Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class Of 2023

90 nationalities.

Four locations around the world.

An intense and transformative 10-month MBA program.

This is INSEAD – “The Business School for the World.” It’s a place where no country is a majority, so no student is ever a minority. Here, students not only navigate differences, they learn to use them to gain approval, identify blind spots, and compete globally. Call it the C-suite training ground, where students immerse themselves in diversity every day. They learn to listen and observe as well as to think holistically and globally.

For this reason, the summer group joined INSEAD last August. Today, leadership requires an understanding of cultural values ​​and nuances – and the ability to speak to them. That requires openness and humility—not to mention engaging with a variety of perspectives and practices from around the world. in the past few years, Juliette Cream has worked to gain such notoriety. After growing up in France, Cremel studied at Harvard before taking up client management and business development positions in San Francisco and London respectively. Imbued with a “Western European” mindset, Cremel recognized that she needed to explore more cultures before she could eventually run a multinational company. With so many cultures under one roof, she believed joining the Class of 2023 at INSEAD would allow her to “bridge that gap.”

“In the professional world it is very valuable to have people from different backgrounds at the decision table; You will challenge your perspective and bring a different point of view.”


Cremel’s classmate, Eric Husny, left Lebanon for similar reasons. In his experience, “practices and thinking styles can vary greatly from market to market.” In an INSEAD classroom, he notes, he was able to interact with peers operating in a variety of industries and markets, which gave him “perspectives and context.” , which it would not obtain in a more homogeneous environment. Julia Schultz goes one step further. She describes INSEAD as a simulation of a global business environment.

“The special thing about the program is that so many perspectives are bundled in one place.”

INSEAD isn’t just a collection of countries, explains Chris Poldoian, a 22-year-old graduate and sommelier. He jokes that the question “where are you from” rarely gets a single answer at INSEAD. That’s because diversity “runs deeper than just someone’s passport,” notes Poldoian.

“I’ve met ex-jazz guitarists, documentary filmmakers and social media analysts, military veterans and more. Nobody here is defined by one thing – not their pre-MBA job, not their nationality, not their extracurricular activities.”

INSEAD has been ranked as the best European unicorn university by Sifted, a European tech news outlet. It has 18 actual unicorn ventures and 25 probable unicorns. courtesy photo


However, Poldoian concedes that INSEAD can sometimes feel like a “United Nations Summit”. The internationality of the program is evident in each class, where the professors use the diverse cultural backgrounds and political beliefs of the students to draw deeper and broader perspectives on different issues. Notably, more than a third of INSEAD cases involve non-US companies — a far cry from US business schools, according to Poldoian. In addition, he adds, INSEAD requires students to be proficient in three languages ​​and keeps each nationality at 10 percent of the class. As a result, MBAs will be uncomfortable starting out, leading to teams banding together to support each other during the transition. This experience pays off regardless of where students choose to live or what they hope to do.

“The true value of an MBA program is in its student body, notes Poldoian. “There is no better environment that will challenge you to lead complex teams and force you to have some tough conversations across cultures, countries and languages. INSEAD not only promotes its diversity, but actively encourages its students to explore the value of leading and managing diverse teams…. Every time I’m the only native English speaker in a study group or suffer a resounding defeat in a foreign policy debate, I’m reminded of how valuable this year has been.”

Nana Yaw Kyere – The best of Nana Yaw Kyere reflects Poldoian’s feelings. The Ghanaian likens his INSEAD experience to “two pairs of irons sharpening each other”. By this he means that differences – and the questions and scrutiny that they inspire – only enrich learning and build everyone’s confidence. Every moment counts at INSEAD and every perspective can change someone else’s worldview. That’s one reason why, in the words of Lara Gruering“Every conversation at INSEAD is a transformative experience.” In addition, it offers a global and diverse network that covers all industries, functions and geographies.

“Not only do we have the opportunity to learn about some of the most challenging and exciting business problems of our time across industries, we also have a unique opportunity to address them as a group of extraordinarily diverse people,” writes Gruering. “The study groups at INSEAD are a unique opportunity to look at current business issues from multiple angles, be it the acceleration of digital transformation, the rise of decentralized finance or the growth of social enterprises in emerging markets. Not only are we strengthening our team building skills, we are also learning to do so with people who are both culturally and professionally invaluably different from us.”


Gruering herself is a Parisian brand marketer who spent a year abroad in Iran studying the country’s burgeoning consumer market. You will find many students like her in the class of 2023: unique, gifted, and accomplished. Take Melloney Daye since. Her “passion for innovation” led her to try her hand in numerous fields: “risk manager, global fixed income analyst/trader, independent consultant, teacher, fintech startup entrepreneur and data scientist.” Compare that to the UK Jack Arkwright – the self-proclaimed “pied piper of Myanmar”. Awkwright, who majored in Russian as an undergraduate, co-founded and built one of Myanmar’s leading pest control companies – despite “knowing nothing” about the industry and having never even visited the country before. At the same time, Juliette Cremel boasts of a CV that belies her youth.

“My biggest achievement was creating a startup accelerator and incubator in Paris at the age of 22 when I was hired by Founders Factory to lead the opening of their Paris office with newly appointed CEO Albin Serviant,” she tells P&Q . “It has been an amazing experience of being able to handle all aspects of starting a business, from recruiting to administration – as well as startup sourcing. Even though the company didn’t survive the COVID crisis, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and resilience.”

Speaking of startups — and resilience — Eric Husny has quite a story to tell. He co-founded a startup,, in his native Lebanon. He soon learned that bad news always comes in threes. In his case, his time was swallowed up by COVID, a free fall of national banks and a Beirut port explosion. In particular, the financial crisis caused half of business investments to “disappear”. The explosion in Beirut not only killed 218 people, but also “vaporized” their offices and homes. These setbacks didn’t stop Husny’s team from staying the course.

“My co-founders made the decision to leave Lebanon, as did most of our employees, and we slowly built a working system back up once everyone was ready and fit to get back to work,” explains Husny. “Thanks to the team’s efforts, we finally managed to sell the company. Looking back, I am very proud of how we handled things.”

An INSEAD MBA startup tops this year’s list of the 100 Best-Funded MBA Startups of 2022, the first time a school outside the United States has topped the list. courtesy photo


Hiro Herfert can tell a similar story. Before joining INSEAD, Herfert was a senior consultant at EY-Parthenon, preventing an electronics company from going bankrupt – an effort that saved the jobs of over a thousand employees. Fast forward to Ghana, where Nana Yaw Kyere Opare-Anim conducted the inventory for Nestle’s Central and West Africa region. As head of the company’s supply chain during COVID, he delivered record (and near-perfect) service despite a 50% surge in demand – earning him the 2021 Nestlé Supply Chain Star Award. Hadel Jaradat headed the facilities management unit in Rawabi City – which she describes as “the first planned Palestinian city and largest private sector project in Palestinian history”. Their unit consisted of seven departments and 130 employees who did everything from plumbing to housekeeping. And let’s just tell you how word of their achievements got around.

“I was on a 60 Minutes show in 2021.”

Guest Andguladze also caused a sensation at 26. She became the youngest loan officer at the European Investment Bank. Last year, she led the Urgent Solidarity Support Package, which provided $668 million in support to Ukraine after the Russian invasion. That wasn’t her only major contribution to banking

“At the EIB, I developed the first split-portfolio guarantees signed with banks in Georgia, Ukraine and Palestine to facilitate the financing of several start-up ideas,” she adds. In the future I would like to use this experience and set up the first guarantee agency in Georgia. The agency would improve access to finance for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises by providing banks with risk-sharing tools, and would help strengthen Georgia’s economic resilience in preparation for EU accession.”

Looking for star power in the class of 2023? Jack Arkwright once auditioned with Emma Watson for a role in the Harry Potter film series. He even founded a hockey club in Myanmar – even though the country’s record low temperature was 45 degrees! At the same time, Juliette Cremel pursued her dream job off the beaten track: “[Getting] paid to swing upside down on a 20 foot trapeze and catch people throwing themselves at me in midair!”


“I left Founders Factory Paris in September 2020 to pursue my lifetime dream of getting a circus teacher certification, which led me to work full-time as a circus teacher in a high-end resort in Greece for 5 months. While this experience taught me a lot, it also made me realize that I wanted to bring my passion and entrepreneurial skills together to start my own business and bring circus arts as a practice to a wider audience. That is what led me to do an MBA.”

Next page: Interview with the INSEAD leadership

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