INSEAD Alumni Share Their Top Career Tips |

INSEAD Alumni Share Their Top Career Tips

By Craig O

Updated February 28, 2021 Updated February 28, 2021

Throughout your MBA studies, it’s important to be thinking about your future career trajectory. To get some advice on how you can achieve your career goals, we spoke to some of INSEAD’s recent alumni to find out about their journeys.

Cameron Kraus, American (MBA ‘10)

Pre-MBA: International Strategy and Investment Associate, Walt Disney Company — USA

Post-MBA: Corporate Banking, Citibank — Australia

“I started my job search long before my MBA at INSEAD, by doing some serious self-reflection on what I wanted to achieve. This definitely helped as it gave me more time to participate in all the activities that took place on campus, many of which had an impact on my career-related decisions.

“If you don't know what you want to do after your MBA, pick something and seriously consider yourself in that career. Even if you decide to pursue a completely different path later, it always helps to have gone through the thought process early.

“I started by talking to people about their jobs and career paths. Keep a record of your career-related conversations and write down your impressions after each conversation. This was immensely helpful for me and I still refer back to my little black notebook!”

Sandra Cao, Canadian (MBA ‘09)

Pre-MBA: Sales and Brand Unit Manager, Altria — USA

Post-MBA: Corporate Initiatives Manager (APAC), Estee Lauder — Hong Kong

“I have always been interested in international economic development. When I came to INSEAD, my long-term career objective was to build and eventually lead a social venture in Asia, so I thought I’d be seeking opportunities in multilateral organizations. Yet, a part of me still truly enjoyed elements from my previous career in sales and marketing.

“My interests are diverse — I am equally fascinated by organizational development, social impact and brand management. As I didn’t really have a focus, I applied to any job that touched one of my areas of interest.

“After many rounds of interviews across various industries, I was perhaps not as sharp as if I had been more focused. My advice is to create career plans to help you concentrate your efforts. These plans will keep your search structured and give you clear goals.”

Martin Peters, German (MBA ‘12)

Pre-MBA: Strategy Manager, Microsoft — USA

Post-MBA: Associate, McKinsey & Company Inc. — Switzerland

“Most firms aren’t looking for someone who can just solve problems. They’re also looking for people who can communicate well in an articulate, concise and structured manner, and engage comfortably with a CEO.

“My advice is to think about your goals and career objectives, about the person you are, about your skills and what you can offer. I strongly recommend focusing more on how you answer and engage with an interviewer, as opposed to what you answer. Of course, you should always self-monitor and adapt to specific situations, as different anecdotes and responses work better at different times.

“If you understand and know yourself well, your chances of success will be higher. The recipe for success isn’t a complicated one and a well-crafted story is an important ingredient.”

Ashley John, Indian (MBA ‘12)

Pre-MBA: Product Manager, Abbott — Singapore

Post-MBA: Payer Partnerships Manager, Abbott Laboratories — Singapore

“There’s a misconception INSEAD, or an MBA, is a bridge to any job. Your previous career does still exist, so you need to be strategic about your decisions.

“My advice is to start building your network as soon as possible. Being in the program gave me access to the resources I needed to accomplish this. I used the alumni network quite extensively and compiled a spreadsheet of who I wanted to speak with.

“You need to be well prepared both when contacting C-level alumni and those at a more junior level. Networking does not equate to securing a job, but it certainly eases the path, and you learn a lot about the job (and yourself) along the way.

“I would encourage you to make the most of any opportunity to reach out to business leaders as well. Be strategic in your approach — don’t ask for a job outright but see where the conversation leads. The people you speak and meet with may become important to you two years down the road.”

Lead image: INSEAD Singapore by Marc van der Chijs via Flickr

Learn more about studying at INSEAD.

This article was originally published in May 2019 . It was last updated in February 2021

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