Year Graduated: 2014 (MBA'14D)
Current Role: Acquisitions and Divestments Manager at Shell
Interacting with a diverse set of people, including our amazing professors, has allowed me to test out and apply the different leadership theories that I learnt. My views have been broadened and I now feel that my leadership style has evolved.
Why did you apply to INSEAD to do an MBA?
I had been working at the same company for nine years and had developed a certain view of the world. With a long-term ambition to lead a billion-dollar organisation in the energy space, I felt I needed to be with people different from myself and to broaden my views.
How are you progressing towards your career goal and how has INSEAD helped?
Since graduating, I’ve re-joined Shell as part of their Downstream Acquisitions and Divestments team, where my role provides me with the skills development and exposure that I need to become a business leader in the future. I believe INSEAD has helped me hone my professionalism and expand my network. For instance, following the advice of Career Development Centre (CDC) advisors, my CV was refined to showcase my transferable skills and make it applicable to roles different from what I had previously experienced. The CDC also helped me focus and prepare for my interviews. Through CareerGlobe and On-Campus Recruitment, I secured my internship with General Electric (GE) in their Global Growth & Operations team, which added another dimension to my CV. Additionally, leading the INSEAD Energy Club gave me the opportunity to network with different people in the industry, both within and outside of INSEAD.
What are the main skills you’ll take away from INSEAD?
The main skills that I’ll take away with me are leadership, humility and confidence. Interacting with a diverse set of people, including our amazing professors, has allowed me to test out and apply the different leadership theories that I learnt. My views have been broadened and I now feel that my leadership style has evolved. Going back to school and confronting what you don’t know develops a great sense of humility. Not only was I humbled by the vast knowledge shared by the faculty in all our classes, but also by the remarkable people that I spent the entire year with. I came to INSEAD thinking that I was unique, only to learn that I was only one of many. Apart from that, INSEAD has given me the confidence to assert myself and compellingly present my opinions. I was fortunate enough to meet people who believed in my abilities. I have them to thank for building up my confidence and making my year at INSEAD a truly memorable one.
How did you manage the programme with such a small baby?
Before I started the programme, I got in touch with an alumna who had given birth during the programme. She gave me some valuable tips on how to manage my studies while raising an infant. If you come to INSEAD with children, you must first make sure you have a good support system – agree with your partner on the hours or bring the extended family with you. Second, live as close to campus as you can. Third, take it day by day. You can’t go to all the parties or talks, but make time for the ones that matter most to you – and have fun. Finally, don’t stress too much about finding the right job; it will come. If you’re sincere and know what you want, everything will be OK in the end.
Did it help that you were already living in Singapore before you started the programme? What was it like living in France with an infant?
It would’ve been easy to stay in Singapore, but I chose to go to France, mainly to see Europe with my family and because I didn’t want to miss out on the campus exchange. It was initially quite daunting to leave the famous Singaporean efficiency behind and move across the world with neither a nanny nor the ability to speak French. Surprisingly though, I grew to love it. The village we stayed in was very idyllic and the people were so welcoming. They tried to help whenever we got lost or faced a problem.
Do you have an INSEAD secret to share with future applicants?
When people say it’s the best year of your life, it is true – but not in the way you think it’ll be. It isn’t about the partying or landing that perfect career, but all about a personal transformation. The friends you make will be friends for life – your best friends and harshest critics. They are your peers who think differently and will never hesitate to say: “No, you’re wrong!”