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Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2022

Alexander Arguete Iskender, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2022

Age: 30
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Undergraduate Institution and Major: McGill University, Canada – B.A. Political science and economics

Why business school? Why now?
I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve had my own business for the past 6 years. I launched a spirits company – Mezcal Local, so I had the chance to see firsthand how organizations are created, work, and grow. I sold the company and looking back, there are a lot of things that I would have done differently. Business school for me is above all learning formal business skills and have the chance of seeing things from a different perspective. 

Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I am a first generation Mexican, and my parents are Turkish and Armenian. I’ve always felt like an outsider -neither from here or there. The fact that INSEAD is really an international institution has been the key factor for me. It is a place where everyone is a minority. We are all outsiders! This allows us all to be ourselves. In my opinion this culture mix is something that you cannot find in U.S. schools.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
My most valuable contribution to the 22J class is my entrepreneurship experience. Having built a business from scratch has made me go through a lot of stages: funding, creating a MVP (minimum viable product), scaling up, marketing… starting a business means you have to multitask and become an expert.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love to dance, even though I suck at it! (Maybe for French standard I’m not that bad haha, but coming from Mexico the bar is high).

Post-MBA career interests?
I am interested in getting into consulting in France or the Netherlands in the short-term. I think it would be a great way to interact with different industries and learn from different ecosystems. In 5-6 years I see myself launching a new company.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Do things with time. I applied in round 1 which means I started to do everything in January (for the September intake). Reach out to alumni and try to make sure the school fits your ambitions, and that you are a good cultural fit for INSEAD!

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Start to look for housing earlier in Fontainebleau!

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT. It was tough going back to study and managing a business at the same time specially during COVID where there was a lot of uncertainty. My exam was rescheduled a couple of times and I ended up doing the online version. My wife was super helpful when times got complicated. 

What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
Everyone is open minded and wanting to help. From the school, that helped me with the immigration papers for my wife, to the students, who are volunteering when you need something, there’s a feeling of community and support.

What is one thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
I really love how classes in the same period are interconnected: what you see in economics will completely be synchronized with what you see in probability and strategy.  It is something that I didn’t really see in my undergrad, where every class seemed like an independent program.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
To balance academics with socials. At the end we are all here to learn and to have fun. I’m still trying to figure out the right combination of both.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
To have time for myself. While working I was always involved in the day-to-day from my business. I see the MBA as an “active pause” to question what you want to do in life, figure out what are the important things to you.

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: INSEAD

About the Author

Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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