Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class Of 2022

INSEAD Classroom


Anxiety? Not with KPMG’s Susannah de Boinville. She overcame her fear of heights by going on the trapeze. Felix Bataille certainly isn’t afraid of water; he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to celebrate his graduation. And how is this for a commitment to education?

“During my four years as an undergraduate student, I obtained three degrees in Business Administration from the three universities I attended: USC in Los Angeles, HKUST in Hong Kong and Bocconi in Milan,” shares Maria Lia Magni.

However, the most important business lesson that Lia Magni absorbed came during the pandemic. Watching organizations quickly adapt to the new normal, she discovered the best time to act is always now. “From now on, I hope I will not hear the comment, “It will take many, many years to implement this” as often as I have. The past few months have shown us we were all underestimating our ability to change and adapt. We can now leverage these newly discovered skills to implement other strategic changes to the way companies work.”

For Sakina Esufally, the pandemic forced her to take inventory of her life, particularly the path where her priorities were leading her. “In many ways, the pandemic forced me to refocus,” she admits. “Before the pandemic, I had given only cursory thought to the career I hoped to lead, the subjects that ignited my curiosity, and the people who gave colour to my life. Perhaps like many of my peers, I was on a hamster wheel of sorts, moving from one experience to the next with ever increasing momentum, unsure of where or how to stop… Some of the self-reflection pointed out glaring holes: I tended to de-prioritize important relationships in my life for work; I didn’t carve out enough time for self-rejuvenation or for my passions; and I was on the fast-track to relative burnout. It forced me to reckon with aspects of balance and integration; knowing when to say no; knowing how to prioritize mental health; and learning how to slow down.”


Looking at the July intake, INSEAD drew 501 students from 69 nationalities. Before joining the program, the class had lived in 59 different countries and boasts 5.5 years of average work experience. At the same time, the July cohort set a record, with 39% being women.

INSEAD is more than a school to connect with a variety of cultures under one roof. Traditionally, a fourth of the school’s MBAs make the triple jump – where they change industry, function, and country.  In fact, 75% of the Class of 2020 graduates made a change in at least one of these areas. Consulting is particularly popular with INSEAD MBAs, as 48% of the class entered the field last year. However, it would inaccurate to call INSEAD as a consulting-prep program, says Broderic Dytoc, a 2021 MBA alum.

“I believe that it just so happens that the major consulting firms love INSEADers and the candidates have a good success rate,” he tells P&Q. “However, the amount of learning, available resources, clubs, and the diversity of the backgrounds of my classmates show me that almost any path I wish is possible. The alumni network is MASSIVE and incredibly friendly as well. “I, myself, have been engaged with start-up workshops and events, as well as big tech happenings. Some of my classmates are geared towards real estate, luxury goods, social impact, healthcare, education technology, and many others — despite having a different prior background.”

INSEAD Students


Entrepreneurship is one area where INSEAD has shined in recent years. Nearly a quarter of its electives focus on startup-related content, with the school ranking third for entrepreneurs-in-residence last year according to P&Q data. In recent years, INSEAD alumni have launched promising ventures like Airlift Technologies, Forecast, and Zenyum. Ian Weng, a 2021 grad, grew his SPATULA venture as an MBA student. He attributes such success to the program’s deep support for founders.

“INSEAD was an amazing ecosystem for building a startup,” he told P&Q last year. “From like-minded colleagues to courses and programs designed to support entrepreneurs, INSEAD provided the support and network that we needed as we built SPATULA while on campus. Outside of class, the single most important thing that influenced our startup’s growth and trajectory was the INSEAD Venture Competition (IVC). The competition forced us to be disciplined on building our venture so that we didn’t get lost in all of the other exciting opportunities and distractions that comes with an MBA program. On top of that, the guidance and advice that the IVC mentors, advisors, and competition organizers provided were invaluable.”

That support extends to coaching. Cecile Genty, a 2021 grad and McKinsey hire, commends the one-on-one coaching she received through INSEAD’s career development center. Such support, she adds, is also given to INSEAD teams, to help them work on the communication hitches common to highly diverse and accomplished teams.

“We had the opportunity to work with a personal leadership coach, both as individuals and as a working group. At the beginning of the program, we spent four months working with the same team. Occasionally, some issues or tensions would arise. Our coach knew us as members of the group and would analyze the dynamics within the group during our meetings. From there, our coach would schedule individual time in private with us. These coaches offer a safe place and know us deeply, as we were asked to share our personal story with them. My coach, Martin Vera, is a deep and wise man who always understood what happened beyond the words. He helped me to understand my behavior patterns and what triggered my reactions, so I knew how to handle some specific situations (based my characteristics and who I am).”


Along with diversity and support, academic excellence ranks among INSEAD’s biggest draws. The faculty resembles an All-Star lineup. Erin Meyer and Gianpiero Petriglieri rank among the world’s most influential business thinkers according to Thinkers50. And Henning Piezunka and Wesley Wu-Yi Koo are up-and-comers who may someday join them. However, INSEAD’s marquee names remain W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, who developed the fabled Blue Ocean Strategy. The opportunity to learn from these luminaries was too much to pass up for Sakina Esufally.

“As the competition in, and demands of, business become ever more fierce, the idea that businesses can shed short-termist aspirations and look at longer term value creation through market expansion and sharp consumer focus is an inherently compelling one. I am fascinated by what would happen if businesses focus on sustainable growth that improves the health of markets, societies and consumer offerings simultaneously. INSEAD is the home of Blue Ocean and the ability to steep in the learnings of global experts is an extremely attractive promise.”

Last year, The Financial Times ranked INSEAD as the top MBA program in the world, as the school earned its highest marks in alumni recommendations, value for the money, international course experience, and corporate social responsibility. What are other school strengths that aren’t as widely-known? What are some new initiatives in the pipeline that will enhance the MBA experience? And what are the most popular electives and clubs at the school? This fall, P&Q sat down with Katy Montgomery, associate dean of degree programmes at INSEAD, to discuss these questions and others. Here are her written responses on the state of the program.

INSEAD Classroom


P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?


New Electives, Integrating ‘Digitalisation And Technology’ And ‘COVID’-Theme Into Curriculum

“INSEAD prides itself on continuous innovation. The school’s curriculum is updated in line with significant trends and demand from prospective and current students. We accelerated our work on developing and offering courses that reflect major overarching themes we saw before COVID-19, such as ‘digitalization and technology’ or ‘sustainability’.

INSEAD’S Katy Montgomery

We have enriched our curriculum by integrating more of these topics into core courses and electives and added more elective courses such as Integrating Performance and Progress, Sustainable Finance, a course about Technology Transfer together with CERN, and many more. A new elective on diversity, equity and inclusion was launched and taught by Professor Zoe Kinias, for MBA and MiM students in May 2021.

Some fundamental changes in courses driven by the move to online were related to communication and negotiation courses (how to be effective via Zoom). We introduced advanced negotiation courses and a specialization in online negotiation that also have applications for the job search process.  In the core courses some professors have adapted the cases to the COVID-19 situation. For example, in Process and Operations Management, one of INSEAD’s 13 core courses taught by Professor Prashant Yadav, he has used healthcare and the COVID-19 crisis as new examples of Operations Management concepts.

Enriched Our Life-Long Learning Offerings

We have also enriched our life-long learning offering for alumni and current students with content relevant to the disruptions as well as the opportunities created by COVID-19. In today’s rapidly-changing business environment, lifelong learning is essential for the sustained success and growth of our alumni so they can be a force for good in the world. We curate new impactful online and in-person learning experiences throughout the year.

For examples, please refer to Alumni – Lifelong Learning | INSEAD.”

P&Q: What are the two biggest differentiating features of your MBA program? How do each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students?


INSEAD Abu Dhabi Campus

Unparalleled Diversity In The Classroom

“At INSEAD, we have always championed diversity in our faculty as well as in the classroom. We have 168 professors from 41 nationalities. Each MBA cohort at INSEAD is highly diverse. Last year’s class profile consisted of 88 nationalities. We consider this diversity a powerful learning tool.

International Presence And Global Partnerships

INSEAD has four learning locations around the world in France, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and San Francisco. Our students and participants can take advantage of our international footprint when deciding to add a global component to their MBA experience. In addition, students can choose to complete a campus exchange with one of INSEAD’s many partners, including Wharton and Kellogg in the US and CEIBS in China. Learning to lead across different cultures and geographies is critical to success in this global world. Our locations and partnerships offer INSEAD participants opportunities to broaden their horizons and develop nuanced perspectives on the complex, multiple, and often inter-related challenges in global business and societies worldwide.”

P&Q: In recent years, there have been several areas that have gained increased prominence in business school programming, including STEM, analytics, artificial intelligence and digital disruption. How does your full-time MBA program integrate these concepts across its curriculum?


Virtual Reality – Immersive Learning Experiences, Adapted To COVID Times

“INSEAD has been offering new experiential, immersive and innovative learning via virtual reality (VR). In October 2020, MBA students taking Professor Guillaume Roels’ Competitive Supply Chains elective went on a virtual reality trip to the factory floor for an unparalleled lean operations experience on campus.  Virtual reality brings immersive learning experiences which allow the students to learn at a much faster rate than when reading traditional case studies.

Extensive Number Of Electives On AI And Digital Disruption

We offer an extensive number of electives relating to AI and disruption. To name a few: Analytics and AI For Responsible Management; Data Science for Business; Digitization Challenges; Banking 2.0; AI Strategy for Start-ups and C-Suites; Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategy; Digital Entrepreneurship; Digital Transformation of Society, Industries and Companies; FinTechs; Service‐as‐Strategy: Competing Through Services In a Digital World; Social Media Analytics; Technology & Innovation Strategy; and Technology Venturing Practicum.

INSEAD students gathering after class

P&Q: What have you learned during the pandemic and the shift to hybrid or remote learning and how will this impact the MBA experience going forward?

KM: “It would a rapid and seamless shift to online teaching.

INSEAD has a teaching and learning culture where no one pedagogical tool is preferred over another. Innovations are very much encouraged and celebrated. This paid off in our very quick shift online in the early days of the pandemic.

As we swung to online learning, there were many faculty who were already using flipped class models, regularly polling students, using simulations, and capitalising on other apps to augment the in-class experience.

We had also already moved to Zoom several months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a tool for remote work so the new classroom “space” was already familiar to faculty who had to digitalize their courses.”

Next Page: Profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2022