MBA Student Profiles
Mohammed (Mo) Ashgar
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Job Before INSEAD: Senior Programme Management Specialist at Islamic Development Bank
Being in the right culture unleashes our ability to create, work hard, and make sense of the world around us. It unlocks our intrinsic motivational ability. The INSEAD culture assisted me to express myself and integrate with the others easily.
What made you decide to do an MBA? Why the INSEAD MBA?
As I evolved in my previous job, I realised that I needed to develop business-related skills and I wanted to move between industries; from development banking to potentially the public sector. Hence, I decided to pursue a top-notch MBA programme. Building upon my current MBA experience, along with the accomplishment of my post-MBA career objectives, I believe that I can qualify for a key governmental position in the long-run.
Besides its excellent academics, INSEAD MBA was exceptionally suitable for my career objectives. The programme is centred around developing global leaders with access to powerful networks, international perspective, world-class recruitment opportunities, and structured mindset.
Has INSEAD exceeded your expectation?
Certainly, beyond expectation! The program is remarkably structured to assist us to build life-long skills. Starting from the diversity of the candidates’ backgrounds to the non-curricular activities in the programme.
I am still impressed by how INSEAD selects its MBA candidates. The calibre of the candidates is just rare to meet outside INSEAD. Almost every student here demonstrates three unique qualities: 1) excellent academic achievement, 2) strong career accomplishments, and 3) international exposure.
The learning experience as a whole is exceptionally interesting at INSEAD. Apart from the regular academic duties, the ongoing interaction with the students is very rewarding. Study groups are designed to maximise learning and we capitalise on each others’ understanding and experience.
What is the INSEAD diversity all about?
The diversity at INSEAD goes beyond just citizenships. The cohort consists of nomads who lived or worked in several countries, speak many languages and worked in diverse disciplines. In class discussions, students share their views which are often shaped by their previous geographical experience. For instance, how legal systems affect firms’ behaviour, management decisions, and so on.
The diversity of INSEAD is also represented in its case studies and class examples. Most professors in INSEAD offer case studies from different countries. We study cases from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and so on. This has enhanced our view of business from a global perspective.
What is your class experience like?
I had 70 students in my classroom. Initially, I thought it would take me around two months to get to know them all. I was mistaken, however. Through Splash project in the first week, in which we worked collaboratively to build a school playground for underprivileged children, the entire class became close friends.
Our friendship got stronger with as the days go on. I learned that many of my classmates had amazing experiences. I met one guy who used to conduct research on driver-less cars, another was a soldier in the military, a third was a sea captain. Everyone here has great stories and experiences to share.
What are your immediate plans after the MBA?
The government of Saudi Arabia is venturing into non-oil dependency in the near future. This requires a drastic restructuring in the economy and public-sector role. To realise such objective, the government is attracting experienced Saudi Arabian leaders to be part of this change.
Building on my experience in financing public-sector projects, I am planning to switch to public-sector consultancy upon graduation. I intend to join the government in the long-term and hence a consulting career would allow me to build the experience needed for that role.
Could you share your PLDP experience?
The PLDP coaching has been very beneficial. It has helped me to evaluate my social interaction from an entirely different viewpoint. The programme started with a number of personality assessments, which helped my PLDP coach to focus on my underdeveloped areas. These areas included leadership style, communication skills, and group work dynamics.
I found this experience to be helpful because it increased my self-awareness, ability to manage teams, and interact more effectively.
What is one important takeaway you have gotten from your INSEAD experience so far?
I guess my biggest takeaway is that, whether in school or in the workplace, culture significantly impacts our individual performance. Being in the right culture unleashes our ability to create, work hard, and make sense of the world around us. It unlocks our intrinsic motivational ability. The INSEAD culture assisted me to express myself and integrate with the others easily.
What advice will you give to potential prospects who are interested in taking the INSEAD MBA?
I strongly advise prospects to reach out to alumni and current candidates to inquire about their fit with INSEAD MBA programme. This includes having a realistic view of INSEAD’s intense academic requirements, the social structure of the school, the pace of the programme, and potential employment opportunities upon graduation.