Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Karolina Adamkiewicz, INSEAD

Karolina Adamkiewicz


“Fiercely determined and hard-working when necessary. Fun-loving and adventurous at other times. Always loyal.”

Hometown: Warsaw, Poland

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I love horse riding and will take any opportunity I can to get on a horse, despite a couple incidents involving broken bones and a concussion. I even rode a few times with a splint on my thumb (and I skied like that too).

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Cambridge (BA in Neuroscience), King’s College London (Medicine), Medical University of Warsaw (PhD)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Doctor in Britain’s National Health Service (Registrar in Cardiology and Acute Medicine in London)

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? The INSEAD MBA is a highly interactive course where class participation is encouraged. I believe that this where the magic truly happens, when everyone brings their own unique perspective to the table and then those discussions continue outside the classroom. We can all learn something from each other and hopefully collectively come up with a couple of great ideas that cross the boundaries between our respective fields and cultures. Additionally, the fact that most INSEAD students don’t just come from one place or have already experienced living in other counties means that everyone has developed their own individual blended culture and narrative, which makes this experience even more unique.

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? I felt like I needed to be taken out of my comfort zone, so I was drawn to the fact that INSEAD offers an accelerated one-year MBA programme, which is known to be intense and fully immersive. If I stayed in London for Business school, I don’t think my daily routine would have changed that much. My recent move to Fonty was a disruptor in my life that I’m hoping will allow me to fully engage with the amazingly diverse group of people who have been brought together to take part in this year-long journey.

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. All the INSEAD students and alumni that I have met so far have been incredibly open about their experiences and very generous with their time. I already feel like everyone is passionate, gives their all to everything that they do and genuinely wants to be a force for good in the world.

There were quite a few of us incoming MBA students who were based in London, so we have organised a couple of meetups before arriving on campus. On one occasion, one of the girls in our group bumped into her friend who went to INSEAD a few years ago, and it turned out he was having reunion drinks with his INSEAD year group. Essentially, it seemed like INSEAD incoming students and alumni had completely taken over this small pub in Notting Hill, and the atmosphere was great.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at INSEAD? I’m excited to join both the Healthcare Club and the Family Business Club. I have recently left clinical practice and the realities of practicing medicine in a system where it feels like we are no longer providing the quality of care that our patients deserve. As a result, I am very keen to exchange ideas with other students who have worked across the healthcare and pharma space about innovative solutions to improve both the patient and doctor experience.  I am hoping that the family Business Club will expose me to other students who are also facing the prospect of taking over a family business and carving out the right role for themselves in it. INSEAD is particularly strong when it comes to research on family enterprises, and I am also looking forward to taking that elective and to learning from people who have spent years observing family business and business family dynamics.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m proud of how I have handled myself during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those were some of the hardest on-calls filled with emergency buzzers and difficult conversations with patients and their relatives – all made worse by the constant anxiety about the number of available intensive care unit beds. I am glad that despite these unprecedented difficulties, I didn’t stop fighting and advocating for my patients. I also worked to support the effort against COVID in Poland, where I brought together a diverse group of medical experts to help develop collaborative guidelines on triaging and managing patients with COVID.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)? In the long-term I would like to get involved in running my family’s pharmaceutical business. That includes carrying on with its international expansion to new markets and to continue to developing it as a socially responsible company that regards patients’ health and well-being as its top priority. In the medium-term, I would like to work in the healthcare industry or consulting to help me acquire the necessary skills for my long-term goal.  Overall, I would like to have a varied, challenging and exciting career that will allow me to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to INSEAD. The plan was that if I didn’t get in, I would start applying to my backup schools and improvising.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into INSEAD’s MBA program? Really think about which stories you are going to tell to help answer each question – be honest and pick the ones that really show who you are as a person.


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