It is OK not to have an exact career destination in mind, INSEAD is a great place to explore.
Could you share something unexpected about you?
I am an avid bird watcher (and enjoy waking up early to identify new species!).
Tell us a little about yourself, your personal and professional journey so far?
I have taken a bit of a circuitous route in my career thus far. My first job was as an English teacher in Japan as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. I then worked in the outdoor industry for three years, guiding long-distance backpacking and canoe trips in Canada and the US. In the last few years, I transitioned into early-stage finance, focused mostly on healthcare in Asia.
Can you share a little about why you decided to pursue the MBA, and in particular, the INSEAD MBA?
I decided to pursue an MBA in order to improve my business acumen, build up my confidence communicating in professional settings and meet lots of interesting people. I also wanted to explore potential career paths in the sustainability space.
I was drawn to INSEAD because of its uniquely international community, the fact that it offers a top-notch MBA in only one year, as well as the higher average age of INSEAD MBA candidates compared to other schools.
What are your thoughts about the class experience, professors, the curriculum so far?
The academic experience is quite fast-paced; in just the past two months, we have already completed six full courses and started six new ones! But with outstanding professors and classmates, the intensity can feel more like a learning adventure for which you just want to buckle your seatbelt.
Now finding my footing, I can already see how this structure is helping me to build up my time management skills and prioritise.
What is the student life like at INSEAD?
The people are the best part of INSEAD, and there is a never-ending stream of exciting activities to get involved in, both professional and purely social.
There are numerous professional events to choose from every week, and trips head out to different corners of the world every weekend. Also, the regional diversity of the student body means many diverse cultural holidays to celebrate. Again, the toughest part is deciding how to squeeze as much cool stuff as you can into the limited hours of the day.
Are you looking forward to anything in particular during your time on the programme?
I am really looking forward to moving to the Fontainebleau campus come March, as well as the Israel ‘Start-up Nation’ trek at the end of P3!
Could you share a little about your application process, securing financing, and making your way to Singapore/Fontainebleau?
I applied in Round 4, so didn’t have much time between my acceptance and the start of the programme. However, the process of securing financing through a US lender was, surprisingly, fairly straightforward, even though the tuition was to be paid across continents.
I was also easily able to find housing in Singapore through one of the shared rental organisations that had been recommended by INSEAD. The hardest part for me has been trying to stick to a budget with all of the activities here. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about studying to be honest about how much they are going to spend, and then add a bit on top of that!
If you could share an admissions or application tip to someone who is considering the programme, what would you say?
In my application I thought that if I didn’t have absolute clarity regarding what I was going to be doing after my MBA I would be at a disadvantage. But what is more important (and would have helped me) is to lay out clearly and be honest about what you care about, and then explain how INSEAD will help move you forward in your journey. It is OK not to have an exact career destination in mind, INSEAD is a great place to explore.
Parting words of wisdom?
Get outside, especially when you don’t have the time!