Shiksha Maan, a graduate of Indian School of Business (Class of 2012) is pursuing a second MBA from INSEAD and is set to graduate in 2016. We connect with her to understand her motivation for gaining a second degree in management so soon.
What are your reasons for pursuing an MBA from INSEAD after having completed an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB)?
The decision to pursue second MBA was influenced by my intention to work in a different geography.
My industry is oil and gas and I wanted to work in Europe as it is a beacon of the renewable sector. ISB’s brand recognition is limited in Europe and hence I had to get additional certification. INSEAD offered me a globally recognzsed MBA in 10 months. So even after pursuing an MBA at both ISB and INSEAD, the total time I spent was less than what I would’ve spent in a two year program. Additionally, before joining a global work environment, it was imperative to understand various cultures and norms and INSEAD is indisputably the most diverse school in the world.
ISB’s brand recognition is limited in Europe and hence I had to get additional certification
Given your experience, does the ISB MBA hold limited value for someone keen on an international career?
Definitely not, the ISB MBA holds a lot of value internationally. However, in specific industries and regions there are always special considerations that are best addressed by a local MBA. In my target industry even Stanford and Columbia are not so well recognized – that definitely will not translate into an assertion that Stanford or Columbia MBA hold limited international value.
What are your feelings about the fee paid at ISB?
The ISB degree is one year long and hence considering the opportunity cost I will say it is cheapest in its league. Secondly, ISB gave me two fold increase in my salary in 11 months (my salary after my MBA was three times my pre-MBA salary). So it was easily one of the best investments I have made in my life. It paid for itself in two years that I worked after ISB.
How different is it studying at INSEAD from ISB?
INSEAD and ISB are very different schools. In fact both schools have a thrust on doing lot of cases and yet I saw just one common case. So they are trying to address different issues. INSEAD is definitely one of the most diverse schools in the world with people from over 90 nationalities. I had people from Chile and Lebanon in my study group. This kind of diversity brings focus on managing diversity at workplaces, for example the focus here is more on understanding what one might be consider right in one geography might not be acceptable in another and learning how to best address these challenges. Hence, it is about building a toolkit to address the challenges of the workplace. ISB on the other hand, focuses on identifying specific business issues that ail businesses today, and addressing those. It is about providing answers to improving the business in today’s market environment.
INSEAD is very diverse in terms of participants from all over the world. No matter what you want to do and where, there is always someone who has already done the same thing or knows someone who is doing it.
Please share a bit more about the global linkages at INSEAD that are working for you and helping you achieve your goals.
If I understand global linkages context correctly, I assume you mean global network and global mobility. As I mentioned INSEAD is very diverse in terms of participants from all over the world. So no matter what you want to do and where, there is always someone who has already done the same thing or knows someone who is doing it. In my case there were a lot of Germans who have worked in Energy and Renewable and I was able to talk to them at length about opportunities and challenges and gain a lot of valuable feedback and insider insights. Secondly, INSEAD gives an opportunity to complete your MBA in three different campuses. I did two terms in Singapore and had an opportunity to visit a lot of start-ups and meet people across industries. Now I am in the Fontainebleau campus and I have the flexibility of travelling across Europe setting up meeting with specific companies I want to target.
As an alum of both INSEAD and ISB, to whom would you recommend INSEAD and to whom would you suggest going to ISB?
I will say it is very specific decision depending on individual career goals. Both schools have strong brand name. Both schools are well recognized in the consulting industry. The decision might sometimes be dependent on geographic mobility. In India and USA, ISB is a recognized as well. In SE Asia, China and Europe , INSEAD might be better. Also a rough metric might be to look at the alumni base in the target country, which ever school has more alumni that may be better.
How did the INSEAD admissions team look upon your recent MBA from ISB? How did you convince them on a need for a second MBA?
If you have a strong motivation and it is logical argument then the issue becomes moot.