Alumni Profiles

Michael Berner-Eyde

 

 

Nationality: Swedish/French

Year Graduated: 2014 (MBA'14D)

Current Role: Head of Business Development Nordics, FlixBus

Listening to people and realising ‘that’s not how I’m programmed to think’ is an extremely powerful educational experience.

Why did you choose to do an MBA at INSEAD?
I lacked the formal business background that I felt I needed to switch careers, and the one-year programme was a major determinant in choosing INSEAD. I’d already spent four years on a school bench and wanted to dig down, focus and learn. Also, I also wanted to live in Asia as I had spent time in India as a kid, but can’t remember anything about it.
 
Was the multicultural aspect of INSEAD a decisive factor for you?
No, not at all. I have Swedish/Norwegian parents, grew up in Paris, went to international schools, studied as an undergraduate in the UK, and speak English with an American accent - I thought that was multicultural enough! You have to immerse yourself in the unique environment of INSEAD before you can really understand the value that it brings. Listening to people and realising “that’s not how I’m programmed to think” is an extremely powerful educational experience.
 
What other lessons have you learnt during the year?
I’ve learnt to sit back and take things in. My job was fairly solitary and I was used to having to perform at a high level all the time and doing everything myself. Now, I understand my limitations and how much more I can accomplish as part of a team.
 
What was your favourite subject area?
I dabbled in everything. To my surprise, I really enjoyed finance. I discovered qualitative as well as quantitative insights, but I can’t single out one course, subject or skill. The important thing is that a lot of core ideas and concepts are circulating around in my brain. I get the mechanics behind the way business works in different environments now. Everything has come together to shape a holistic view of business.
 
Do you have a favourite memory?
I’ll never forget the first week in Fontainebleau. It was awesome. There was so much to take in and so much to do… and that was before classes had even started!
 
Can you describe the INSEAD culture in one word?
Dedicated. The students at INSEAD are all so different but they share a special dedication to learning, making friends and searching for meaningful careers.
 
What advice would you give future students?
It makes life so much easier if you can understand exactly what you want to do and focus on it. Don’t worry too much about what others are doing. Above all, do the campus exchange. It’s a big game-changer. If you’re ever going to do business in Asia or with Asia, it’s essential to go to Singapore. But, the perspective you get from Fontainebleau is just as important to understand the similarities and differences between cultures. You have to experience it to believe it.

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