Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2017


Inna Khlon


Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Extroverted, caring person with a high sense of responsibility and drive for growth and achievement

Hometown: Moscow, Russia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am crazy shopaholic. If you want to get rid of me for couple of hours, just bring me to Manolo Blahnik shoe store.

Undergraduate School and Major: Moscow State University, Economics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Raiffeisen Bank International, Head of Transformation office for Network banks

McKinsey & Company, Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I consider my successful managerial experience at Raiffeisen Bank International as one of the most important achievements on my way to becoming a well-established leader, who delivers on all stretched business objectives while having a satisfied team.

In 2013, after three years as a project manager, I became Head of Transformation office for Network Banks. I was 26, and was to oversee Lean management transformations in 15 network banks, and lead a multicultural team of six former peers, some of them much older than me, running programs in 8 countries.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants?

Stay focused: invest time in selection of the school, do not try to apply to 3-5 business schools as the application process is emotionally draining and time-consuming, so there is a risk that applying for 3-5 schools you won’t get to any.

Bring out a better self: While filling in the application and writing essays focus on your strengths, on what you are good at and what you enjoy. You need to shine and you can shine if you manage to get control over your own insecurity and doubts. You are good enough.

Ask for feedback: Do not be afraid or hesitant to ask for feedback. Reach out to alumni you have in your company or in your region, they are always happy to help. Show your essays to at least 3-5 people and do not get down if your first draft of essay will be scrapped. This is life, the second draft will be much better.

Be yourself, be authentic: In your essays as well as in your interviews be yourself, do not try to pretend being someone else. Schools are looking for authentic people, not for clones.

Enjoy: Decision to take an MBA might be one of the best decisions in your life, as you are investing in yourself and you are doing it for yourself. The application process is not easy, but it the goal is worth it. Imagine yourself being an entrepreneur of the company which is called ‘’My life’’ and enjoy the ride!

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? For me the two key criteria were duration of the program and level of internationality. INSEAD offers an amazing opportunity to complete the MBA program in 1 year across three campuses in France, Singapore and UAE studying together with people from 60+ countries. It can not get better than this!

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I would like to make the world a better place through changing corporations and developing people. In the long term, I want to become an impactful and influential female leader in a CEE context, transforming how service industries create value while inspiring and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

My short-term aspiration is to become an Engagement Manager at McKinsey within a year of graduation, and a Principal within another 3-4 years. To that end, I would grow my reach and relevance in the region and shape key strategic questions on the agenda of service companies and the broader CEE business community (e.g. how to become a competitive digital service company with 100+ years of heritage, how to attract and retain talent as a key competitive advantage, how to develop a customer-oriented service culture in traditional players, and how to enable women to become leaders).

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Inna knows exactly what she wants professionally and personally. She heads towards her goal with the speed of a spacecraft, but does not forget on have fun and enjoy life on her way.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.