Ramy Ballout


Nationality: American
Year Graduated: 2015
Current Role: Founder, AirLinked.

INSEAD as an institution has been a disruptive force for business schools since its inception and more importantly its graduates have been a striking force of change and valor in the business world today and I am proud to be a part of this movement.

Why did you decide to do an EMBA and why the INSEAD EMBA?

I was feeling too comfortable with the career path I had chosen for myself and my daily routine was no longer fulfilling.  As a General Manager, I was more of a giver than a receiver of knowledge, which as a result, did not provide me with a peer group that could challenge me.  In the business world, marketing and innovation play such a huge role in success. I felt that my business skills were not only unchallenged but were also not in line with modern day best practices.  Most importantly, I knew I could not silence the voice inside my head that kept saying “Ramy, you can do so much more and contribute so much more to the world. You’ve got to do more for yourself!” This voice grew louder and louder knowing that an elite part-time program such as the INSEAD EMBA existed.  


Making the decision to apply to INSEAD was in itself a step that required great courage and discipline. My best friend who currently still works for INSEAD’s Executive Leadership Programme encouraged me to make the bold move and submit my application.  INSEAD as an institution has been a disruptive force for business schools since its inception and more importantly, its graduates have been a striking force of change and valour in the business world today and I am proud to be a part of this movement.

How has the INSEAD EMBA changed your life and/or perspectives?

If I were to sum it all up, I would say INSEAD brought out my best self. I was amongst the most incredible, intelligent, gifted, and phenomenal peers of the highest calibre.  INSEAD made a confident business executive like myself even more confident. I learned to be my best self and to be appreciated for it.  

What are your thoughts on the curriculum, faculty and class experiences?

The curriculum at INSEAD is extremely rigorous and demanding. The core courses take a considerable amount of effort, time, concentration, and collaboration with your peers.  As for the material provided, it gives you a fresh and current perspective on real life cases, which highlight the successes and blunders of modern day businesses.

The faculty at INSEAD are world class and second to none. It is through their passion in research, people, and change that truly bring out the best - from the material they cover and more importantly the method in which it is delivered.  You aren’t spoon-fed information at INSEAD but are taught to connect the dots and learn how successful businesses come together.

From computer based algorithmic simulations to the art of behavioural randomness, the class experience is crafted so that one does not forget the power and wisdom of crowds! Engaging with your peers, being challenged by a thought provoking professor and a colleague that questions your decisions is not something to be taken lightly.

How has INSEAD helped you fulfil your entrepreneurship aspiration?

I believe the entire INSEAD EMBA programme has the potential to bring out the entrepreneur in everybody and for me, it made a world of difference. I had the chance to re-examine what drives my day to day and what I am passionate about.  Upon doing so and sharing my ideas with my classmates and professors along with validating these ideas through class projects, I felt that if taken seriously, I had the chance to live these ideas out to fruition.  This is why I pursued an entrepreneurial path with my current company.  INSEAD is also very realistic in that I learnt that just because someone is passionate about something it does not mean that it will be a successful business venture. Without a viable business plan with proper resource utilisation and most importantly strategy execution, it is difficult to create a healthy revenue stream through an entrepreneurial venture.  

Passion must be matched with serious planning and strategic execution in an ever changing and ever competitive business landscape. Statistically, most businesses fail, yet I can also say with certainty that INSEAD sets you up for a much higher success rate by providing you with a network of tools and people that go out of their way to help you succeed.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to take a chance in an industry that I am fond of with the help of my peers at INSEAD who helped me bring it to life.

How did the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) make an impact?

The LDP is not a lecture or a one-way conversation between you and your team, or coach. The LDP is a chance to bond with a select few of your classmates at deep emotional levels. It is up to you to decide just how much you are willing to give in order for you to receive the feedback, validation, and support you really want, and need when exiting the programme.  Once the majority of our group and our coach came together as a team to break down emotional barriers and egos, the LDP transformed from a Leadership Development Program to Learning Deep Potential since it brought out our “best selves” by teaching us to disassociate with our “current selves.” I will be forever grateful for this experience. 

What advice would you give potential participants considering an INSEAD EMBA?

Great leaders continue to invest in themselves everyday. If you want to stand out from the ever changing and competitive business landscape, INSEAD is one of the best investments you can make for yourself.  Future business leaders of the world are vested and vindicated here. There is nothing more powerful than taking a hard look at yourself and realigning your values and principles to the unparalleled leadership potential that is within you.  The INSEAD EMBA gives you not just the best business tools or the best name in higher education, but it gives you your best self.  



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