Work country: Hong Kong
Job: Executive Director, Strategy, Banking
INSEAD was a safe place to try out different leadership styles and structure a lot of important questions about my career. I’ve walked away with a stronger support network than I’d ever dreamt of going in.
Why did you decide to do your EMBA at INSEAD?
INSEAD came first, then the programme. I was considering doing a full-time MBA about five years ago and that’s when I came across INSEAD, which I thought was unique because of its diversity and international network. I had friends and ex-colleagues who had gone to INSEAD and loved it. The trouble was, I was enjoying my job, so I kept procrastinating until it was too late. Then I realised that, by doing an EMBA, I could inject something new into my job. At that point, I discovered that INSEAD had a Global EMBA… and that sealed it.
What impact has the programme had on your work?
When I applied, I was going through a couple of changes at work. I was adjusting to a broader role, as well as a new geography after having relocated from Japan to Hong Kong. I was also working in a multi-cultural setting. INSEAD was a safe place to try out different leadership styles, and helped provide a framework and structure for what I was facing at work.
What was your favourite class?
I think it was the marketing core class. Although I already had a vague idea about marketing, I realised a lot of it was myth! I just found it so intellectually stimulating to be learning a new subject that I was interested in through a mix of theory and real-life experiences classmates had faced in the field.
How did the Leadership Development Programme benefit you?
I know myself a lot better now. I was able to work on a lot of things about myself through the “LDP” that I had been thinking about – but not doing anything about – for a long time.
How are you finding life after the GEMBA?
I only just graduated, but already I miss it! But I’ve walked away with a stronger support network than I’d ever dreamt of going in. I have a huge group of people to bounce ideas off about things that are going on at work or in other areas.
Do you have any tips for new GEMBA students?
First, think about what you want to get out of it, so that you know what to put into it and where to focus on. The time will just fly by – and there’s so much going on (networking, LDP, career workshops, as well as classes) that you can’t do everything. Second, involve your family and/or partner, not just in the decision to do the programme but also by bringing them to campus or meeting your classmates if you can, and sharing what you are learning and experiencing.
What next for you? How will the GEMBA help you to develop your career?
Career change was never my rationale for doing the programme. However, the GEMBA really opened my eyes to much wider horizons in terms of business, management, leadership and self-awareness, and I think that will be valuable in any career.