Meet the INSEAD MBA class in 2022

Mark Twain described the trip as “fatal to prejudice”. For Twain, broad views could not be developed “vegetating in a small corner of the earth.” Instead, they needed exposure, to step away from comfort and accept the awkwardness of a beginner. In essence, traveling requires the curiosity to explore, the humility to listen, and the courage to embrace. It means being engaged in the present moment, learning and connecting.

It is the spirit of INSEAD, called “the business school for the world”. Located in France, INSEAD is a place where nationalities, traditions, industries and visions of the world intersect. After all, as the saying goes, “everyone is a minority in INSEAD”. This dynamic lends itself, over time, to being flexible and inclusive, seeking compromises and producing holistic solutions that deliver the greatest value to the greatest number of stakeholders. This broader and deeper perspective can only be achieved when MBA students experience diversity every minute of every day.


This lesson was internalized long ago by Chris Poldoian, a wine consultant who was the youngest person ever to be selected for Wine lover‘s 40 List of under 40s. Joined in July, Poldoian equates the INSEAD experience with Twain’s travel vision: to truly understand something, you need to visit the sites and live with the people who will ultimately be your customers and employees.

“Ask any sommelier: the best way to learn more about a wine region is to interact with foreign winemakers and visit their vineyards,” writes Poldoian. “It is not enough to plunge your head into a manual on the Moselle, you have to see the region’s steep sites and touch the sun-drenched shale with your hands. If I’ve learned anything from meeting the Corbières winegrowers, Basque cider growers and Vayots Dzor winegrowers, it’s that exposure to people, places and ideas is the best catalyst for discovering new ways. to do business and communicate. ideas. In this increasingly globalized market, good business requires empathy and mutual understanding. INSEAD understands this better than anyone. There is an incredible energy that comes from bringing together such different backgrounds in one room, working towards the same goal. ”

Poldoian classmate, Maria geagea, applies a different metaphor to the INSEAD experience. She returns to a famous photo of Prince William of the United Kingdom. From the front, he was holding three fingers to indicate the number of children he had. Seen from the side, the prince seemed to be making an obscene gesture. For Geagea, this meant the need to seek multiple perspectives to avoid misunderstandings.

“I see each INSEAD classroom as a series of the same photo. Cultural and professional diversity would enrich conversations and discussions by offering new perspectives that I don’t think I can anticipate. This would allow me to go further in my reflection and my analysis than the limits defined by my background and my experience.

INSEAD students on its San Francisco campus


In fact, you will find 70-90 nationalities at INSEAD, with each class organized so no more than 10% of the students belong to the same group. On top of that, the class has students from diverse backgrounds, something that opened up Constance Noziereeyes on many new “perspectives and approaches”. Originally from New York, Noziere certainly grew up surrounded by different cultures and has moved many times. Such experiences pushed her to grow – and the structure of the INSEAD program only accelerated her.

“I am excited to learn from the global perspectives that permeate INSEAD,” says Noziere. “For the first two months, we are divided into study groups of about five people. INSEAD intentionally makes these groups as diverse as possible and I have heard time and time again from alumni that these study groups have taught them some of their most important lessons in terms of working across cultures and resolving differences, preparing them well for the global workforce.

One lesson: Always look at a situation from someone else’s perspective, especially employees and peers. “You become more open-minded, you learn to question your own assumptions constructively and you better appreciate the value of different contributions,” explains Maria lia magni, McKinsey analyst based in Italy before joining the class of 2022. “Mediating between different work styles and cultures can be difficult at times, but with experience you can come to see the benefits of these types of diversity and overcome the challenges . INSEAD can be a valuable framework in which to put these skills into practice.


It is also a place where students can develop a global vision, critically examine how they live and work while creating a global network that can extend to anyone and anywhere. Scale is one of INSEAD’s perks, with summer and winter promotions attracting over 1,000 students per year. Although INSEAD is anchored in France, it offers a truly international experience with campuses in Abu Dhabi, Singapore and San Francisco. To reinforce the truly global nature of the INSEAD experience, the school requires fluency in English and intermediate fluency in a second language – with students expected to master the basics of a third language before graduation. . Make no mistake: INSEAD is fast and intense. Lasting ten months, INSEAD simulates the tight schedules and conflicting demands of high-level international executives, according to Katy Montgomery, the school’s associate dean for degree programs.

“INSEAD really prepares the MBA for the global collaboration and increased expectations that lie ahead,” Montgomery told P&Q in 2019. Such a diverse place. I think with the future of work – with the gig economy, volatility and uncertainty – I don’t know of any band that would be better able to handle this. They take care of that every day. They are in this 10 month program across campuses dealing with diversity. Meanwhile, they search for a job, work with a personal leadership development coach, and go hiking. These people can handle a lot of things, but they can also handle not being perfectly structured. This is where we are going and it is an amazing skill to have.

Speaking of amazing skills, you’ll find them surplus to the July cohort. Before James atkinson Having become a manager at Deloitte Consulting, he played professional tennis, visiting 30 countries along the way. He was also the representative of Deloitte Netherlands in the context of the great transformation of telecommunications in Europe. In the same way, Bruno Lucas was a professional badminton player who made a similar transition to become a business unit manager. It was an easy path, as he mastered his competitive nature. Over time, this change has been his greatest professional achievement.

“In the short term, a career change from sport to business can be difficult and intimidating. But in the long run, being a former athlete is a real advantage because the synergies between the two are obvious. Both require dedication, resilience, and the ability to continuously progress and meet challenges.

INSEAD MBA students


Athletics has become a passion project for Amanda Michel, a Swiss national champion weightlifter who competed in the Olympics. With a degree in hospitality management, she helped launch the Swiss Alpine Battle, which has become a popular event on the CrossFit circuit, attracting the sport’s top athletes from 17 countries. The event also represented Michel’s greatest exposure to leadership, one that forced her to develop her own style… often through trial and error.

“This sport was not my profession, but the lessons I learned from leading and managing an international event, as well as building and managing the organizational structure that supported it, have continued. impacted every aspect of my life, ”she writes. “It made me realize that what mattered more to me than anything else was testing my limits and growing learning from other people who were further along on their journey than I was on mine. It strengthened my awareness. of myself. It made me more humble. Most of all, it helped me realize that by learning through new experiences, especially shared ones, I could become better at creating positive effects both in my life. life and in the lives of others.

The large-scale classroom experiences will certainly produce fascinating class discussions. Felix Bataille, a supply chain engineer, spent two years in India building a car factory “from scratch”. In Italy, Maria Lia Magni ran a youth employment training program that helped 50 students find jobs in the first six months (and grew to several hundred after three years). Speaking of impact, Sri Lanka Sakina esufally worked with his country’s Minister of Health to develop COVID testing centers that keep the virus out of hospital wards.

“We partnered with the Sri Lankan Air Force to build structures capable of resisting monsoons in six weeks, harnessed natural ventilation to minimize infection, and used movable partitions to improve patient flow. To date, the tents have accommodated 200,000 patients and have the capacity to accommodate over a million by 2022. “

INSEAD campus in Fontainebleau, France


Speaking of big numbers, Constance Noziere was previously responsible for Linkedin’s offline profile page… which produces 50 million views per week. On Facebook, Tetlanyo Lekalake served as marketing manager. There she built programs in a region stretching from Africa to Turkey and supported women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Lekalake also co-founded a chapter of Black @ Facebook in Ireland, the first such internal support group outside of the United States.

“I led this group for four years, working with the rest of the team to make it a more powerful resource for departments like recruiting and sales. Most importantly, Black @ Facebook Ireland has created spaces for Facebook employees to celebrate diversity and discuss challenges related to race.

Chris Poldoian’s greatest achievement has been rooted in the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. Once a sommelier, Poldoian recalled the high rate of drug addiction and mental illness in the hospitality industry. In response, he co-founded WellWeek, a program that raised awareness and funded issues ranging from depression to responsible drinking.

“I am very proud of the mental health workshops that I have organized. I coordinated with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and MHA (Mental Health America) their staff-led seminars tailored for the hospitality industry workforce. Manager’s workshops focused on promoting a healthy work environment and identifying depression and substance abuse, while employee workshops focused on an employee’s legal rights and how manage restaurant-specific anxiety.

Next page: Interview with Katy Montgomery, Associate Dean of Diploma Programs at INSEAD

Page 3: Profiles of 12 members of the 2022 class