MBA Student Profiles

Katja Smuk

Nationality: Swedish
Job Before INSEAD: Consultant at Bain & Company Nordic

I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world to get this kind of exposure to so many so talented and diverse people, and I’m happy I still have nine months to get to know as many people as I can!


For me, INSEAD was always the top choice, for several reasons. The foremost was probably the amazing INSEAD culture I had experienced second-hand through all the INSEAD alumni I have had the privilege of knowing throughout my professional and personal life. Not only did I feel I clicked amazingly well with INSEADers, they were also strikingly unanimous in their love for INSEAD and their advice for me to go to INSEAD. Once I started looking into it in more detail, the things that further attracted me to INSEAD were the amazing diversity, the multiple campuses, and the intensity of a condensed 10-month programme.

What was the most surprising thing about INSEAD? 

While I anticipated – and explicitly went after – a lot of diversity in terms of nationalities, professional backgrounds, and post-MBA ambitions, I think I was still most surprised by the broad range of personalities that I encountered in my class. It’s amazing how we can have so much in common, yet be so different – and it makes the INSEAD experience incredibly fun and unique!

How are your classmates like? 

I admire most of my classmates – I keep discovering new fascinating sides to people and appreciate the camaraderie we have more and more every day! INSEADers have a way of constantly surprising you – as soon as you think you have them figured out, some new side to them emerges and muddles your analysis completely. This may be my favorite part about business school! 

What was your favourite course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? 

So far my absolute favorite course has been Organisational Behavior, which covers a variety of topics in the intersection of business and psychology. Not only are the topics we discuss – like negotiation strategies, biases and stereotyping, etc. – fascinating in their own right, but the extremely diverse classroom setting makes for some of the most engaging discussion I have had the privilege to be part of. Professor Uhlmann also does an amazing job at bringing in everything from cutting-edge research to funny videos to liven up the class.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during your time at INSEAD? 

I am very proud of how the Robin Hood Fundraising group came together as a team and on very short notice and pulled off several events that were big hits with our class. We helped gather money for almost an entire scholarship within two short weeks. To me, it showcased the best of INSEAD – passionate, fun, and generous people doing great work running on sheer enthusiasm (and coffee)! 

What did you enjoy most about your time at INSEAD so far? 
So far what I have enjoyed the most is getting to know my classmates. They are truly an amazing bunch of people, and everyone has a fascinating story to tell. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world to get this kind of exposure to so many so talented and diverse people, and I’m happy I still have nine months to get to know as many people as I can!
What is the biggest myth about INSEAD? 

I think INSEAD has the reputation of being a party school. While this is not undeserved in the sense that there is a lot of social activities going on all the time, I think the reputation is a bit undeservedly bad in the sense that it reduces all the other aspects of INSEAD. Sure, we socialise – but we also study very hard (as we must to squeeze everything into 10 months!), spend tons of time on recruiting, engage in extracurricular activities, and love to travel to experience new places and cultures!

How has the Career Development Centre helped you?

In P1, the CDC guided us to discover ourselves through a series of tests and exercises. My career coach gave me solid support by keeping me on track of my career plan, networking efforts and job applications. Also, on-campus recruitment administered by the CDC was how I got my summer internship. 

What is your best piece advice to potential students who are interested in the INSEAD MBA?

Get to know some INSEAD students or alumni to get a better sense of what INSEAD is like and what makes it unique. Emphasise your international experiences and ambitions and openness to new experiences. Be prepared for an intense, crazy, and fun ten months ahead!






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