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 Hasmita Nair, who was a student at INSEAD. (We first met Hasmita two years ago – you can read our first interview with her here.)
Accepted: It’s been nearly two years since we last spoke – can you bring us up to speed? What have you been up to?
Hasmita: I’ve been up to a lot! The MBA was exhilarating and incredible, and life has moved on very quickly since then. I found a job in brand strategy consulting in London at a company called Kantar Vermeer. I’m loving working in Marketing instead of Finance, and London is treating me very well.
Accepted: Tell us about INSEAD! How was it? What was your favorite thing about the program? What was your least favorite thing?
Hasmita: INSEAD was the best experience of my life. It’s hard to explain the magnitude of the experience to anyone who wasn’t there. It was completely life-changing, from a self-development perspective more than anything else. My favorite thing was the fact that it allowed me to feel like and become a true global citizen, and with that, I feel like there are no limits as to what I’m able to achieve. Least favorite thing would be the job hunting. It was incredibly stressful, especially as a South African trying to get work sponsorship.
Accepted: At the time, cash was tight – how did you go about surviving the year on a tight budget? Can you share some tips with our readers about paying for and budgeting for b-school?
Hasmita: It was tough – especially because I wanted to travel a lot. I had a student loan from Prodigy Finance that was very helpful, and I also got a partial scholarship. I sold everything I owned, cashed out all my investments and savings and also part of my pension. It was a very expensive year. I think one needs the equivalent of tuition costs for living expenses. At the outset, the money seems overwhelming, but somehow when you’re there, it all works out. Your lifestyle adjusts – I went from weekly manicures and dinners at fancy restaurants to DIY nails and mostly cooking at home.
Accepted: What’s 10 Minutes With? What role did INSEAD play in helping you secure your internship?
Hasmita: 10 Minutes With is a platform that connects students with employers. While I was at INSEAD, I did some freelance writing for them covering details of the MBA experience.
Accepted: What’s your current job? Again, how instrumental was INSEAD in this process?
Hasmita: My current job is an Associate Director at Kantar Vermeer. I help clients realize brand led business growth through a variety of different strategic lenses. I’m having a lot of fun and learning a lot too. I was approached by the company through INSEAD – the school was definitely a key reason I got the job.
Accepted: One year MBA vs. two years – which do you think is better?
Hasmita: I have no idea how anyone affords a two year MBA. I think just the one year was very rushed content wise, and I don’t feel like I learnt that much academically. The bulk of my learning was on the softer skills – project management, relationship building, self-awareness etc. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing about my decision to do a one year MBA at INSEAD – it was everything I imagined it to be and more!
Accepted: Were you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club/extracurricular involvement?
Hasmita: I was involved in VINSEAD – the food and wine club, and we hosted monthly supper clubs. I was also part of Women in Business, but quite honestly, the course and social aspects are so jam-packed that there’s little space left to do much else.
You can follow Hasmita’s story by checking out her blog at www.joziliciousblog.co.za. Thank you again Hasmita for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.
• Paying for Your MBA: Before, During & After, on-demand webinar
• The MBA Family: A Roundup and Overview
• An Inside Look at INSEAD, podcast