Beyond the syllabus, the faculty are always ready to share insights and offer practical solutions to real-life work challenges.
Xiangle Heng

Xiangle Heng

Xiangle Heng
Nationality: Singaporean Year Graduated: 2018 Current Role: Portfolio Manager at United Overseas Bank

Why the INSEAD EMFIN amongst all other available Master programmes worldwide?

INSEAD EMFIN stood out among the programmes I was considering, as it offered several advantages over the other programmes. Firstly, its modular format allowed me to continue accruing work experience while completing the programme – an important consideration for anyone who didn’t want to waste those precious early years in their career. Secondly, the school’s strong brand name and alumni network was a big draw in terms of the opportunities it presented. Most importantly, like many others considering a significant investment in graduate education, I did much due diligence on the INSEAD faculty. I concluded after much research that the course was taught by a world-class faculty, many who were thought leaders in their respective field and would be able to broaden my understanding of finance greatly.

Did the programme meet or exceed your expectations?

The programme was on many counts beyond my expectations. Apart from being kept updated on the latest finance theories from contemporary academic literature – many of which are not available in textbooks – there was a huge emphasis on their practical application. The diversity of finance professionals within the class added realism to what was discussed in the classroom. There was also a deliberate effort to foster greater interaction among students, randomising the weekly class seating arrangements and group allocations which I found especially helpful in today’s globalised cross-cultural work environment. 

How did the EMFIN help you in your career?

The EMFIN definitely gave me a leg up in my investment analysis as a credit analyst and career progression. I was able to find many practical applications in my day-to-day work, in niche areas including project bond analysis and factor investing. Perhaps it was because of this, that led me to receive an internal opportunity to become a portfolio manager of fixed income and alternative asset class portfolios.

The usefulness of the course was not limited to hard skills. I found techniques taught by Prof Ian Woodward in Leadership Communication especially useful in communicating effectively and establishing a presence – an important skill to have for someone who presents to management and pitches to clients on a regular basis. 

Do share with us your thoughts on the quality of the professors.

I’ve never met more passionate professors anywhere else than at INSEAD. The professors are leaders in their respective fields, with many of them being chaired professors. Yet, they continue to exude the same level of enthusiasm when sharing their knowledge with the class. Beyond the syllabus, they are always ready to share insights they had gathered from teaching corporate executives. They are also helpful in offering practical solutions to challenges faced by participants in their profession.

How did you experience the classroom?

The design of the course maximises classroom learning by encouraging sharing and debate among peers. It is always interesting to hear from peers who have relevant experience to what is being taught, often providing real-life examples which validate what the professor was teaching. As working professionals, the professors were able to offer solutions to our many day-to-day work-related issues as well.

Can you share more about the Leadership Capstone? How has it benefited you?

The Leadership Capstone was designed to prepare participants for the role of a finance leader in the future, complete with simulations, role play as well as communication skills that enable us to communicate effectively. It was an amalgamation of various financial concepts learnt over the duration of the programme. Through simulation, we developed insights into the challenges of balancing value maximisation, regulatory compliance and corporate governance faced by today’s finance leaders.

What are your thoughts about the multi-campus experience?

The multi-campus experience was a memorable one - it was the highlight of the course. The change of environment offered new perspectives about culture, heritage and context of what we were studying. It also created opportunities to interact with students of other programmes on campus. It was also in Fontainebleau where I got to know my classmates at a more personal level and forged stronger friendships that continue to stay with me after the end of the programme.

While in France, I managed to get tickets to the sold-out annual European alumni event. It was there where I met many interesting and accomplished alumni largely from the European community as well as hear Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn speak in person. 

What advice will you give to potential EMFIN participants?

Having an objective in mind would help focus your efforts in extracting the most out of the programme, especially when without the luxury of time unlike in a full-time programme. Plan your time well, the juggling of studies commitment while working is never easy. Enlisting your manager’s support would be essential to managing the challenges of work while committing significant time to the programme.