The MBA Experience From The Frontlines
Maria |
March 15, 2023

Pursuing an MBA is a significant investment of time, money, and effort, and gaining insights into the experience can be invaluable.

In this episode of Business Casual, our hosts John, Maria, and Caroline offer a unique opportunity to hear firsthand from a recent MBA graduate from INSEAD. The episode provides exclusive insights into the application process, curriculum challenges, and benefits of completing an MBA program. With a compelling interview featuring accomplished professional Raphael Demmer, listeners can gain a deeper understanding of the real-life impact of an MBA on personal and professional growth. Whether you are considering pursuing an MBA or simply interested in learning more about the experience, this podcast episode provides valuable information and perspectives on this important educational pursuit.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:07.610] – John

Well, hello, everyone. This is John Byrne with Poets and Quants. Welcome to Business Casual, our weekly podcast with my co hosts Caroline Diarte Edwards and Maria Wich Vila. Today we want to explore what exactly is the MBA experience like? And we want you considering, if you’re a prospective student, to basically vicariously experience what an MBA program is like through a recent graduate. So we have with us today Raphael Demer, who graduated from INSEAD in December of 2022. He scored well on the GMAT. He has a 740 when he went to INSEAD with more than six years as a consultant with Accenture, GEP Worldwide and a unit of BCG. He got his undergraduate degree in political science and political economy from the American University of Cairo. And while he was at INSEAD, he was a very busy dude. He ended up being VP of Knowledge for the consulting club, VP of Dessert Wines for the wine club. We want to hear about that. An advisory member of the private equity club and a member of the running club. So, Raphael, welcome.

[00:01:28.120] – Raphael

Thank you very much. Thank you very much also for that very comprehensive introduction. There was a bunch of stuff in there that I probably didn’t even have on my radar anymore, but I’m happy to talk to any of it.

[00:01:40.640] – John

Let’s start off with a simple question. Why did you decide to get an MBA, number one? And then why did you decide to go to INSEAD for it?

[00:01:49.250] – Raphael

Sure. So I’ll give you kind of the punchy answer first, and then maybe you can drill more into it to your first question. I felt in my career that I was probably reaching a plateau, more so in my learning and in my skill set than on my career path and on the career ladder. So, as you mentioned, I’ve been with four consulting firms before joining INSEAD. There was another one very briefly in Germany before I made kind of the international switch. And all of them were very boutique and very niche, at least even at Accenture and the teams that I was placed in focusing on procurement and supply chain. And that was usually very exciting and in special situations environments because it was focused on cost reductions where clients usually really needed us and they needed us to deliver results. But the process that I underwent in each project probably became quite replicable over time. And so joining one of the subsidiaries of BCG, we had the opportunity very often to work as part of bigger programs and bigger projects that had strategy aspects, digitalization aspects, and organizational aspects for the BCG clients. And that, if it wasn’t already there in the background, kind of reawakened a want in me to branch out more, to learn more, to have more of a broader skill set, and to find something more exciting again in the work that I was doing.

[00:03:32.850] – Raphael

Not that it wasn’t already exciting. So that was probably the original primary reason for me to start to join or start the journey to try to join an MBA program. Why did I go for INSEAD? I have to admit that it was the only school that I applied ultimately, which is a very risky choice to make. It just seemed like the right program and the right culture, especially for my profiles. I have very international profile. I’ve lived in eight countries, including now, the INSEAD experience. I’ve never really been stationary for a longer period than kind of three years, which might be to my detriment in a professional environment, but has just been true for personal reasons as well. And so I wanted to go through the MBA program at a school that had a cohort of maybe like minded people or people that could relate to that kind of experience. And then aside from that, I felt a one year program would be most suitable for me. Because despite the fact that I don’t have kind of the generalist business bachelor’s degree or even master’s degree, with six, seven years of experience, I had seen most topics and didn’t think that I needed to rehash kind of the basics across all the typical functions.

[00:05:01.090] – John

Like a typical INSEAD student. Caroline often says, having been the former admissions director of INSEAD, that many people only apply to INSEAD. You have the international wanderlust loss that many INSEAD candidates have, and you come from a consulting background, and we know that INSEAD is really strong in the area of consulting. Did you start in January in Fontainebleau or in Singapore?

[00:05:30.650] – Raphael

I started in Fontainebleau and then did that for the first three periods up to, I think, end of June, did an internship in the summer in London, and then went to Singapore for the remaining two periods.

[00:05:45.670] – Caroline

Raphael, can you tell us a bit about benefits of that dual campus experience? Or what are the pros and cons from your perspective and why did you choose to switch to Singapore?

[00:05:57.430] – Raphael

Sure. Before I answer that, let me just say there’s a few things in here I probably haven’t reflected yet to the fullest. Haven’t reflected yet onto the fullest. Whatever I’ll say will probably be very direct and very raw. So when it comes to the campus experience, maybe I shouldn’t mention this first. There’s just the experience of being in a different environment, in a different country. You did get different cuisines, you get different people to talk to, which is always great. And travel is a big part of the whole experience, particularly if you’re doing it with a great cohort. Aside from that, however, the focus and the concentrations of the individual modules and courses that are offered on both campuses do differ across the two of them. So, for instance, one module, which probably not too many people have on their radars, being one of the best because it’s a little bit generic for me with competitive and industry analysis. And that in Singapore was for me absolutely mind blowing and focused on a lot of kind of startups and family businesses in Indonesia and Vietnam and Cambodia, the whole kind of gamut of the Southeast Asian economies.

[00:07:15.750] – Raphael

And I know that through modules like that, there’s few people that I can think of that were actually inspired about the region and its economic potential. So one, one classmate who is from Europe and who was in consulting prior to incident, now ending up trying a startup in Vietnam just because it’s such an interesting environment there. And then I mentioned the culture itself in those places, but then there’s all the travel opportunities. Obviously in Singapore itself, I would maybe since I haven’t talked, I haven’t addressed Fonty sufficiently yet, call out, this might be an obvious one, but I did feel that very fundamentally in Fontainebleau you’re effectively in an INSEAD bubble. It’s a small town and everything that goes on in that town beyond the day to day life of the towns folk, most activities, people that you see around in the restaurants most nights of the week, and people that go in the forest, go for runs, go for walks, just for social get togethers, is largely in theaters. And that makes for a very intimate experience and for whatever group you find yourself closest to, you get very close to those people very quickly. Whereas in Singapore you have more of a city immersion experience, which is perhaps a good roll off from the program because you get used to being in a city where you will have to work ultimately again, but it’s just not as intimate when it comes to the INSEAD cohort.

[00:08:55.580] – John

So that’s a really good explanation. Caroline, I’m glad you asked that question because it’s central to the INSEAD experience. I wonder, you arrive on campus and what are your first impressions? Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel like you’re a stranger in a strange land? There are all these new and different people that you’ve never met before. How do you feel and I mean feel emotionally, psychologically about entering the program?

[00:09:26.070] – Raphael

That’s an interesting one. I’m sure you might get 50 different answers for kind of future guests that might speak to the same question. So for me personally, I was more excited and kind of happy to be at a new stage and very deliberate new stage of my life. And so the entire atmosphere that I encountered when I first came on campus, on the first day or even for this full introduction week, if anything, filled me with energy. That being said, it is very daunting to just talk to so many new people. It is a little bit awkward in the beginning because even though you might expect a very homogeneous group in terms of their expectations, obviously everyone has different backgrounds, different personalities, different levels of engaging with new people and that can be a little bit, well, daunting and stressful and even tense in the beginning. And there’s peaks and troughs to that for the following, let’s say two, three, four weeks as you actually remember people’s names and find out what people’s interests are whilst also trying to handle a massive workload. So, yeah, certainly a conocopia of emotions. For me it was more energetic and happy to be there. But then the networking engagement, of course, was a little bit tense.

[00:10:57.810] – John

And during the first two to three weeks did you ever think, oh my God, what did I get myself into?

[00:11:03.590] – Raphael

For me personally, no, I did not. And maybe the prime reason to address what’s coming from the school rather than my own attitude and disposition, maybe the prime reason is that the introductory week from INSEAD site is just very well organized. And I’m guessing this is by design, although the experience didn’t significantly dip afterwards. It’s filled with the best speakers. It has, I think, a one or two day session of kind of dry run class where we experience the entirety of what would be one strategy class with one of the professors there. I forget his name in the first two days, which is just utterly, utterly amazing because we’re running through this business case and very quick fashion. I didn’t really encounter any kind of big admin issue or confusion as to the bureaucracy of INSEAD. So because it’s all so well organized, it’s just more on the positive side.

[00:12:12.890] – Caroline

Raphael one hesitation that some people have about applying to INSEAD is the one year format. Of course, for some people it’s a positive, but some people hesitate because, as you know, most MBA programs, particularly in the US, it’s a two year program and so it’s quite a different experience. What are your thoughts about one year versus two years? And did you ever feel that it was too fast or did you have any regrets about doing a shorter format program?

[00:12:42.850] – Raphael

Let me reflect on that for a moment. So I will again have to preface what I’m about to say by the fact that I personally didn’t have the direct comparison. When I did my bachelor’s degree, I had an exchange in the US. But as for the MBA personally, I did not exchange to either Kellogg or Wharton, which INSEAD offers. I would say that what I heard from people that kind of exchanged in from those two schools or even from seats in China was that they found India to be kind of at the same levels when it came to the electives that they took. And they found the cohort itself to be equally well prepared on whatever we were doing at the time, modules themselves, the career preparation, maybe interviews already, et cetera. The first two periods in particular can be quite overwhelming when it comes to the course load as well as everything else you might be doing at the time. There are from the January intake at least it happens then. Not quite sure how the timeline aligns with, what is it, August or September intake. There are investment banking interviews from the get go.

[00:14:02.060] – Raphael

There are startup and entrepreneurship competitions in the very beginning and in addition to, I think some case competitions, some of which have quite sizable prizes attached to them, there is effectively consulting internship preparation going on from March onward. And meanwhile, everyone is trying to get to know each other, is trying to call it what it is. Party, is trying to engage in some other social communities that might be a little bit more structured than Pure Partying, and that in period one and period two is an extremely loaded set of activities. I can’t speak to whether that compares, whether that might be a little bit lighter at the two year programs. But I have heard that business setting, that business foundation for basic finance, management, organizational behavior, marketing understanding, et cetera, still gets you roughly to the same level that you maybe would in the, let’s say, first ten to twelve months at US schools. And because of that I don’t think you necessarily lose out. And most people, even though they will have gone through lots of ups and downs, particularly in those first two periods, I have found, say, afterwards, it was just very rewarding and I’m happy I did it. So I don’t remember if in your original question you asked whether this is daunting and can be particularly stressful or whether what my general thoughts were, but if it was whether it’s particularly stressful and daunting, I would say maybe at the time, but people generally, either after kind of the first shock or afterwards, embrace it.

[00:15:53.430] – Maria

Raphael, you mentioned recruiting and it seems like you came to INSEAD with a pretty deliberate career plan and a reason to be there. Did your career plans change at all while you were there because of the inside experience or you just found things that were interesting, but then you pretty much stayed on course?

[00:16:13.910] – Raphael

Yeah, I can disclose a little bit about the personal journey that I underwent. My original goal was kind of to rejoin, which is very typical for many INSEAD students, to rejoin a core strategy group of ideally kind of your tier one consulting firms. And I actually failed in doing that for the internship for the summer, which would have guaranteed me a full time role, more or less for after graduation. But even so, irrespective of that first initial failure, I found it was extremely valuable to explore a little bit. So I interviewed with some of the bigger corporate management programs and found some of those firms and those processes. I can name some if that’s useful, but I’ll keep it general for now. Found them extremely interesting. I wasn’t too into the entrepreneurship and startup scene. I found that many other students were working on things in parallel, but I certainly was looking at the periphery and was very interested in what people were doing there. I ultimately ended up doing an internship as well as then several months of contracting work with a couple of private equity groups, and I had lots of other interviews with other private equity groups and all of that was only possible through networking and proactive approach rather than kind of classic recruitment channels. So summarizing all of that I explored and it was very worthwhile. I did end up ultimately returning to consulting, however, and was successful in that kind of core strategy group switch.

[00:18:05.110] – John

So bring us into the classroom. What’s the most challenging class you had and what does it feel like to be in the class? It’s often said at Harvard Business School that you have 90 people all vying for attention and airtime and a forced grading curve that puts a lot of pressure on students. On the alternative, Stanford doesn’t have a grading curve and there’s much less pressure in the classroom. What is it like at INSEAD recreate it for us?

[00:18:36.390] – Raphael

That’s a tough one. You’re asking both on a general level, what is it like dealing with a grading curve as well as what is it like in the classroom? Let’s maybe deconstruct a little bit and take them separately. So what is it like in the classroom in the first two periods? Because we are dealing with foundational courses, you’re sitting in largely big auditoriums with your section of, I think it’s something like 50 to 70 people, and that’s a very deliberately diverse group. There’s a large lecturing component in the beginning at least, as people kind of are opening up. And I think maybe that’s by default because people basically need to be opened up or kind of need to be brought into the fold of being a student again effectively. So they need to get used to being talked to with very voluminous information very quickly and absorb that information. That happens in the first two periods. I would say the professors were some of the most well prepared, most structured professors in those first two periods that had an incredible tact and structure and format in getting us up to speed with all the usual business foundation, the foundations that I’ve now addressed a few times already.

[00:20:06.690] – Raphael

That happens in big auditoriums. And because of that, the participation element is a little bit lower than in the subsequent periods. There is no competition when it comes to kind of the gradient curve that happens obviously at the end of the period when you get your actual grades. People are encouraged to speak up, people generally speak up, and I don’t think there’s too much pigeonholing there in the individual classes. I found that across different cultures, people try to contribute and across industries try to contribute in those first two periods as well. So it’s just a very nice experience to have a really good professor and to have a class that keeps it going. Keeps it going, if that makes sense. I’m not sure if I’ve recreated that most vividly, but it’s just a very good experience overall. Now the curve really comes into play, I would say, in the last week of each respective period, because that’s when people freak out. And they don’t freak out because they don’t understand the material. They don’t freak out because they’ve partied too much. They simply freak out because they realize everyone else is studying as well. And that obviously just leads to a lot of stress, and that’s pretty much unavoidable. And that leads to you literally meeting people coming out of the library with the toothpaste in hand at like four or 05:00 A.m. Because they’ve pulled all nighters to just rehash everything, in spite of the fact that they might have a finance background and they’re studying for finance in that moment and absolutely don’t need to study. But it’s still supportive. So if there’s anything you don’t understand, I’ve always found everyone helpful, and we generally found kind of New Age ways of helping each other, whether it’s via Google Documents or just a SharePoint, or within the individual study groups. But yeah, it’s not the easiest time.

[00:22:29.150] – Maria

Raphael, you were able to get a job in consulting after you graduated, but you had already worked in consulting, slightly different types of consulting, but still consulting all the same for several years prior to enrolling at INSEAD. What about your classmates who came from, say, engineering backgrounds or non business backgrounds who wanted to get into something like consulting or finance or some of these other tracks? How successful were they in making that switch? Because I think that there’s a misconception from people that since INSEAD is a one year program, that it may not be as easy for career switchers to make those changes. And I’m wondering what your and your peers experience was.

[00:23:12.830] – Raphael

I’ll give you my thoughts and observations on this. I hope they’re not too controversial. I think they should be roughly representative. So at the top line, I would say both for people looking to go into consulting as well as career switches of any other denomination, people were largely successful and kind of found something of the sort that they were looking for, or at least are in a comfortable situation where they’re happy with what they found. And I think it’s going to be the right stepping stone and the right, the right learning environment for maybe the next, say, twelve to 24 months. And they know that that’s going to prep them for what they really want to get into. I think that’s largely what I’ve found. I’m sure there’s a few exceptions to that, but I do believe that that really largely holds true now as it pertains to consulting in particular. Again, I’ll just call it what it kind of is by reputation, but also by the dynamics and the relationships of the school in Fiat. I would argue definitely in Europe, maybe even in comparison to kind of also the North American peer group is the school that is maybe best positioned but probably kind of in the top few schools for getting you into consulting jobs with whatever firm.

[00:24:47.590] – Raphael

And there’s several reasons to that, one of which is maybe that the one year program best reflects the load and the many balls you have to keep in the air that you might also get while being on your first consulting case or while being a consultant for the first six to twelve months. And that has just kind of become ingrained in the relationships and the dynamics of the school. I really think even without a consulting background, INSEAD just sets you up very well for that, aside from the relationships and dynamics of the school, because everyone knows that this is the background. And a lot of people, even if they didn’t originally have consulting on their agenda, develop that ambition or are inspired by others to try for consulting. When they learn more about it. It breeds again a relatively supportive environment. It does maybe become quite competitive in the final phases of the primary recruitment cycles. But by default people have to collaborate in prepping for cases, in getting their CV and their cover letter fit for purpose, for actually applying to the firms, and even in understanding exactly which firms to apply for and which people to speak to based on their background and interests. Sorry, I’ll just add one last thing just because you mentioned it specifically in your question. I would say that again the generalization but I think it is irrelevant. It’s an applicable generalization. I would say that particularly engineers have a really good transferable skill set for going to consulting just because they have a very structured methodology to thinking and whilst kind of the role with the punches approach of consulting has to be acquired, the actual problem solving skills are usually already there and they’re just deepened at INSEAD.

[00:27:04.230] – Maria

That’s great to hear. What about for some of the other major types of post MBA jobs that applicants are looking for like say tech or roles in finance such as banking or even private equity which it looks like you explored.

[00:27:18.910] – Raphael

Yeah, on all of those again caveat I’m not sure my answer will be the most representative. I can only speak to what I kind of observed from afar. I can say in any case that the career support center at INSEAD is quite helpful. There are relationships with a lot of corporates that have great management programs and they organize events for networking and then when the recruitment cycles start they usually post it within there’s sector experts that inform students and hold events again and do get speakers in for sectors such as tech such as private equity. They have investment banking or finance in general and they do have recruiters lists and CV books. I think that they kind of send back and forth between them, between the industry clubs, the function clubs, the students and then those recruiters to try and get people the right job and try and get people connected and understand where they might fit best. Now, all of that being said, I do believe in those other sectors in particular, there’s a little bit more proactivity involved. So private equity in particular, I don’t quite have the target background for that, particularly when it comes to the investment side.

[00:28:52.800] – Raphael

So obviously that played into my experience. But I’ve seen people largely really have to network to make any kind of conversation or even a job offer happen in that sector, in spite of insight. And similarly, I would say that for investment banking in particular, there might be other schools that are just a little bit more targeted toward that group and have slightly better relationships. That would be a generalization, but I think that’s what I’ve roughly observed.

[00:29:27.440] – John

No, that’s a good observation.

[00:29:29.840] – Raphael

That being said, there were a lot of great profiles that made it into some of the top tier banks there as well.

[00:29:38.150] – John

For Rafael, given the intensity of a one year program, I’m amazed at the number of things that you were doing outside the classroom. You were a member of the consulting club, the PE club, the wine club, the running club. You participated in the case competition sponsored by Roland Berger. You did a summer internship with a PE firm. How much did you sleep during your INSEAD experience? What was your average sleeping time per night?

[00:30:09.970] – Raphael

I’ll just give you a very flat answer to that question. I did not sleep much, but I probably had the best sleep quality I had had in years because I was always physically and mentally exhausted. But in a good way. I was happy that I was doing a lot of new things.

[00:30:25.130] – John

So were you getting like 5 hours of sleep a night or what?

[00:30:28.440] – Raphael

No, I was getting a good 8 hours because that’s plenty. First of all, I was in wonderful content. There’s not too much noise on the streets unless there’s an INSEAD party close by and it’s really good old deciduous forest air there. Now, I guess to address the variety of things a little bit, I don’t think my profile when it comes to that is too unusual, even though there’s not always club bullet points that you can attach to everything that you’ve done. But as I was saying earlier, there is in particular in period one through two, the heavy class workload. But much of the learning or of the value to yourself personally and when it comes to your skill set and professionally, comes from, at least for me, comes from dealing with your cohort, whether that’s a large group or a small group or just individual people outside of the classroom. And that happens by sharing, at first, micro passions, and then maybe from that onward, your actual passions, or maybe discovering new passions, whether that’s going for wine and being snobby about identifying different wines, or whether that’s running in the forest in the beautiful Fontan Blue Forest every other day preparing for a marathon, which was a big one for me, that just helped me mentally with like minded people.

[00:31:59.590] – Raphael

It makes for a very full schedule, but other than maybe in a corporate environment or even in consulting, that full schedule is fully led by your own preferences. Ultimately, it’s not draining in any negative way because of that. It’s not the way that I’ve experienced it.

[00:32:21.740] – Maria

Raphael, I was hoping that your answer would be that you manage your time by doing all those things simultaneously. So you were running in the woods while drinking wine and participating in a case competition, but I’ll accept your as well.

[00:32:34.290] – Caroline

Hopefully the wine was after the running, not before.

[00:32:37.520] – Maria

Maybe before. I would need wine to run before to dull the pain.

[00:32:44.230] – Raphael

You’re laughing, but there were definitely some overlaps there as well.

[00:32:49.750] – John

There you go. Sacral blues one of the things I’ve always wondered about INSEAD is whether or not the vast diversity of the class and how many different nationalities are represented leads to clicks of people who might be from a certain region of the world or a country and they kind of stick together or how fully integrated and included is everyone.

[00:33:19.870] – Raphael

Yeah, it’s a really good question. I don’t want to be too lengthy in my answer to that. Actually, I would say so. Yes, it does lead to some click building, but definitely the experience I have had is that everyone at certain times realizes, and this is why they must have gone through the admissions process INSEAD. That they’re there to learn from their classmates, to learn how business and how people think in all those other countries that they’re in a class with. And so everyone does make an effort to speak to others, to get to know others, to get to know how the other people are thinking, to maybe try to adapt a little bit to, you know, how how they deal in a multinational environment. So I think that happens with everyone. And then overall, it’s a quite cohesive and supportive environment, as I said a few times. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t clicks for relaxing at the end of the day after having done all of that, whether you want to call it networking or socializing or insured work.

[00:34:40.780] – Caroline

Rafael, in retrospect, is there anything that you would have done differently if you had your time at Insurer over again?

[00:34:48.970] – Raphael

It’s also a very interesting question, one that I’ve, unfortunately, I think, not reflected on enough. If you had asked me this question maybe in the summer or maybe towards the end of the first two periods, I would have given you, I don’t know, a very definitive answer, I think. Now, looking back on it all, I’m very positive about it all. I think I would have probably been less tense and less tense about how. I dealt with the experience as well as with my classmates, particularly in period one and two so that’s something I maybe would change. Yeah, I think I’ll leave it at that. More relaxed, less tense. Largely, I think, INSEAD worked out to be a largely and bottom line worked out to be a positive experience and a successful experience, definitely for me. And I’m thinking for most people in.

[00:35:51.420] – John

My cohort now, is there anything you wish you knew before you went that you could impart on other people who may go to INSEAD in the future?

[00:36:01.410] – Raphael

Yeah, I’ll probably give you some of the generic or classics here. I’ll try to try to keep it punchy. So from a purely practical standpoint, I would just say that it does help to get your bearings on exactly how the logistics of insight work very early on. So understanding what courses happen, when, which recruitment cycles happen, when can you maybe switch campus, and what people are interested in switching campus, when, et cetera, those sorts of things. And having a very rough plan against those would have helped very early on. And personally, I really neglected that. Again, I think it worked out perfectly for me, but I neglected being a little bit more deliberate about that in the beginning. So that’s from a practical standpoint, from a mindset standpoint, some of the generic stuff, but you adopt those mindsets quite quickly. Having an open mind to dealing with the very diverse cohort and just rolling with the punches is the right way to go. There is nothing that you really need to know beforehand other than what you probably already know by having researched insight, by everything I’ve been talking around about for the last 2030 minutes so you.

[00:37:39.670] – John

Know, Raphael, all schools claim that the MBA is a transformative experience. Do you feel transformed? And if so, how?

[00:37:51.190] – Raphael

I believe I do feel transformed. I would say I’ve become more confident. I would say that I’m 32 so I’m on the right side of the curve at INSEAD. In particular, it’s a quite steep curve at INSEAD with most people being kind of in the late twenty s. I would say that in spite of being an older person in the cohort, it really has refreshed and reawakened my business acumen and just my excitement for business and for various types of businesses, industries and problems that I wasn’t sure I could actually still acquire and I’ve made a lot of friends that I actually do think will be close friends of mine for the rest of my life and that’ll stay along for the ride again, something I would have to reflect on more, but it has been a transformative experience and my general attitude to the world has become more open again, more positive and I’ll leave it at that.

[00:39:07.150] – John

Well that’s a good place to leave it, I think. One last question years going forward is there one moment during that one year experience that you will always remember and will always leave an impression on you? And if so, what was the moment?

[00:39:31.830] – Raphael

That’s, again, a very tough question, actually. There’s probably lots of moments like that. I’ll say something personal, but also general, and it won’t be about kind of the insight course experience. I think I’ve talked about period one and two quite a few times now. I actually experienced a lot of very dear human support on travels and doing kind of the extracurriculars that I was engaging in, where people were asking how I was doing, how everyone was doing, how we were getting along. And that was always very heartwarming, and that really helped the experience overall. And that happened a lot, even from people that maybe I didn’t think I was the closest at that point in time, perhaps, yet. So that’s something you asked for one moment, but it’s something that happens at INSEAD and coins it a little bit for me.

[00:40:47.150] – John

Well, it sounds like you have no remorse and you shouldn’t. You would do it again in a heartbeat, right?

[00:40:55.490] – Raphael


[00:40:56.930] – John

Well, Caroline, you love to hear that one. Being an INSEAD alum, as well as a former official of the school. Raphael, thank you so much for sharing your insights and your experience with us. I found it fascinating and I wish we could go on forever because I’ll have 100 other questions to ask, but not to overdo it and keep you longer. I just want to wish you much success in your career at BCG in London. And once again, thank you for participating here.

[00:41:35.970] – Raphael

Thank you. Lovely to speak to you.

[00:41:38.110] – John

All right, for all of you out there, I hope you enjoyed our session. I liked it so much. I think Maria and Caroline liked it so much that we may want to do this with a few other recent grads at different schools, because I think we got a real good look at what it’s like to go into an MBA program and what you really experience. And Raphael was incredibly candid and articulate about the experience, which I really enjoyed. So for all of you out there, thanks for listening.

The MBA Experience From The Frontlines
Maria |
March 15, 2023


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