My thinking is so much more multidimensional. If I see a financial statement, I have different ways of looking at it.
Vidya Parthasarathy

Vidya Parthasarathy

Vidya Parthasarathy
Nationality: Singaporean Year Graduated: 2015 Current Role: Senior VP, Corporate Credit Risk, DBS Bank

Why did you choose the INSEAD Executive Master in Finance?

My goal is to climb the corporate ladder to senior management. And to do that, I need to be well-rounded with a broad understanding of finance, as finance and risk management go hand-in-hand. Although I have ten years’ experience in the industry, my background is in economics and statistics, and I have no qualifications in finance. So I started looking around for a broad-based finance degree at a top school… and found the perfect programme right here in Singapore!

Did "the perfect programme" live up to your expectations?

It's way beyond my expectations! I arrived at INSEAD thinking I’d get lots of insights about finance, but I’ve become insightfully aware and have developed better people acumen through leadership and communications modules. And then there’s the faculty, the other students, the ethos, the interactivity… the laughter. It’s such a positive environment and all of the professors have a fantastic sense of humour. The classes where I learned the most have been the ones where I laughed the most!

How else would you describe the professors?

In a word: outstanding. It would be very difficult to find the kind of knowledge they offer anywhere else in the world.

And your classmates?

They’re also extremely knowledgeable and, though quite competitive, very helpful too. Those with a formal education in the more technical subjects always step up to help the rest of us.

How has the curriculum made an impact on your work?

The technical courses are the solid base: my investment for life. I go back to work and think about what makes sense – and find that the sessions have changed the way I analyse things. I represent my team in committees and feel much more qualified to share my opinion now. My thinking is so much more multidimensional. If I see a financial statement, I have different ways of looking at it. And I’m using my final project to gain a new angle on my role in risk management. It’s based on my day-to-day work.

How does the format work for someone living in Singapore?

I have two daughters and they don’t notice any difference between me going to work and going to INSEAD. So the structure really works in my case. The module in Fontainebleau was a bit different and more fun for me. I had more time for socialising and bonding with classmates through leisure activities, like cycling in the forest. But you can’t relax in the later modules either. Although there are no exams for the electives, you’re still graded on group work and your contribution in class.

Would you recommend the programme to others?

I already have recommended it to many people! As well as for people like me who aspire to a more senior position in the same organisation, I think it would be useful for anyone planning a career change.

What advice would you give future participants?

Go with an open mind and enjoy every minute of it. I’m so sad that the programme is coming to an end, but I’m greatly looking forward to being part of the alumni network.

What’s next for your career?

In due course, my plan is to use the programme to explore other areas of risk management, which is essential to move up in the organisation.