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Real Humans of the INSEAD MBA Class of 2023

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Tamar Bakhtadze, INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2023 

Age: 27
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Free University of Tbilisi, Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 6 years, Investment Banking

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I have been working in financial services industry in my home country for more than 5 years. Like a fair share of applicants, I’ve decided to attend business school to change two factors of my career. After graduating, I want to work in consulting and gain international experience. Moreover, I love meeting new people and learning about all the different experiences. So, at this point in my career MBA was the most logical next step to take. 

Why did you choose INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The driving factor behind my choice was my post-MBA geography preference. I knew I did not intend to work in the US after graduating, so I never applied to business schools in the US. As I have already mentioned, I had already decided I would want to transfer to consulting after graduating. Basically, coupling up those two arguments, INSEAD was a tailor-made choice for my aspirations. However, I need to stress that INSEAD’s class diversity was also a major contributing factor in my decision. I’ve always loved meeting new people, listening to their stories, and learning about their cultures and their personal journeys. I knew that INSEAD would give me an opportunity to meet like-minded people from all around the globe. 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I believe that working and being able to navigate in unpredictable environments while constantly working on self-development is a very essential skill to have. Working in a country that re-gained its independence only 31 years ago teaches you to embrace continuous uncertainty and learning. I hope to contribute to the 23J class by sharing my experiences of working in financial services in a developing country such as Georgia.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I love playing all types of Board and Trivia games. Count me in, especially if someone’s holding a Harry Potter trivia night!  

Post-MBA career interests:
From short to medium-term – strategy consulting.  I am looking for a career that will constantly challenge me to develop and broaden my knowledge and skillset by giving me exposure to various sectors. In the long-term – entrepreneurship, starting my own business in Georgia.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be genuine during the whole application process, be it for writing essays for your application or during the interviews. It is super important to find the best fitting environment for your business school, so try to be honest when sharing, and you will find the place with like-minded people. Additionally, ask questions, reach out to alumni, and learn about the community at the business school of your choice.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Nothing dramatic I would just start preparing for GMAT earlier. I studied during summer, so it wasn’t much fun.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I don’t think I would have skipped any parts. As already mentioned, I would just start preparing for GMAT earlier. Funnily enough, being in half-lockdown due to covid-19 helped and made studying during summer a bit more bearable.

What is your initial impression of the INSEAD students/culture/community?
Open-minded, eager to learn, attentive, supportive, and very diverse. Moving to a different country is always stressful, and for me, it was more difficult because I’ve lived in Georgia for my whole life. However, the openness of my classmates has made the process very smooth. I feel that even though we come from different backgrounds, one thing that unites us is our willingness to learn and grow, not only professionally but also as individuals. I feel like once you become an INSEAD admit you become a part of a very large supportive network of people all around the world.

What is one thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of students in my class are passionate about social impact, education, sustainability, climate change, and generally making the world a better place. 

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I would say the recruitment period and uncertainties leading up to it.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Learning more about my classmates, hearing their stories and traveling with them.

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.