Meet the MBA Class of 2022: James Atkinson, INSEAD

James Atkinson


“Inquisitive, energetic, adventurous, open-minded, and passionate about sports, food, and travel.”

Hometown: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a former professional tennis player and competed in over 30 countries.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Exeter, Arabic and Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Consulting, Manager

INSEAD is one of the most culturally and professionally diverse MBA programs in the world. How do you see these global perspectives enhancing the value of your business education over the next year? INSEAD brings together international multicultural experience and appreciates the richness and value of differences. I believe the fact that we are all human and unique really matters and that these global perspectives will enhance my ability to see things differently, to offer insights into difficult challenges, and to build positive working relationships.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of INSEAD’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The 10 month accelerated program and exchange opportunities to Singapore and the US were key in choosing INSEAD. In addition, the school’s faculty and innovative thinking have a fantastic reputation.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? It is hard to choose from the 43 available clubs but I favour The Student Impact Fund because of my interest in VC/PE. This is a hands-on investment initiative where students have the opportunity to invest for positive impact with the guidance of professors and industry professionals. The club partners with an external VC fund to source, invest, and advise.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Representing Deloitte Netherlands as part of a 30+ international Deloitte team in the largest European digital telecom transformation, with a value of >€1bn over 5-7 years.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general?  COVID-19 allowed time for reflection; to appreciate being closer to family and the comforts afforded by technological advances. I look forward to more in-person contact with colleagues but I am grateful for the possibility to conduct more meetings virtually and reduce commuting.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? With six years of international experience across industries, it was the right time to pursue an INSEAD MBA to deepen my grasp of current issues such as finding ways to work in concert with new technologies, and how sustainability and purpose are ever more important elements at the heart of businesses. I believe these opportunities will support my short-term aspiration of additional responsibility in consulting. My long-term aspiration is to lead an international company or start my own business.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied and was accepted to three other leading schools but INSEAD was always my first choice.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? Be yourself and have confidence in your personal and professional achievements.