“Ambitious and resilient former entrepreneur who’s not afraid of a challenge.”
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to be a TV presenter on one of the biggest sports broadcasters in the world. I can also square three-digit numbers in my head (sometimes four, depending how brave I’m feeling!)
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Stellenbosch, Languages & Political Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Hicell Cellular, Managing Executive
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to INSEAD’s focus on diversity, and the way in which the school approaches education from a truly global point of view. While I think it’s important not to get too caught up in rankings and to really think about the best school for yourself personally, INSEAD’s reputation for creating exceptional leaders in business is undeniable and it certainly played a role in my decision.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am very excited to join clubs that are relevant to my post-MBA career goals, including the INSEAD Women in Business club.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at INSEAD? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am very excited about the incredible INSEAD alumni network of which I am now a part. Speaking to INSEAD alumni made me realise what a strong, supportive network the school has built around the world, and I am honoured to be a part of that community. I am nervous, but at the same time excited, to be shown my weaknesses in terms of skills and knowledge. I’ll be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the world, and I have no doubt I will have moments of feeling out of my depth. But I also know this is an incredible opportunity to learn from a highly talented and diverse group of people, and that trumps the nervousness.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Launching a consumer-facing business in an emerging market with a first-to-market product and getting the product on the shelves of hundreds of stores across Africa and Europe.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? There were two reasons I decided to pursue an MBA at this point in my career, which had been going well and showed a very promising trajectory. The first is that I was ready to expand my horizons both personally and professionally; moving abroad and taking on one of the most challenging MBAs in the world while being surrounded by such a diverse and impressive peer group was certainly a way to do that! The second reason is that I wanted to pivot my career. I know INSEAD will equip me with the necessary skills for this massive change, and enable me to make a success of it.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied at HEC and was honoured to be awarded the HEC Excellence Scholarship. It was a tough choice between the two schools, but I am confident that I have made the right choice.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Whether we could switch to French! French is my third language and I hadn’t prepared for the interview in French so that was certainly unexpected.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? First and foremost, I looked at schools that offered electives that would allow me to tailor my MBA around my career goals. Duration was also a factor, and INSEAD’s ten-month timeline meant minimal time out of the workforce, and I knew I would be able to handle the intensity of the accelerated course. Coming from South Africa, which is such a diverse country, INSEAD’s emphasis on diversity naturally appealed to me in terms of campus culture. I knew I wanted to be immersed in a group of peers from a wide range of backgrounds that would bring different points of view to every discussion so that I could learn as much as possible.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I think this move itself will prove to be my defining moment. Packing up an entire life in South Africa and moving abroad alone (during a global pandemic, no less) is a lot of big change at once, and I have no doubt that I will look back on this INSEAD journey as the defining moment of my life. As for how it will shape me, time will tell, but I know I will emerge from this with lifelong connections, a wealth of knowledge, and fully equipped to take my career to the next level.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I have a huge amount of respect for companies that have truly stood the test of time such as Louis Vuitton, which has been around for over 150 years. I think what business students can learn from them is the value of consistency and commitment to excellence, as well as the ability to change and adapt where necessary in order to ensure longevity in business.
DON’T MISS: Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021