The main reason that drove me to apply for the MIM was its structure – from the subjects to the way of teaching, and the duration of the programme.
Valentin Kostov

Valentin Kostov

Nationality/Passport: Bulgarian Year of graduation: 2022 Current Role: MIM Student

Tell me a fun fact about yourself!

I love cars and one of my hobbies is learning how they work so that I can fix them up myself.

So Valentin, what were you doing before you joined INSEAD?

I studied Political Science and Economics at Bocconi University in Milan. Prior to my departure for Italy, I had never lived abroad. I was born and grew up in the same town in northern Bulgaria, where my daily life consisted of going to school, playing water polo afterwards, and riding my bike to move around. My life was much simpler then.

If five years ago you had told me what my day-to-day routine would look like today, I would have laughed.

And can you tell me why you decided to apply for the MIM? What are your goals post-MIM?

Even though I loved my undergraduate experience, I realised that I lacked a lot of practical knowledge and this curbed my job applications. The main reason that drove me to apply for the MIM was its structure – from the subjects to the way of teaching, and the duration of the programme. In fact, I applied to INSEAD with no expectations of getting in. However, when I got the chance, I could not miss it. I truly believe it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My dream after the MIM would be to join the automotive industry. However, I am always open to new opportunities.

What have your first few weeks been like? Memorable moments so far? First impressions, in one sentence?

First impression: very intense, but joyful and more down-to-earth than I would have expected.

The memorable moments are many, but the most important ones have been those spent with my home group. They are amazing. 

Anything unexpected?

Not really, I knew what I was getting into. The environment is challenging in the sense that everyone around you is extremely ambitious and smart. So, you could feel left behind sometimes, but that only motivates you to go further and prove that you indeed belong here. At least this is my take.

What are you most looking forward to during the programme?

Moving to Singapore. I have always lived only in Europe, so I am really looking forward to spending time in Asia, I feel this would really get me out of my comfort zone.

Any tips for anyone who might be interested in pursuing a MIM in the future?

a) Study math and don’t think you would escape from it by pursuing a MIM.

b) Think about your motivation and what drove you to choose this path instead of others.

Parting words of wisdom?

When I applied to INSEAD, I had no expectations of getting in. I knew the admissions process was extremely competitive and I was concerned whether my grades were good enough. Therefore, I applied just for the sake of it and when I got the interview, I did not do the extra effort of building a false image of myself to be liked by the interviewer. That being said, I was very surprised when I got admitted.

My advice is to always show your real self because people can tell when you are faking it and it would lead you nowhere.