The combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning methods is exciting, challenging and enriching.
Sonali Bhattacharya

Sonali Bhattacharya

INSEAD Executive Master in Change Sonali Bhattacharya
Nationality/Passport: Singaporean Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Director, Invictus Search

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional and personal background?

I am a Singaporean and I live very close to the East Coast Park. I love the sunshine, the sea, the society and everything about this country. Living near the sea has a rejuvenating and energising effect on me.

I have transformed and reinvented myself several times, having faced various life changing challenges. I began my career as an Electrical Engineer, then made some distinct career changes by venturing into Counselling, Executive Search and finally transitioning into Executive Coaching.

I am the co-founder of INVICTUS SEARCH, an executive search firm based in Singapore. We conduct leadership searches globally and focus mainly on the food and agribusiness industries.

I am also a trained Career & Life Coach with a passion to guide people in repainting, reconstructing and reshaping their lives. I am currently focused in building the coaching platform in our company so that we can provide a more complete suite of services.

I provide executive, life, career and transition coaching to incredible individuals by empowering them and helping them unlock their creativity. I partner with clients and individuals to navigate risks, explore possibilities, level up their careers and discover their potential as leaders. As a result my clients grow through self-awareness by realigning with their best possible selves.

What is a fun fact or something unexpected about you?

I am fascinated by the world of art. Its ability to communicate silently reminds me of this quote “When nothing is certain, everything is possible.”

I can build from scratch and create something out of nothing. There is no right or wrong way of doing things. If I don’t like the end result of a painting, I can change it. I have the power of choice. I can choose to add more colours or I can repaint and redesign the whole painting. It is liberating to paint and draw. I am able to express my thoughts, feelings and emotions through paintings and just be myself. It makes my realise that I am the painter of my life and I have the power to create and recreate anything I want.

I love to eat and cooking exquisite dishes is a hobby of mine. Like my paintings, I am creative in my cooking as well. I love mixing up cuisines and creating my own signature dishes. Keeping my weight under control while travelling is a challenge as I just can’t stay away from food.

What made you decide to pursue the EMC at INSEAD?

I am a life-long learner. I constantly seek opportunities that will support me, challenge me to come out of my comfort zone and help me grow intellectually and professionally.

There are several reasons that made me apply for INSEAD’s EMC programme. First, I wanted to expand my repertoire of skills as an executive coach and consultant. As a coach and consultant I need to understand individuals, teams and organisation well in order to serve them better.

Second, the opportunity to learn from practitioners, leaders and a world-class INSEAD faculty motivated me to apply for this programme.

Third, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of myself and build on my self-awareness. And of course, connecting and belonging to the INSEAD community is a powerful asset that I wanted to be a part of.

This programme is going to serve as a catalyst and enable me to define the next phase in my career journey.

What are your impressions of the classroom atmosphere, the content, professors, and your classmates so far?

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too…” — Vincent van Gogh

My professors are authorities in their fields and have the ability to articulate their expertise and knowledge with ease and finesse. They create a safe and interactive learning environment for exploration, self-discovery and thereby inspiring change. So in a very gentle, engaging and empathetic way they are helping us to uncover the pearls residing in the depths of our heart!

I find the classroom atmosphere and the interactive discussions nourishing and nurturing for my mind and soul. As a learner, I prefer the diverse learning methodologies that EMC incorporates. I find the combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning methods (the classroom learnings, discussions, practicum, group calls) exciting, challenging and enriching.

The rich content and the experiential learning is thought-provoking and has made me a thinker.

I have started taking a reflective stance as far as my behaviour is concerned. Community has always been one of the most valuable resources for evoking transformation and generating change. Learning and interacting with individuals who are in this journey, sharing the same passion as me is indeed intellectually stimulating.

My classmates are a bunch of incredibly smart individuals and there is a great degree of trust and respect for one another. Connecting and belonging to the EMC Wave 39 community has been a gift that is supporting me in bringing about positive changes in me.

Please share some examples of new insights / tools that you have gained through the EMC and how you’ve been able to implement them in your professional life?

I have to admit that the EMC programme is very different from all the leadership training programmes that I have attended so far. The course has helped me to connect with my inner self and I am on a journey to self-discovery, awareness and awakening.

I have completed three modules so far and I can safely say that each and every psychological concept that I have been exposed to so far has been useful and helpful in uncovering my unconscious behaviour, feelings and emotions. The wide range of concepts have made me realise “Why do I do what I do?”

This programme is not only helping me to grow as a person, coach and a leader but it is also guiding me in developing my emotional intelligence.

EMC has given me an excellent opportunity to build on my self-awareness and understand my behaviour, feelings and emotions. This is definitely helping me in becoming a better version of myself and bringing out the best in me.

I have also started using a lot of the psychodynamic concepts learnt so far on my coaching clients and I can see the growth and positive changes in them.

Lastly, what advice do you have for people out there who may be currently reading about the programme or considering whether this is the right programme for them?

Our unconscious thoughts, feelings and emotions influence our actions and behaviour. It is important to know your inner self and how your past is influencing rather than controlling your present.

If you feel stuck, unsure and unable to figure out your mission and vision in life then look no further. This programme is what you need to connect with your true self, grow your self-awareness and become a better leader and individual.

You change the world by changing yourself first.