Work country: Lebanon
Job: founding Partner, Apis Health Consulting Group
At INSEAD, I learnt how to think like an entrepreneur.
Why do you think the INSEAD EMBA has been such a success?
The programme has many strengths but I would like to mention the one that had the greatest impact on my INSEAD experience: the selection process. INSEAD is strict but not afraid to enroll people like me, who are nothing like the EMBA stereotype. The programme isn’t just about learning from cultural diversity. It’s about diversity of experience.
In that case, please tell us your INSEAD story!
I started out as a nurse. And I never dreamed I’d end up at INSEAD. But I must say that I had an uncommon career path. After doing my masters in nursing research, I managed a research unit at the university hospital where I worked and then I was responsible for human resources management at the same hospital. My boss, the CEO of the hospital, was an INSEAD MBA and he persuaded me that I was good enough to apply for the EMBA.
Did the programme deliver what you expected it to?
I went to INSEAD determined but afraid… expecting to gain a lot of knowledge in finance, strategy and operations management – subjects I’d never studied before. In fact, I gained something much more valuable than knowledge. I developed my leadership skills and my self-confidence in taking decisions even when I don’t have all the evidence. At INSEAD, I learnt how to think like an entrepreneur.
How did the programme change your career trajectory?
It gave me the knowledge but more importantly the self-assurance to do what I’m doing now. This experience gave me the belief in myself that I needed to leave my job six months after graduation and start a consultancy business. Another important lesson was that everyone has potential, even if they might seem inadequate at first. A good manager can get something out of anyone. This has enabled me to change the career trajectory of other people too.
What is your favourite INSEAD memory?
It was definitely the Key Management Challenge course, ‘Your First Hundred Days’. It’s a very realistic simulation of buying an under-performing company and working in a management team to turn it around. It was at the same time a challenging and a fun experience. I played the role of a CEO, and I was responsible for taking the big decisions. Sometimes they were good, sometimes bad. But it made me more confident to take big decisions in real life.
Would you do the programme all over again?
Yes, because second time around I’d know the content, so I’d be able to enjoy it more! I think I’d also learn more, because I’d be looking at the content from the perspective of running a successful healthcare consultancy.
Do you recommend the INSEAD EMBA to others?
I’ve already recommended it to two people who have attended the programme. However, I always tell those who wish to attend the programme that they have to be willing to change – both personally and professionally. Otherwise they won’t benefit from INSEAD.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
In this part of the world, you can never know where you’ll be in ten years. But I know where I’d like to be. I’d like Apis Health Consulting to be well established throughout the MENA region with a big team of competent consultants who work our way. We already have a team of seven people, as well as contracts in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. But it’s not just about building a company. It’s about transforming healthcare throughout the region to be more patient-centered and therefore more efficient. Without INSEAD, I’d never have believed I could make this impact.