This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Arina Bobrova…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Arina: I was born and raised in the South of Russia, in Rostov-on-Don. For undergrad I studied Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at Southern Federal University, Rostov.
Accepted: Where are you currently in b-school? What year?
Arina: I have just graduated from INSEAD, Class of December 2016.
Accepted: Why did you choose INSEAD? What is your favorite thing about the program?
Arina: One of my close friends, a university classmate, studied business administration at INSEAD a few years ago. I witnessed his personal and professional transformation triggered by the school experience, and INSEAD has been on my mind since then. Also, INSEAD’s unique international profile appealed to me a lot because I want to stay mobile and build a career across different countries. Familiarity with diverse cultures and ability to work effectively in diverse groups is a huge professional asset in my eyes. Finally, the one-year program was another strong factor in my decision making. I knew well what I wanted to do after business school and my objective did not require a two-year program.
Accepted: Did you experience any challenges or obstacles in the application process? How did you overcome them?
Arina: Motivational essays posed the biggest challenge for me. They forced intense self-reflection. It took quite some time before the right image of who I was and who I wanted to become crystallized. I kept reading a lot of developmental literature during the application period for inspiration, and sought feedback on my writing from different people.
Accepted: What are some of your most rewarding extracurricular activities (both before entering INSEAD and current activities)? How have those activities helped shape your career?
Arina: I have always loved sports, developmental books, and traveling. Those only intensified during INSEAD. For instance, I started running and did my first half-marathon during the school time. Also, one year before the MBA program my daughter was born and she immediately topped the list of my extra-curricular activities. As for the impact of the activities on my career, I found that having versatile interests and constantly reading great business and technology literature helped me connect with incredible people who expanded my professional horizons.
Accepted: Lastly, can you share a couple of tips for those who are just starting out on their MBA application journey?
Arina: First of all, give yourself time and put real effort into thinking about your drivers in life and your long-term career destination. You may not have time for these important questions in the midst of a very rigorous MBA program. If you want to change careers, check out books that describe the process, such as “Working Identity” by Herminia Ibarra.
Next, research deeply the b-schools you short-listed: talk to alumni, attend events for applicants hosted by the schools, visit the campuses, and read all there is about them. You may find that there are only one or two schools you are really passionate about, and your genuine passion (and perhaps even feeling of belonging) will shine through your essays and show itself in interviews.
Finally, if you are hesitating between schools or you get stuck in the application process, reach out to professional MBA consultants. The best ones will give you valuable advice and put you back on track very fast.
For one-on-one guidance with your b-school application, check out our MBA Application Packages.
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