Balancing different interests


As an INSEAD alumnus in Singapore, I tend to receive a fair number of requests for help from current and incoming students, alumni/classmates and partners.

Specifically, when it comes to requests for getting a job in my workplace or with local companies I’m connected to, I’ve decided I can help with certain things.

The baseline is that I will help you get your foot through the door. I will forward your CV to the relevant decision makers and mention that you are a fellow INSEADer. If I’ve worked with you before, I’d be happy to add a few good words. I’ve already done so for two classmates I’ve worked with.

If time permits, I can also share with applicants (those interested in joining my organisation) some of my insights on the working culture and career prospects, and the wider context of the health and public sectors. So far I’ve done this with at least 3 people (a current student and 2 partners).

On the other hand, I also have to balance my desire to help INSEADers with the needs of my organisation and the public sector. Remember that I’m wearing two hats now - that of a fellow INSEADer and a prospective employer. So I need to know how you can contribute to our cause, not just how you hope to benefit from getting a job with us. I need to believe you’re serious about contributing and aren’t using us as a short-term stepping stone.

I say this partly because of recent experience shared by an alumnus who has experienced this attitude with other INSEAD grads. It saddens me, because our reputation deserves better than that. Even if we have MBAs, it doesn’t mean we’re automatically entitled to a cushy job - we have to prove our worth through our actions.

So I too will be more discerning in who I refer, and how much I will stick my neck out. In any case, our hiring process is fair, so if you’re the best fit, you will get the offer on your own merit. And that’s probably the best outcome for all of us.

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