The programme provided me with not only the technical knowledge but also the networks with my batch mates and industry experts.
Songjie Yeo

Songjie Yeo

Songjie Yeo
Nationality/Passport: Singaporean Year of graduation: 2017 Current Role: Business Development Manager (Payments) at Amazon

What made you choose the INSEAD EMFin amongst all the other programmes out there? 

There are three main reasons:  

1) Knowledge and skillsets necessary to keep abreast of new developments

2) Networking opportunity with my batch mates and professors

3) Being able to work while pursuing the EMFin at the same time

I joined the EMFin programme at a time when I was exploring how I could progress my career to the next level. I figured that one way was to return to the classroom to understand real-world, global issues in an international classroom environment.   

Learning from my classmates was the other important aspect. Classroom discussions, project work and informal conversations with classmates from different nationalities broadened my exposure. This played an important role as I am increasingly more focused on Southeast Asia across my work experiences.

As I was preparing for interviews at future roles, I had the privilege of leveraging the INSEAD network to better understand industry trends, corporate cultures and interview processes at specific corporations. This has allowed me to apply relevant skill sets from my past working experience onto new sectors.  

Finally, the structure of the programme allowed me to continue working while pursuing my EMFin and conscientiously apply my coursework to real-life problems faced at work while lowering the opportunity cost versus pursuing a full-time degree.  

What are the challenges you faced having to manage work, studies and family? 

During the programme, I was working at DBS, which was very supportive of my studies. I had to take time off from work to attend class and my managers ensured that I was not interrupted during this time, and cuold be fully engaged in the course.  

In addition, my firstborn was a few months old at that time. Managing these different aspects of life meant that I had to be disciplined with time management to fully immerse myself in each experience, and also to be open to new challenges and opportunities along the way. I would highly recommend anyone with any doubts on work-family-studies balance to give it a try – you will never know if you don’t try!   

What are your thoughts on the faculty and classroom experience? 

The programme provided me with not only the technical knowledge but also the networks with my batch mates and industry experts. The professors were also extremely inspiring and good at linking classroom theory to real-life applications.

I was inspired to make the switch from servicing SMEs to larger corporations and understanding more about debt capital markets. Moving to Moody's, I was able to leverage my EMFin learnings and prior experience working in Indonesia, to build meaningful relationships with financial institutions, corporates and state-owned enterprises across Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia.  

Can you share a little about your electives experience in Fontainebleau? 

I chose the courses ‘Leadership in Finance’ and ‘Behavioural Finance’ to better learn how to lead and manage real-life issues in financial services, communicate, and make better decisions. Both electives made use of case studies, experiential learning and scenario role plays which helped to embed the concepts deeply within me. 

Outside of the classroom, the experience in Fontainebleau provided me the opportunity of spending more time getting to know my batch mates better, including catching a live UEFA Euro 2016 match in Paris. 

What is your current role/title and how did you get there? 

I am currently a business development manager with consumer payments at Amazon. The role is extremely exciting. I can apply skills from my previous work experiences and get to work in a company where innovation is core to become the most client-centric company in the world, and in an industry of high growth as e-commerce is getting a tailwind from the pandemic-related shift in shopping habits. 

To understand more about the culture, I leveraged on the INSEAD network and spoke with a friend who was an ex-Amazonian/INSEADer. She was not only forthcoming to accept my invitation to speak but also provided insights into the interview process and general working culture.

Understanding the interview process, assessing the company culture through the multiple interviewers and applying relevant skill sets from my past working experience onto the non-tech sector has helped me tremendously as I continue to get up to speed in the tech space. 

Any advice to current Executive Master participants looking for a career change? 

Do not be afraid to venture outside your industry and speak to someone (anyone!) to learn more about the industry/company/role.