Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class Of 2020

Mahmut Duvarci

INSEAD

“I aspire to drive the change I wish to see.”

Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fun Fact About Yourself: I now make a living based on what all my friends thought I would need later in life. I am a lawyer.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law. Major in law with a focus on Business Law

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Gorrissen Federspiel, Attorney-at-law.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have assisted clients on several very big cross-border M&A transactions with a lot success in my current job.

When I was only 12, I decided that I had to change school and applied for a private school myself – more or less without my parents’ involvement.

However, for me, the biggest accomplishment is the ability to question the status quo outside my comfort zone in my pursuit of personal and professional development – most recently by applying for the MBA program at INSEAD.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? My MBA journey will start on Wednesday, 21 August, so I have not really had the chance to meet any of my MBA classmates. However, I have met several alumni and what characterizes them is their global mindset and willingness to share their experiences.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? INSEAD is (probably) the most international business school in the world and its MBA curriculum offers a wide range of courses in private equity and offers an opportunity to extensive interaction with industry players during the classes. This suited perfectly with my pursuit of a career transition from a legal position to a commercial position within private equity in an international setting.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I look forward to be involved in some of business clubs at INSEAD, especially the Private Equity Club and the Global Leadership Club.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? I think the most challenging question was when I was asked to describe a situation where I failed…and how the failure affected my relationship with others.

Whilst it is not challenging to describe the situation where I failed, I found it challenging to reflect on and describe how it affected my relationship with others.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I applied for the MBA because I want to make a shift to a cross-functional role (ideally abroad) that is more commercial compared to my current role as an M&A lawyer. I believe an MBA from INSEAD would make such a transition be possible immediately after I have completed the MBA program.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? My focus was on the MBA at INSEAD, which is why I only applied there. However, I also found the MBA program offered by IMD and LBS interesting and I might have applied for one of those if it was not offered a place at INSEAD.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I believe in surrounding myself with people from whom I can learn – this way I always progress and seek new challenges, often within the top quantile of any area.

In arriving at my application, I mostly sought recommendations from peers and former colleagues of mine who have made a transition from a legal to a commercial position because they offer different views than the more generalized concepts of what makes up a good school.

Only time will tell if the MBA will be a good fit for my career – but based on experiences of others, I believe the MBA perfectly suits my wish to make a transition from a legal to a more commercial position.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Having children – because it made me responsible for who I was and who I want to be.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself in a senior management position at a private equity firm focusing on emerging markets. In such a position, I would be able to combine my background as an M&A lawyer with the skills I will acquire with an MBA as well as my soft skills.