculum - the fine mixture of core and elective courses, Leadership Development Programme (LDP) and Key Management Challenges were perfect to support my learning objectives as well.

What expectations did you have before you started the GEMBA?    

I had three specific targets in my mind. One, gain significant knowledge on areas I had little awareness of. Two, network and build strong life-lasting relationships with strong and successful individuals. Three, transition into consulting. 

Could you tell us about your experience with the Career Development Centre (CDC)?  

It was a great experience. I have been able to leverage several tools and advisory services - CV writing tool, CV coach, career coach, online job portal are few worth mentioning - to prepare me very well for the job search.

I am still in touch with my career coach, who relentlessly provides me with incredible advice and connected me with relevant contacts. 

One key aspect to understand is that "the candidate" is on the driving seat. We should have a clear plan how to leverage these resources and the options provided by CDC to our benefit.

Has the INSEAD GEMBA helped you in your career?     

100%. The best decision of my life. I wouldn’t have been where I am today had I not completed the programme.

The GEMBA helped me in three ways:

1) provided access to an exclusive, yet very supportive, network

2) improved my self-esteem and belief to make me a better executive through a series of LDP sessions and coaching workshops

3) enriched my knowledge on areas which I had little exposure to previously

Has the experience helped you remain relevant even after graduation?     

Definitely. What I learnt and experienced at INSEAD will stay with me for life.

Two aspects that particularly help me to stay relevant are:

1) The alumni network - this is special and key for any further growth. The benefit of it will only grow over time. The group of MIMs, MBAs, GEMBAs and TIEMBAs (not mentioning MAP and other executive education programmes) is unique and exclusive.

Connecting with, building relationships with and learning from them always keep me to stay relevant and up to date.

2) My peers - smart and bright individuals craving for success and healthily pushing each other. 

What advice will you give to prospects who are still considering whether an INSEAD GEMBA should be part of their career plan?    

1) Be very clear about your goals. I have seen candidates with a clear vision who accomplish their objectives quickly. It’s okay to have a strategy to explore further when you progress, but you need to do that within the first three months.

2) The CDC can help you navigate and steer through an ocean full of opportunities. But, always remember that you are the captain of your ship. Success depends on how well you use the information and opportunities. Expecting them to do the work for you wont help anyone.

3) Network network network!