INSEAD has a strong focus on sustainability and this aligns strongly with my personal beliefs.
Sean Vale

Sean Vale

Nationality/Passport: British, Irish Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Researcher/Engineer

Could you share something unexpected about you?

I am actually very interested in food and photography! I hope to, one day, combine these interests and start a food/cooking-based YouTube channel or write a cook book. 

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

I was born in Ireland but grew up between Belgium and the USA. I went to High School in Georgia, before I started an Undergraduate and Masters degree in chemistry at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

During this time I became passionate about energy and sustainability and hence worked for one year in Norway as a research intern at Sintef Energy. After graduating from St. Andrews, I started working at Advent Technologies in Boston, Massachusetts, as an engineer for a hydrogen company. Now, I am here at INSEAD and enjoying it a lot! 

What motivated you to choose the INSEAD MIM, and how do you envision it aligning with your future goals, even at this early stage?

My background was in chemistry and research, but I felt a bit jaded with laboratory work.

INSEAD interested me because it would be a great way to take my science background and pivot towards a more business-oriented career.

INSEAD has a strong focus on sustainability and this aligns strongly with my personal beliefs. Also, there are very few programmes, which, in such a short space of time, will take you to so many exciting and different places globally! It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Therefore, I took this programme in the hope that I could get the crucial foundations of business and management, travel the world, and start an impactful career where I can apply my chemistry and industry experiences.  

What were your impressions of campus life so far and how did you navigate accommodation, and sorting out all the admin? Any tips for incoming students?

The campus is small but well equipped. Likewise, the student community on campus is smaller and as a result you know everyone on your programme pretty well.

My biggest tip for housing is to get started early and use all of the resources recommended by INSEAD. There are really nice flats rented by Marcel Lods and MBA Housing for instance. In terms of general admin, just make sure you start each process early and talk to your supervisors. I actually like to set a personal deadline a few days before the actual deadline. 

Could you share a little about your application process, securing financing, and making your way to Fontainebleau?

I applied for the MIM programme very early on and was accepted in round one or two. I took the GMAT and that really was the biggest hurdle to my application. Make sure you prepare for it properly and focus on the quantitative/verbal sections.

Beyond that, housing is quite hard to find in Fontainebleau. Not because there isn’t a lot available, but because it is quite difficult to find a place for the timeframe of the MIM programme. So make sure you look early. Personally, I stayed with MBA housing and they were really great. Reaching out to other MIMs is a great way to meet people and find housing also. So maybe contact other programme members over LinkedIn. 

In your first few weeks, what aspects of the INSEAD MIM have stood out to you as unique or particularly appealing?

The MIM programme really forces you to interact with a broad range of diverse and interesting people.

While this is wonderful, the most challenging part is figuring out how you will work with this new team to get jobs/assignments done. Also, since the programme is relatively new, there is a lot of opportunity to start new initiatives and events that you are proud of. The programme really encourages this and a lot of the MIM cohort is really keen to be involved. 

Aside from your academic pursuits, what extracurricular interests or activities are you exploring at INSEAD, and how do you see them enhancing your overall MIM experience?

At INSEAD I have been pursuing a bunch of the more career-oriented clubs such as the Energy club! However, the group I have been most excited to join is the INSEAD Tennis club. The courts are very nice and it is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of really nice and talented students in the MIM and MBA programmes. The connections and friends you make by joining tennis (or any club you are passionate about) really elevate your experience. 

Any parting words of wisdom, and are you willing to be contacted for more information by prospective students?

My final bit of personal advice would be to make sure you are very organised! Have a method of keeping track of the events and assignments that you are comfortable with. Don’t forget to have fun and get some sleep too! :)

I am very willing to be contacted by prospective students! Please send me a message on LinkedIn or to my INSEAD email.