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Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2022

Thanos Spiliopoulos, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2022

Age: 28
Hometown: Born and raised in Athens, Greece
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Athens University of Economics & Business, Bachelor in Management Science & Technology
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): After my graduation I worked for three years in the non-profit sector, founding “Ithaca,” my own Organization that operates a mobile laundry for homeless people and offers social and job integration services. In 2018, I transitioned to Management Consulting at Deloitte, where I worked for three years, prior to joining INSEAD.  

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
On a professional level, having worked in two very different industries, attending business school was for me a way to combine learnings, expand my business-knowledge and eventually discover how I can create economic value in a way that also creates value for the society. On a personal level, after 6 years of working in Greece, attending business school is an opportunity for me to change geographies and develop a global mindset. 

Why did you choose INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?Having attended INSEAD for an Executive Program on Social Entrepreneurship in 2016, I had already been exposed to the transformative power of engaging with diverse people from all over the world – and that played a big role in my decision. I also believe INSEAD has a genuine focus on the intersection of Business & Society, something that aligns with my future goals. Lastly, the program’s structure together with the strong alumni network in my home country, contributed to my decision to join INSEAD.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I hope to be able to contribute to the 22J class by sharing my unique experiences in social entrepreneurship and my passion for social impact. Moreover, by doing my first professional steps in a country severely hit by the financial crisis, I’ve developed my adaptability and I aspire to help my classmates do the same. 

Post-MBA career interests:
After graduation, I aim to pursue a portfolio management role focusing on the fields of healthcare and social care, in an Impact Investing organization that provides capital to address the world’s most urgent challenges.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:

– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Ask genuine input and feedback from colleagues, friends, and family to avoid getting anchored on the idea I had developed for myself. 

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
There are two things, which are correlated. Firstly, I would apply to one of the earliest rounds to maximize my chances for a scholarship and have more time to prepare for moving to France or Singapore (Surprisingly accommodation is booked even 9 months in advance). Secondly, I would have given me more time to finish the end-to-end application process, especially because I was doing it while working.

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If I could, I would have skipped the GMAT, especially during a pandemic. As exam centers were closed due to COVID-19, I had to postpone the exam for a couple of months and my preparation was disrupted. A relaxing summer holiday together with support from my company helped me get through it though.

What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
Collaborative, supportive, diverse, warm, open, and definitely fun. While I had heard about the culture from alumni and friends, the reality coming here has so far exceeded my expectations. 

What is one thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
How tight-knit and connected to the school the Alumni community is. I recently discovered that there is a pool of alumni entrepreneurs available for a chat on their area of expertise. I also had the chance to connect with alumni who come back for summer vacations in the Chateaux they used to live during their MBA, more than 10 years ago.  

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?I was supposed to start in the Asia campus and switched to Europe almost two months before the start of my program, due to the entry restrictions in Singapore. Although, this caused some changes in my planning, it was a real lesson in managing uncertainty. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Finding balance. With so many interesting things taking place, I feel challenged to balance academics, recruiting, involvement in clubs, connecting with interesting people while traveling and having fun on the same time. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning more about my classmates, connecting and having meaningful conversations with them as I believe that the diversity of the student body is as important in our learning journey as INSEAD’s faculty and research. 

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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