Having such a wide range of experiences and such mature classmates really makes a huge difference.
Why did you undertake the INSEAD Executive Master in Finance?
I had a great job in a great team and didn’t want to abandon it for full-time study. Weekend programmes were also unsuitable for me as I work in a field that’s project-based. The fact that the programme takes place far away from home was an advantage as it allowed me to better focus on it. Moreover, although there were four months between the first two modules, it didn’t feel that long. My classmates and I were often in touch between modules on the course’s tailor-made platform and through email.
Describe the learning experience
Before I started the EMFin, I wondered how I’d stay awake for an entire day of classes, but I found it an absolute pleasure to attend them. Having such a wide range of professional experiences in the classroom and such mature classmates from all over the world, really makes a huge difference. We were constantly sharing our experiences, which made for far more interesting learning. The faculty was also extremely good at facilitating this process.
Did you have any time to relax during the modules?
The modules were very intense – with exams at the end – but we did get a little time for relaxing and building a network over weekends. My fellow classmates know me as the German who proved to them that we can dance! It was also great to be studying in Singapore, which is as international and fast-changing as finance itself. I’m not the biggest Formula 1 fan, but the Singapore Grand Prix, a night race through the city streets, was the social highlight.
What was the academic highlight?
At the start, I wasn’t the biggest accounting fan, but the accounting professor in module two was so entertaining that by the end, I was considering the advanced accounting elective, just so that I could be taught by him again. Honestly, though, all the professors were so good that I enjoyed every course.
Would you recommend the programme to others?
Absolutely – and I have. When I tell anyone in Europe that I have a degree from INSEAD, they’re impressed. With hindsight, I’d do it all over again!
How did the final stages of the programme differ from the early stages?
The last module was a bit different – more focus on soft skills, leadership, communication and process management. I also enjoyed writing the final paper. Through the process, we were supported by the professors and pushed to discover new things.
Has the programme changed your views at all?
A couple of the guest lecturers opened my eyes to the opportunities in smaller firms. One had even set up an investment firm, specialising in agricultural land. It was very inspiring. I’m very happy in banking now, but the programme has definitely broadened my outlook for the future.
What advice do you have for future students?
You need to have the support of your employer – not necessarily financial, but they do need to be flexible about the time and the timing.