How the INSEAD MBA launches your life-long learning journey

Jamie Wang moved from Canada to France to do an MBA at INSEAD. She told MBAGRADSCHOOLS about her experience and why she believes INSEAD is the perfect place to kick off a life-long learning journey.

In short

Jamie Wang (Canada) – INSEAD MBA

Broadening your horizons at INSEAD

Doing an MBA can mean different things to different people. For some, it is a chance to move to a new country and experience a different culture. For others, it’s a chance to broaden your knowledge and expand your career opportunities.

For Jamie Wang, an MBA was all of those things and more.

Coming from a background in accounting and finance, she saw her MBA as a chance to step outside of her so-called “area of expertise” and learn about something new.

“The combination that appealed to me is the Johns Hopkins and INSEAD dual degree, [which] will allow me to do an MBA as well as an M.A. in areas that reach a little bit outside of finance,” she explains. (00:38)

Looking for a master’s program that reached “a little bit outside of finance” is quite the understatement; Jamie eventually decided to study International Relations as part of her dual degree – something she had never studied before.

Getting out of your comfort zone

It’s a brave decision to study a totally new subject at a postgraduate level, and for Jamie, the process didn’t come without its challenges. She had to quickly adapt not only to a new environment but also to new learning concepts.

“For the first month I wasn’t really sure if I could do it – talking about foreign policies and military strategies and all those things are just part of the day-to-day conversation,” she says. (01:44)

But this aligned with Jamie’s vision of learning as a journey and as a chance to explore new areas. Going outside of her comfort zone and challenging herself to study a new subject has opened her eyes and opened new doors.

“For me, the whole journey is more about exploration, so it only made sense if I was able to incorporate something new into it. International relations was part of that,” she elaborates. “I would say for students who have a really good idea of what they want post-graduation, that might be less of a consideration, but for people who are in a situation similar to mine where they want to try something new, it opens way more doors than just an MBA program.” (01:34)

Becoming aware of your own limitations

Although Jamie initially saw INSEAD as an opportunity to broaden her academic knowledge, she found it to be an even more rewarding process personally. That’s largely down to the range of people she came into contact with every day, and the experiences they brought to the classroom.

She says, “INSEAD has really shown me that this is way more than just about professional growth, and I think most of the takeaways I’ve experienced since INSEAD are mostly personal…Dealing with 100+ nationalities is a constant daily experience that is extremely enriching.” (06:07)

Conversely, Jamie’s INSEAD experience has allowed her to develop as a person by also becoming more aware of her own limitations.

“From a personal standpoint, I think I’m definitely becoming more aware of my own limitations,” she tells us. “I think a lot of us come to an environment such as INSEAD thinking we’re open-minded and we’re open to change, but there’s always limits to those things.” (07:03)

Life as a constant journey for learning

INSEAD is one of the top-ranked business schools in the world, and Jamie is adamant that a large part of that is down to the students. It is a melting pot of cultures made up of some of the brightest talent in the world – something which can take time to get used to

She admits, “There are many people here who are smart to the point that they are almost a little intimidating! Not because of how they behave, but because of the breadth of knowledge that they hold.” (11:02)

“I think people who are drawn to an experience like INSEAD are ‘curious by nature’ and they’ve gathered a range of experiences through life,” she adds. “Sharing those experiences obviously adds value as well.” (11:26)

True to her values, Jamie’s INSEAD experience has been a learning journey in a personal and professional sense – and this is only the beginning:

“I would recommend INSEAD to all those who consider their life a constant journey for learning. And, you know, the learning doesn’t really stop after INSEAD. I graduate in two months and I don’t think I’m done with my journey, but INSEAD is definitely a way to show how I would approach learning throughout life.” (14:36)

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