Melloney Daye Awit
“A true poet armed like a quant, I enjoy telling number-backed stories to identify solutions.”
Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Fun Fact About Yourself: I inadvertently taught myself how to code when I was 13 because I wanted to personalize and beautify my MySpace profile – goes to show a strong motive goes a long way!
Undergraduate School and Major: Ateneo de Manila University, Master and BS in Applied Math major in Mathematical Finance, minor in Economics
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Bain & Company, Manager (Advanced Analytics Group)
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? Despite the pandemic closing physical borders across countries around the world, it has also ironically created levers for increased cross-country collaboration and cross-border growth. Suddenly, people are working more closely and more frequently with clients and colleagues halfway around the world. Meanwhile, successful companies from different regions have had better opportunities to break into new markets through digital and virtual services. Ultimately, we are seeing that agile and diverse teams have become crucial to adapting to a continuously changing environment.
Against this backdrop, INSEAD positions me well for post-MBA opportunities by offering a global and diverse perspective. Such perspectives will help me develop strong cross-border leadership skills with the ability to relate, understand, and build trust-based relationships across cultures and professions. The experience of putting myself in a microcosm of the business world in a span of 10 months is the most efficient and effective way to get to know cultures, industries, and countries in a non-superficial way. That same rich experience prepares me for opportunities to work in different countries (including my home country) armed with fundamental context, the ability to cross-pollinate ideas, and the aptitude to share insight in multifaceted situations.
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? INSEAD’s emphasis on international perspectives and pedagogy was a deciding factor for me. As evidenced by its active and physical presence in Asia and the Middle East, INSEAD pushes international business education to the forefront, instead of leaving the non-Western business context at the seams.
As a consultant who helps clients across a span of different industries and geographies, having a strong international framework and knowledge base is powerful and differentiating. Further, the perspectives on businesses not only from developed countries but also from closer counterparts are vital to my long-term goal of building my entrepreneurial venture in the Philippines.
What has been your first impression of the INSEAD MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best INSEAD story so far. The INSEAD MBA students and alumni I’ve met thus far can be described as diverse, impressive, and down-to-earth. My best INSEAD story is really a collection of various conversations shared over coffee, wine, or food. These conversations have shown me how adept INSEAD has been in identifying impressive individuals who stand out in different and unexpected ways. Truly – and I say it’s hard to understand the weight and extent of this unless you experience it for yourself – you can learn so much from each person you meet at INSEAD.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? They say if it scares you and excites you, you should probably do it. The Personal Leadership Development Program (PLDP), while not optional, is something that does both for me. I look forward to intentionally investing time and effort in this program in the hopes of strengthening my leadership skills while leaning into and finding confidence in my leadership style.
The nature and design of the program will allow me to reflect on my life and leadership journey thus far; help surface themes that are important to me as an individual and as a leader; and lastly, challenge my perspectives and tendencies. I am also excited to see how my group mates and I will grow through this experience and come out stronger, better leaders.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While I can cite results from the multiple cases and projects I’ve done in the past, I have to say that at the core of my proudest moments are the trust-based relationships I’ve formed with clients and stakeholders. These relationships are won through hard work and credibility and end up being great career levers in the future.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My passion for innovation has led me to pursue careers in various fields. I’ve been a risk manager, a global fixed income analyst/trader, an independent consultant, a teacher, a fintech start-up entrepreneur, and a data scientist. I took interest in learning about different fields and domains and finding ways to cross-introduce ideas and innovations. After working alongside talented consultants at Bain, I’m convinced that to maximize my impact and reach, I need a solid business toolkit and framework that can help me harness and synthesize what I’ve learned through the years.
Beyond the above, I’ve always had my eye on pursuing an MBA because I see it as a long-term investment in my career. The strong brand of an INSEAD MBA, the breadth of its network, and the international pedagogy will help open up a wealth of opportunities for me.
After graduation, it is important for me to pursue a global career and build strong international work experience. In keeping with the desire to find work that I find authentically exciting and meaningful for me, I plan to explore some industries I am interested in during the program itself and come to a well-informed choice later on.
What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? Prospective MBAs will find it both enlightening and practical to read the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This is a good read for future leaders who will be responsible for forging success through unchartered paths, leading big and up-and-coming companies, and building strong, inclusive, and dynamic teams. This book is a persuasive read for introverts and extroverts alike, uncovering insights and evidence-based research that allow us to create better outcomes, future-forward businesses, and stronger teams.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, Wharton, and MIT Sloan
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? The MBA application to top schools, including INSEAD, is unsurprisingly very competitive. Most of the applicants will have graduated from top schools, tracked outstanding careers, and pursued meaningful extra-curricular activities. Therefore, to truly stand out, it is key for applicants to have a clear and solid story that helps them jump off the page. Find what makes you unique and own it. Aside from this and specific to INSEAD, it is important to demonstrate international inclination through the paths you’ve previously taken and the path you wish to take post-MBA. This way, it becomes undeniably clear (to you and to the admissions committee) why INSEAD will be a transformative and high-impact experience for you.
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