Meet the MBA Class of 2021: Nicholas Walker, INSEAD

Nicholas Walker

INSEAD

Gargantuanly gregarious with a knack for alliteration and exploring new ideas and things.”

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Fun Fact About Yourself: Growing up, it turns out that I was very accident prone, and have had stitches in each corner of my head twice

Undergraduate School and Major: McGill University, Economics & Political Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Product Manager, TradeCafe

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? INSEAD stood out to me, as it does to many others, because of its international focus and reputation. As someone who actively seeks to explore other geographies and cultures, both professionally and personally, I saw no better place to hone my business skills in a way that would allow me future opportunities not in one locale, but around the world.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Putting aside the academics, I am very excited to start exploring the Fontainebleau forest and the climbing, biking, and jogging potential it contains. Living on its doorsteps in a Chateau doesn’t hurt either.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at INSEAD? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? Meeting friends from every part of the globe, and making them lasting connections, is what every alumni has touted as being one of INSEAD’s biggest benefits, so I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t what excited me most. That being said, I am nervous to go back to basics with some of the fundamental course load (never did like Financial Accounting that much).

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Moving to London to run part of an FX desk at a bulge bracket was a great experience for me. Not only was it a huge step up in responsibility at a young age, but London had always been a place I wanted to work and improve myself professionally –with the odd dose of travel sprinkled in.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having shifted industries recently, I wanted to re-focus on some of the fundamental financial and accounting skills I will need in managing a business in the future, as well as find an elective course load with an emphasis on topics the tech startup space.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? LBS, IESE, Haas, HBS

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Why I was choosing to take time away from my current company at this stage to pursue an MBA

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  I superficially considered the MBA rankings and prioritized these quite highly. I knew I would prefer a shorter program as opposed to a longer one, and a European experience to a North American one. I then began the process of chatting with alumni at each, and amongst those INSEAD alumni really stood out as having meaningful relationships with their peers that have lasted until today.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? It was shifting industries and assuming a more all-encompassing role as a product manager. This required me to adapt quickly and learn new skill sets that trading hadn’t taught me. As much as trading helps you to think quickly and on your feet, it at times becomes a bit binary as the skill set is confined to trading financials. Having to help manage developers, implementation teams, and marketing initiatives taught me time management skills endemic to MBA programs.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Revolut is a company I have used consistently and watched grow from its infancy for the past five years. While I am unsure of company culture, I appreciate how quickly they are taking on new product lines and initiatives that will expand the company’s and challenge the biggest financial institutions to step up their game. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the product to anybody needing an ideal travel card or even a checking, savings, and investment account, and I guess it goes to show that dreaming big can really pay off when you have the right team & growth plan in place.

DON’T MISS: Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021