Being a parent should never be a barrier for realising our dreams. It must be nothing else but a motivator to succeed and excel.
Svetlana Shakaryan

Svetlana Shakaryan

Nationality/Passport: Armenian, Israeli, Russian Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Ex-IR & ESG Director, M&A, Agrotech Rusagro

Can you introduce yourself to us - where you are from, what is your professional journey so far?

I am from Russia, but before INSEAD I lived in Armenia and Israel for a while. For the past seven years, I have worked at Rusagro, which is the largest publicly listed agrifood company in Russia. I was responsible for M&A, investor relations, ESG and innovations leadership there.

Why did you decide to come to INSEAD at this point of your professional journey?

After giving birth to my first child, I wanted to move to Europe and be as competitive as possible in its job market.

What is the most challenging aspect about being a mum and a professional in a fast-moving business environment?

I don't think there are any specific challenges, if you are already used to long working hours and a stressful hob with high responsibilities, except that you of course have less flexibility. 

As a parent you have to take into account interests of one additional human being (and a very important one), which adds more complexity to the planning of the day and your life.

How has it been to juggle the many MBA demands (academics, social life, recruitment) as well as a family?

To be honest, I feel lucky to have family here with me. Thanks to my husband, who agreed to dedicate 100% of his time to our 22-month-old daughter Maya (this is probably my recipe for success), I can focus on academics, career, and social life. 

I do sacrifice some of academic or social experiences to allocate time to my family, but it definitely pays off by giving me emotional comfort and replenishing my energy. Moreover, the INSEAD MBA journey is fantastic experience and I feel happy to share it with my loved ones.

How has INSEAD helped you in your personal and professional journey so far?

I believe that INSEAD has really helped me in changing the way I think. 

Before I focused on understanding whether things were white or black and finding ways to avoid risk, while now I have learned the importance of recognising different shades of grey and being flexible around risk. I also got rid of lots of biases and fears, fell in love with working in teams, and improved my self-awareness.

What is one piece of advise you would share with parents looking to pursue their MBA at INSEAD?

I would recommend not to miss out on the opportunity to do the campus exchange. I guarantee, kids will adore both experiences! You will quickly forget all the extra work and stress associated with moving your family across the globe, while great memories will be with you forever.

Is there any other comment or information you would like to share to the INSEAD community about yourself?

People are used to thinking that being a professional or a student and a parent is something impossibly difficult (particularly for women). 

But actually it is fantastically amazing. It is not harder than any other job, but your boss (=your kid) truly and endlessly loves you (even when you do your parent job really bad). 

Hence, being a parent should never be a barrier for realising our dreams. It must be nothing else but a motivator to succeed and excel.