We stepped out of the air conditioned baggage claim area and into the soft blanket of heat that quickly wrapped around us. A classmate from Nigeria said, “We just moved to Asia,” and just like that, we had.
Singapore in p3 will be good food for thought for those of us doing the Abu Dhabi module. We spent a week between our second and third periods in the United Arab Emirates, meeting with regional leaders in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and gaining context for the ambitious and impressive development plans in the UAE. From building a world-class education system, to creating free zones to attract entrepreneurs, to becoming a global leader in capital-intensive, high tech industries, the UAE is engaging in one of the most rapid, impressive, and unique nation-building exercises the world has ever seen. INSEAD is a committed partner in the process. At a dinner with INSEAD Executive MBAs in the region we met impressive INSEADers from every sector (ex-pat and emirate) who are leading UAE growth and development efforts. Of course, not all of the EMBAs in the program are working in the UAE, but all of them are impressive leaders in their industries and countries. I am struck yet again by the strength of the INSEAD network and the benefits of the knowledge exchange and connections, not just within the MBA program but across the various INSEAD programs.
And now we are starting P3 in Singapore. Our P3 classes exploring global themes and trends are the right place to dig into what we can expect from Singpore, the UAE, and perhaps more traditionally-developed nations in the future. At the same time, I am leveraging my electives to build out business plans and strategies for several start-up ideas. Critical resources in this work include INSEAD alums in both Europe and the UAE, INSEAD’s Entrepreneurs in Residence (regular visitors on campus), and of course my incredible colleagues in the program. P3 is just as much work as the first two periods, but electives allow us to focus and specialize, and—with mixed feelings—we are all looking more and more toward life after INSEAD.