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My first semester at INSEAD

– Hello from INSEAD’s Singapore campus! I’m excited to share a couple of updates with you while I’m on educational leave.

Leaving McKinsey but staying connected

Last time I wrote, I was preparing to wrap up my time at McKinsey. I had a lovely send-off: a few colleagues organized a farewell party for me right before I left, which showed me the strong bonds I’d created with my co-workers and made me excited to return to the firm after INSEAD. In addition to the fun party, I also received a lot of personal support. Two partners wrote recommendations for my INSEAD application and then took the time to have really good discussions with me—with plenty of valuable advice—before I left. They are both excellent mentors and sponsors who have personally invested in my growth and future success.

First-hand experience ringing the bell

I am keeping in touch with several other colleagues while I’m at school. Some teammates from my last lengthy project in the Netherlands reached out to talk about the engagement and brainstorm how we could leverage our knowledge and experience for other clients of the firm, so I still feel quite connected to McKinsey.

My business school experience to date

My experience at school has been really wonderful so far. I’ve been able to contribute a lot in class thanks to the diversity of my projects at McKinsey. I feel lucky that I have worked on multiple projects in different functions and geographies, all with varying responsibilities—and that I have been able to have high-level viewpoints of the issues our clients have faced.

Travelling in Asia

We work on study group teams (somewhat like McKinsey!) and my team has been able to build strong solutions to our business cases thanks to the diversity of our experiences in professional services, industry roles, and more. It’s been fascinating to collaborate with my groupmates and leverage all of our different skills and knowledge—I strongly believe that we are able to think “out of the box” and arrive at robust ideas thanks to our varied backgrounds. I’m also excited to learn from my groupmates’ knowledge in industries like automotive, pharma, and banking and leverage that knowledge for my future McKinsey clients.

Working in a team setting provides plenty of leadership opportunities in a risk-free environment. We’re able to test what works and doesn’t work and also work with multiple stakeholders, all of which is good preparation for the Engagement Manager role at McKinsey.

Another photo from my Asia trip

INSEAD is unique compared to many other business schools in that our student body is incredibly diverse, with students from all over the world. I am learning a lot about business in India, China, and many other countries, which is incredibly important in this age of globalization. I’ve also been very impressed by our faculty, who don’t only cover normal business concepts but also how these concepts are applied.

Getting involved in recruiting and clubs

Being on the “other side” has really opened my eyes to how hard our recruiting team works! They’ve organized numerous events, both for former BAs like me and for prospective candidates. One of the events I attended was a presentation delivered by Arne Gast, a Partner in our Kuala Lumpur office. Many people considered his presentation one of the best they’d seen on campus—he is a powerful speaker who shared his story and passions in a very impactful way. It made me realize once again how proud I am to be a part of this amazing company.

Enjoying a wonderful trip with friends

The events for former BAs have fostered a great sense of community among us. There are about 40 of us here (the most from any consultancy), coming from many of our global offices including Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Turkey, Brazil, and more. We’ve enjoyed comparing experiences—it’s been amazing to learn about all of the initiatives going on at so many offices—and having fun together, including an incredible trip to the Philippines planned by a former BA from Italy.

On campus, I have gotten involved in two clubs. I am on the leadership team for our INSEAD Women in Business club, which you know is a passion of mine! Our biggest effort has been planning our conference that took place December 7th. I have been super excited about the conference, which featured numerous speakers and focused on diversity in business. We can only be successful if we leverage all of our knowledge and power—not only half—and I’m proud that two men are involved in the club’s leadership. Seeing that MBA students want to tackle this topic—and men realize that it’s in their best interest to support gender diversity—is very motivating.

I had some time to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies, sailing

The second club I’m involved in is the consulting club. My involvement here has been altruistic, with the purpose of contributing to my cohort. I have been happy to share my McKinsey experience with my classmates and help them prepare to join the consulting industry. We have former consultants from all the big companies here, and we all work together to make sure that our classmates are successful and gain job offers—and join the firm that offers the best fit.

One last thing I wanted to mention: we, the INSEAD Women in Business club together with McKinsey, organized a really powerful professional development session on McKinsey’s Centered Leadership a few weeks ago. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I was so proud that it was such a big success and people are interested in learning more.

Beautiful Thailand!

I will check in again next semester, from Fontainebleu! Wishing you all a happy holiday season.
Anna

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Anna
Senior Business Analyst

Anna

Anna joined our Warsaw office as an experienced hire after working in finance for several years. While completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees—both in finance—from Wrocław University of Economics in Poland, she also completed her CFA program, paving the way for her to work almost exclusively within our financial institutions group. She speaks four languages, which is useful given her love of international travel. Outside of work, you’ll find her skiing, sailing, or attending the theater.