I started looking at industry. A financial institution opportunity came up, Google came up, and serendipitously, Avon came up. The reasons I went with Avon? They’re an incredible bunch of people. They always say that they value entrepreneurs, empowering people. They empower more than six million women! You can talk about it, or you can point to it. I liked how they conducted their interviews – the final was case based, but also a presentation. When they recruited at INSEAD, they used a recruiting professional to ensure they understood INSEAD. They took a humble approach and went after the expertise. You see that in how they operate. Another interesting thing, and this was particular – they met me, they liked me, and then they created a role specifically for me. They know I don’t like to do implementations, so I don’t have to. I like idea generation, so I get to do just that, generate ideas. It’s like wearing a custom-tailored suit: you know it fits, you feel good in it. Hours of work just fly by! It’s impressive to be at Avon. They’re so jazzed about innovation.
What do I say to people accepted to INSEAD? Learn to trust others – you are not the smartest guy in the room. Sit down, close your mouth, and learn something from your peers.
When companies come on campus, they come in this order: finance, consulting, industry. Don’t short-change industry. Industry is remarkable if you have the ability to put big pieces together. They employ a lot of people, and have huge footprints in the communities they work with. If you can put these blocks together, your career is going to skyrocket. And don’t think that they don’t pay well: they do.
Also, there’s a huge network out there for alumni. INSEAD is a 10-month program, so if you don’t have a job after graduation, you’ve got 500 other people working to help you find one. There is no advantage to competing with your classmates, or being on the Dean’s list – it has no bearing on whether you get a job. Will your classmates remember you fondly? Or will they never want to see you successful? The first list is the one you want to be on.