Feb 14, 2024

International Immersion@INSEAD: An exceptional blend of academic, business, and life learnings

Neha Bhatia PGPM 2023  

Learnings I’m taking away from the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM) International Immersion at INSEAD Business School.

After a rigorous year filled with learning, unlearning and practising, our class was scheduled for international immersion at the world-renowned business school INSEAD in Fontainebleau. As we left campus and headed back home, I was excited to see what was in store in France. We flew to Paris on January 15, 2024, a little bit nervous yet quite enthusiastic!

The experience at INSEAD was nothing short of wonderful. From the world-class faculty and the spectacular library to the quaint town of Fontainebleau and the opportunity to explore subjects like transformation, strategy, networking and impact, the time spent at the immersion pushed me outside of my comfort zone in more ways than one. It was all about learning, growth and expansion from the get-go!

From exploring Paris through a student’s eyes to engaging with professionals from start-ups like Juisci and Tilak Healthcare and established organisations like Orange and Linedata – the experience was a blend of academic, business, and life learnings.

As we wrap up this incredible international immersion at INSEAD, here are a few takeaways.

Key Learnings:

Strategic Thinking: Pushed beyond functional silos, delving into out-of-the-box strategic options with engaging AR/VR cases like Zanzibar Juice Bar, Lawrence Sushi Shop, and the Sankara Eye Foundation capstone project. The classes by Professor Ithai Stern were captivating! Professor Ithai Stern, in one of the strategy classes, prompted us to think outside the box when developing strategic solutions for businesses. We were encouraged to drop the “practical” approach and give ourselves space to think freely for a few moments. Not bound by practical constraints, the ideas that emerged were unique and forward looking! This is one of my key takeaways, not just for business but also as an individual. Special thanks to our mentor, Peter Couldery, for guiding us through the project.

Power of Networks & Leading Change: We explored the impact of networks with Prof Bala Vissa, personalising insights through networking style assessments. The simulation exercise led by Prof Vikas unveiled the potential for leveraging formal and informal networks to drive change. The key insight was how relationships are built on a foundation of trust, and cultivating that emotion is essential to lasting connections.

Generative AI & Digital Transformation: We witnessed the transformative power of GPT, seen in companies like Linedata and Juisci creating value-added services. Explored digital platforms and ecosystems with Prof Nathan Furr through cases like Mastercard’s transformation and Heineken’s RTM strategy. These businesses show us the potential of technology to help businesses create a wider impact on society.

Charting Your Path: Every day in a foreign country is an opportunity for unlimited possibilities. I truly feel empowered to create unique experiences and embrace personal growth.

Fun Matters: Balancing learning with fun – a mantra reinforced by the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” INSEAD was not just about education; it was a lot of learning and a whole lot of fun! Exploring French cuisine through croissants, baguettes and some delicious ‘vin chaud’ and French culture through monuments like Musee d’Orsay and Chateau de Fontainebleau were experiences to remember!

PS: when in Fontainebleau, don’t forget to rent a bike and cycle around the beautiful town!

As I sign off from the one-year PGPM, I am grateful to SPJIMR and INSEAD, and I convey my heartfelt thanks to the accompanying team from SPJIMR, including Prof. Sapna Malya, Academic Manager Trupti Vyas, and International Relations Manager Rashi B. The INSEAD team of Pierre Chamand and Rebeka Toth were amazing programme managers and ensured a seamless and enriching experience for the entire batch of students.

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