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Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2020

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Grace Su Lei Naing, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2020

Grace Su Lei Naing, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2020

Age: 28
Hometown: Yangon, Myanmar
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Melbourne; Bachelor of Commerce, major in Finance and Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3.5, Monitoring and Evaluation, Non-profit management

Why business school? Why now?
I am passionate about applying business acumen to drive innovation, scale, efficiency, and address societal issues. My role for the past three years has been to qualify, quantify, and evaluate the impact of varying products and services offered by the social enterprise.

This unique role has allowed me to have an understanding on what works and does not, for a social enterprise to operate at scale. Through the rigorous academic program and the networks that I made at INSEAD, I hope to better articulate and understand 1) the underlying trade-offs in running an efficient and impactful organization, 2) finding and allocating capital for impact, and 3) innovations that are taking place in other parts of the world.

Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose INSEAD for its diversity, international outlook, the program design (10-month intensive program), academic rigor, and the strong alumni network.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
My atypical background. I have a grounded experience of working in a frontier market (Myanmar), insight on applying business practices to create impact (social enterprise), and my ‘glocal’ outlook. I believe that such diversity will enrich group discussions, learning, and exchange of ideas.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
My newfound interest in surfing, accompanied by my crippling talent at it.

Post-MBA career interests?
Allocation of capital for impact, development bank, organizations that reach bottom of the pyramid customers, management consulting for impact

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process
Connect with the alumni network to learn more about the program, either in-person or via Linkedin. It is very helpful to have an insight on the culture, what it means to be part of the alumni network, and the application process.

–One thing you would change or do differently
Have a balanced workplan to prepare for the GMAT—it is not possible to cram the hours at the last minute. During the last month, I scheduled 1.5 hours of study time before work, and did it consistently every weekday. It was a lot more effective than the irregular study patterns I had prior (e.g. studying for 6 hours at one go and not studying at all for a few days due to other commitments).

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Spend more time on selecting the right MBA program for you and apply to those handful of schools (for my case I applied to just one business school—INSEAD). You can use the time to focus on the application that is tailored to the program of your choice.

What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
Dynamic, international outlook (e.g. you will find alumni in most cities around the world), people who are career-focused but also have fun interests out of work, energetic, and helpful.

One thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
The people! You meet really “quirky” people that you would not expect in a business school e.g. fighter pilots, professional solders, and athletes.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The pace of academic rigor during the first four months.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Meaningfully connect with like-minded people.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.