INSEAD is truly a place that welcomes people from all sorts of backgrounds, and people who want to work in all kinds of industries after graduation.
Susana Jaramillo Escobar

Susana Jaramillo Escobar

Nationality/Passport: Colombian Year of graduation: 2023 Current Role: New Audiences Brand Manager at AB-Inbev

Please tell us a fun fact about yourself

I studied acting for film in Los Angeles, and appeared in several movies and music videos.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? 

I was working at Ab-InBev in the Marketing department as a Brand Manager for Aguila, Costeña Bacana and Nativa (three local beer brands in Colombia).

Where will you be working after graduation? 

In the short term, I seek to continue fostering a CEO mindset and developing a vast array of marketable skills by entering into the consulting industry. This will enable me to consolidate various analytical and soft skills, such as leadership and multicultural work ethics, as well as strengthening my professional network.

In the long term, I wish to transform knowledge into action by leveraging this skill set and network to become a more effective change maker and leader in Colombia, and create a social entrepreneurship in my country.

Can you tell us more about the community work and leadership roles that you took up in business school?

I’m currently an ambassador for the Robin Hood Campaign, an initiative to collect donations from the INSEAD community (students, alumni, staff and professors) to be contributed to the Robin Hood Fund.

This fund serves as the basis of a scholarship that is awarded to an incoming INSEAD candidate with demonstrated financial need, allowing them to come and experience the joy of being part of the INSEAD community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? 

The most beautiful project of my professional life has been the creation and launch of an innovation within AB-Inbev: Cerveza Nativa, the first Colombian beer brewed from local cassava, in which I worked closely with farmers in creating an affordable and socially driven brand.

To make Nativa come to life, I had to lead a multi-disciplinary team: the supply team to brew beer from cassava, corporate affairs to negotiate a tax break with local governments to reach an affordable sales price, procurement to establish contracts with hundreds of farmers to buy their cassava crops, sales to build distribution plans with shopkeepers; and creative partners to design a campaign to launch our brand.

From a business perspective, Nativa was a huge success: we sold out in just six days and became the second best-selling brand in just three months, bringing in USD $6M in net revenue in five months.

But what made me really proud was the social impact achieved: we purchased more than 1,100 tons of cassava from local farmers, fortifying their economy and stability. We created a social programme “Sowing by Contract” that has benefited more than 400 farmers across three provinces in the country, with plans to grow to more than 10,000 beneficiaries by the end of 2023 and we sold Nativa in more than 9,000 points of sale, improving shopkeepers’ incomes by 28.2%.

Why did you choose INSEAD?

INSEAD is the business school for the world. It is a place where no country holds a majority and where you are immersed in diversity every day.

It is because of its diverse environment that I chose it as the ideal school for my MBA. At INSEAD, students don’t just navigate differences and diversity, we learn to harness them to unleash creativity, identify blind spots, and compete globally. We learn how to become global leaders, and how to think holistically and inclusively.

What was your favourite course as an MBA?

Apart from Organisational Behaviour (which I clearly loved), I would say Introduction to Strategy has been my favourite course, because it equipped us with tools, skills and intuition to think strategically and develop strategies systematically!

Additionally, within the course we had Master Strategist Day, a two-day fully immersive experience in which we worked in teams with a real-life organisation to solve their most pressing strategic challenges. I enjoyed the experience a lot, and my team came up as a winner of the section which allowed us to present our ideas and recommendations to the jury and board of the organisation to bring them to life.

What was your favourite MBA event or tradition at INSEAD? 

Culture week at INSEAD is the perfect reflection of how we embrace every culture and provide opportunities for everyone to explain their backgrounds and perspectives. It is a carnival (games, stalls, dances, food, and more!) of all cultures at INSEAD!

What is the biggest myth about INSEAD? 

The biggest myth I ever heard is that “INSEAD is a business school only for consultants”, which is not true at all!

We have people from all backgrounds and with all sorts of aspirations. Just to give an example, within my section we have a baker, a philologist, and a pilot … people who definitely bring a different perspective to the table and push conversations forward with a different mindset.

INSEAD is truly a place that welcomes people from all sorts of backgrounds, and people who want to work in all kinds of industries after graduation.

What did you love most about your Fontainebleau?

Fontainebleau is a place full of local traditions, nature, gastronomy, and a tight-knit and welcoming community. Honestly, it is a town with the perfect blend between the perks of a small city and the closeness to a metropolis such as Paris.

What surprised you the most about business school? 

What really surprised me is how fast time flies away! You spend so much time applying to business school, planning, dreaming and getting logistics ready. When you actually start your programme, you realise times goes by really fast.

My best advice to any MBA student would be to enjoy every second of every day (regardless of the daily stress associated with exams, academics, recruitment etc.). Remember this year will never come back, and every second and every experience counts!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? 

During the application process, I focused a lot in portraying the reasons why I considered I could be a true representation of the INSEAD diverse community (nationality, gender, background, career path and interests) combined with my passion and achievement in diversity and inclusion (e.g. starting DEI campaigns at AB-InBev), which are very aligned with INSEAD values.

Additionally, I payed close attention to explaining my desires of achieving social impact through my profession which lined up with INSEAD’s Business as a Force for Good ethos.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? 

I really admire Kathryn Hagerty, for her international background, great ability to connect with people, and the way she leads several academic and social activities, such as Crack the Case Workshops, wine tasting sessions, and trips around Europe! She is a true representation of an empowered and inclusive woman and I learn a lot from her every day.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 

The first item on my bucket list would be to fund an NGO that improves the living conditions of children in Colombia and the second one would be to work for a top consulting firm to achieve sustainable and inclusive impact on a large scale