“Globalization cannot be taken for granted”. This is probably one of the biggest takeaways from the International Political Analysis classes I had during my P3 at the INSEAD’s Asia Campus. In this course, Professor Michael Witt—born in Germany, earned his PhD in the US, settled in Singapore—taught us frameworks and led us through case discussions that would help us not only to understand the world better but also to become better leaders in international contexts. Beyond the formal training, a global well-connected network is also a key element when it comes to internationalization. And it is during this summer that I am witnessing what represents “for the World” at INSEAD.
INSEAD Asia Campus, Singapore
The ultimate determinant of globalization is politics (another key takeaway from the same class). Despite the increasing debate about visa restrictions/easing here and there, the INSEAD students from the same cohort as me are all over the globe. If you throw a dart at the world map, chances are that there will be an MBA candidate from the 15D class. And I am amazed to witness this dynamic. It is true that visa requirements are set by sovereign countries (a clear evidence of the relationship between politics and globalization) and as foreigners we agree to abide to the rules of another state and have to ensure that we meet the requirements of this or that country. However, in spite of bureaucracy, many friends were visa sponsored to run projects in many different places.
Undoubtedly, some places attract more people than others. For example, there is relatively large number of students spending the summer in the Silicon Valley (including one of my teammates from France) and another in London (including a few Brazilians). It also is possible to find friends in, let’s say, places less known as MBA’s destinations including Tokyo (where one of the best friends I made at INSEAD ended up going). For many reasons, Singapore is on the list of places that attract a large number of students seeking summer internship. First, the city has a very active startup scene. Second, the city is a hub of the region and home to many big companies’ headquarters in Southeast Asia. Third, Singapore, a country that is always very well-ranked in the Global Competitiveness Index, has a very simple and efficient process that allows students from top schools to pursue their summer internship in the country.
I found an interesting and entrepreneurial project in Singapore, so I choose to spend at least part of my summer in the city-state. Initially, I thought that working in another country for a company with two INSEAD alumni, neither of them Singaporean, was already representing a lot of “for the World”. However, as I started working, I began brainstorming how to take the service the company offers to Brazil, form local partners in the country, and so on and so forth. I became amazed once again by the fact that “for the World” could represent even more than I originally thought. Doing my research, I came across an INSEAD alumnus in Brazil who served as one of the key possible partners we identified. This made forming connections much easier. The fact that he is an INSEAD alumnus made a tremendous difference to my project.
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
So far, that is a little bit of what “for the World” has become for me. But, to be honest, I believe that “for the World” can stand for different things for other students and that it can still take a different shape for me.