Prepare to make lasting connections with your cohort of over 200 peers across four campuses, and be ready to dive into completely new areas of learning that you are not familiar with at all. This journey won't be easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding.
Robel Yemane

Robel Yemane

Nationality/Passport: Eritrean, British Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Staff Technical Programme Manager at Deliveroo

Fun fact about yourself?

I used to have a strong aversion to Italian food. The stereotypical dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese just didn't appeal to my taste buds. I would choose to dine at any other restaurant than an Italian one.

But then, fate intervened, and I found myself as the owner of an Italian restaurant. To be honest, I was sceptical at first, but little did I know that this experience would change my perspective on Italian cuisine forever.

As I began to explore the rich cultural history of Italian food and its diverse flavours, I was amazed by what I discovered. The unique combinations of herbs, sauces, and cheeses were unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I was surprised to find myself experimenting with different dishes and ingredients, and I quickly fell in love with Italian cuisine.

But what really changed my opinion was discovering the passion, history, and culture behind every dish. I came to realise that I had been going to commercialised High-Street Italian restaurants all along, and had never experienced authentic Italian food prepared by homegrown chefs.

Thanks to Angelo, Adryan, and Cristian, I was finally able to savour the true essence of Italian cuisine. They were able to elevate this quaint Italian boutique restaurant to the second-best Italian spot in London.

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

As a technology professional with a desire to gain a comprehensive understanding of all functional areas of business, pursuing an EMBA seemed like the logical next step in my career.

I had always been interested in pursuing an MBA, but it wasn't until I reached a senior position that I realised the limitations of my understanding of certain business functions, particularly finance and marketing. I knew I needed to address this knowledge gap, and that's when I began my search for the perfect EMBA programme.

After much research, I was drawn to the global learning experience offered by INSEAD. I was particularly impressed by the opportunity to visit various campuses across regions, including Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, and Singapore. This was a perfect fit for me since I was keen on exploring other regions beyond Europe and wanted to return to running my own business one day.

But what really set INSEAD apart was its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. When I visited the campus in Fontainebleau, I immediately felt like I belonged.

Unlike other business school campuses I had visited in Europe, INSEAD created an environment that was welcoming to people of all races, genders, and specialities. I knew that this diverse community would help me thrive and allow me to be my true self.

Another aspect of INSEAD that stood out to me was its lifelong learning experience.

As an EMBA graduate, I would have the opportunity to continue upskilling myself by enrolling in electives for a fraction of the cost. This was important to me because I believe that learning should never stop, and I wanted to be part of a community that shared that philosophy.

Overall, pursuing an EMBA at INSEAD was the perfect choice for me. Not only did I gain the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the field of business, but I also became part of a global network that I can tap into for opportunities and collaborations. I'm excited to see where this journey takes me, and I'm grateful for the experience that INSEAD has provided me.

Could you describe your experience so far? The classes, the curriculum, your fellow participants, the professors?

My experience in the Global Executive MBA programme has been absolutely incredible. The professors have been phenomenal - they're world-renowned and their passion for their respective fields is contagious. Thanks to their teaching, I found myself enjoying subjects I never thought I would, such as marketing and finance.

But what really sets this programme apart is the diversity of the participants.

I've had the privilege of meeting people from different countries, professions, and backgrounds, and it's been an eye-opening experience. Everyone in the programme is driven to succeed, and there's a real sense of camaraderie and support among the participants.

We've worked on group projects and case studies, which has given us the opportunity to learn from each other and gain new perspectives based on their real life experiences.

The curriculum is well-structured, and I appreciate how it's designed to help us develop our skills and knowledge in a systematic way. For example, in our Uncertainty, Data, and Judgment class, we learned about the importance of diverse teams and how they can be more effective.

Then in our Leading People & Organisations class, we learned how to actually succeed in a diverse team.

Has the EMBA helped you in your career so far?  

The GEMBA programme has been a game-changer for my career. It has equipped me with valuable skills and frameworks that have not only helped me in my current role, but have also allowed me to assist others in their endeavours.

For example, I've used what I learned in strategy and finance to help a friend with market and business analysis to expand his company globally. I've also used the value proposition canvas to help another friend scale his business. In my current role, I'm utilising Monte Carlo simulation to model and visualise forecasted business spend.

Aside from the academic benefits of the programme, I expressed my interest in transitioning to a new career path and region to my career coach. He went above and beyond by introducing me to INSEAD's region expert, who has direct connections with employers in the area.

In addition, the coach connected me with another expert in my specific field of interest. Thanks to their guidance, I now have access to a vast array of resources and alumni connections that will help me achieve my career goals.

One of the great things about the programme is that I can continue to return every year to take part in Electives and Key Management Challenges to stay relevant and ensure that I'm taking the electives that are most relevant to my career.

Overall, the educational content, camaraderie among classmates, and commitment to learning have been exceptional, and I'm confident that this programme will continue to help me advance my career in the future.

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

The Leadership Development Programme was one of the highlights of my GEMBA experience. It involved getting together with three other GEMBA candidates, along with a leadership coach who coached us on how to become coaches for each other. This created a lifelong bond with the group, as we shared our experiences, fears, and weaknesses with each other in a supportive environment.

Through the programme, I was able to gain a much deeper understanding of myself and my leadership style. By sharing my experiences, fears, and weaknesses with the group, I was able to identify areas where I could improve and work on becoming a better leader.

Hearing the stories and perspectives of my peers was also incredibly eye-opening, and helped me develop a more nuanced understanding of leadership and its various challenges.

Perhaps most importantly, the programme gave me a set of tools and frameworks for coaching others effectively. These skills have been invaluable in both my personal and professional life, allowing me to support and guide others towards their goals and aspirations.

What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in pursuing an INSEAD Masters programme?

My advice is to embrace new opportunities and learning experiences with an open mind. Prepare to make lasting connections with your cohort of over 200 peers across four campuses, and be ready to dive into completely new areas of learning that you are not familiar with at all. This journey won't be easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding. Make sure you have the support of your friends and family and be ready to push yourself to achieve great things.

When you have a strong desire to learn and explore, it's easy to fall into rabbit holes of endless domains. However, it's important to use your time wisely and focus on what's most important in order to achieve your