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Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021

Abdellah Safi, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021

Age: 33
Hometown: Agadir, Morocco
Undergraduate Institution and Major: École Polytechnique de Montréal, Bachelor in Mechanical engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I worked seven years in civil engineering project management

Why business school? Why now?
My long-term career goal, which is entrepreneurship, requires a substantial amount of networking as well as a great set of general management skills. Business school is a natural choice. I feel there needs to be a balance of work experience and youthful energy to get the best outcome from Business school and this feels like the right age for me.

Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Many factors played a role in my decision making. INSEAD’s multiple campus structure of course is one of them. I believe I will be able to gain exposure to industry leaders in France, Singapore, and Abu-Dhabi.

During my application, I sensed the strength of the alumni network when I have spoken to many of them. They were supportive helpful and provided me helpful insights on the MBA program as well as on my targeted professional sector, which help me build comfort in my choices.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
In hindsight, I do not feel I am that differentiated as everyone here has a pretty unique mix of backgrounds and experiences. However, my experiences in construction sites in North Africa, France, and Canada will be my two cents to the class.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I left out an optional essay and forgot to return to it.

Post-MBA career interests?
Entrepreneurship is definitely my post-MBA career interest. My choices of INSEAD and Singapore, which is constantly ranked as one of the best cities to start a business in, will be of great help.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?

Starting the process of application very early so I can have plenty of time reflecting before starting to write my essays.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
DON’T FORGET my optional essay.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Waiting for the email or the call that announces the results.

What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
Very fun and interesting people. Everything that is said about diversity is true, we do not have dominant citizenship.

One thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
The purpose of the foundation of INSEAD was to bring European citizens to do business together in a post-World-War-Two world. The three languages policy was already established and mandatory, and courses were in French, English, and German.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Academics being really tight due to a late start because of COVID.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am really excited to make lifelong friendships.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2021, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: INSEAD

About the Author


Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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