Alumni Profiles

Andreas Kater

 

Nationality: German

Year Graduated: 2015 (MBA'15D)

Current Role: COO at Hummingbird Tech

The friendships I made during this time are much deeper and meaningful than I thought possible in one short year.

 

What made you decide to do an MBA? Why the INSEAD MBA?

I needed a change. I did not want to continue my career in consulting and figured an MBA was a good way to re-orientate myself. I went to an international school and have always found international environments very exciting. I had never lived in France or Singapore and wanted to try that as well. I also thought that it was an advantage to complete my MBA in just one year. That made it easy to choose INSEAD, and it was definitely the right school for me. 

Was INSEAD what you expected?

It was much better than I expected. I expected it to be an academic degree, like my bachelor and master degrees, but it was much more social. There was basically no independent study because there is a lot of group work and everyone studies for exams together. I also completely underestimated the amount of travelling we did from Singapore. I only spent 3 weekends there, which for travel fanatics like myself means having the time of your lives. The friendships I made during this time are also much deeper and meaningful than I thought possible in one short year.

What made you decide to do a career switch?

My job had become very specialised. I didn’t plan to continue consulting clients on spectrum auctions for the rest of my career. Therefore it didn’t make sense to continue down this niche route. I saw the MBA as a way to gain new ideas from people in different industries. Ultimately I wanted to work in a start-up, with the goal of eventually launching my own. INSEAD offered plenty of entrepreneurial courses, which caught my interest. 

How has the INSEAD MBA changed your life or perspectives?

It has made me more positive. Spending a year with energetic, optimistic people that are out to make the most of life has that effect on you. It has also helped me gauge my strengths, my working style and my impact on others. It has made me more aware of many things. 

What are your thoughts on the curriculum?

The curriculum is divided into core courses in the beginning and electives later on. The core courses are a great opportunity to get to know you cohort of about 70 students very well before taking your more individual route after that. Amongst the electives the ISPs (Individual Study Projects) are particularly interesting, because they allow you to do a project on any topic that you can find a professor to sponsor. Some of us used ISPs to get started on an entrepreneurial idea, which is a great way to ease into it with a lot of support. 

How has the MBA programme helped you in your career?

INSEAD taught me a lot of soft skills like negotiating, working with people with different backgrounds and understanding their way of thinking, understanding my own biases, etc. This means there are many situations which I now understand better. Most importantly though I have made many friends that I can draw on for help and advice when the going gets tough.

What advice will you give to potential students looking to do an INSEAD MBA?

I cannot recommend it enough. If you enjoy diversity in your friends’ backgrounds, opinions and nationalities, if you enjoy travelling, if you are happy to have a very intense year, you should go for it. 

What is the biggest takeaway you have gotten at INSEAD?

You can work in whatever you like. The hard part is figuring out what that is and finding a role to match it.

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