Our partner INSEAD is one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools which offers participants a truly global educational experience. Of particular note, INSEAD was ranked by the Financial Times as the #1 MBA programme in the world for two years in a row (2016 & 2017) and rated in 2017 the ‘Top International Business School’ in the world by Bloomberg Businessweek. We recently had the pleasure to interview their Associate Director of Development, Anna Sarr, who is also a participant of our Women Talent Pool programme! Read our interview if you are curious to learn more about her new programme, the Young Alumni Initiative, the role INSEAD plays in advocating and advancing women and gender balance, as well as her greatest influence, her mum!
Could you tell us a little bit more about your job position? What is your favourite part about your job at INSEAD?
As Associate Director of Development at INSEAD, I am in charge of engaging our MBA students and young alumni (up to 10-years post-graduation). My position has broadened and become more complex and, in the process, with three other passionate young alumni I created a new programme called the Young Alumni Initiative (YAI). It comprises a dedicated team of YAI ambassadors from around the world who form the backbone of a digital-savvy group of key stakeholders for our engagement programme and fundraising campaigns.
It has been a great opportunity for me to leverage my masters’ education in business, social and economic administration in my current responsibilities. It has given me a foundation to understand, empathise and engage with these key stakeholders. Our student and young alumni community is part of a diverse, powerful international network with 161 nationalities distributed over 174 countries. My background has also helped me in fostering a strong bond with them and in facilitating a stronger connection between this group, their classes and the school. This is definitely an interesting and enriching part of my job at INSEAD, which I am very passionate about!
You are participating in the 4th edition of our Women Talent Pool programme. What has motivated you to join the programme?
Freedom is what has motivated me to apply to the Women Talent Pool Programme. Freedom to learn every single day from success and failure, freedom to interact with people from different nationalities and backgrounds, and freedom to make an impact on people’s lives to make the world a better place. Freedom to pursue my dreams.
Being part of the WIL Women Talent Pool Programme represents the perfect next step in my advancement as a professional and a woman who is curious, eager to learn and continually seeks opportunities to help others advance.
Freedom is what has motivated me to apply to the Women Talent Pool Programme.
Freedom to learn every single day from success and failure, and freedom to make an impact on people’s lives to make the world a better place.
You have now been working at INSEAD for over seven years, which is also a partner of WIL. Do you feel empowered to work in an environment that actively encourages female leadership?
Organizations can and must do their part to help women to advance in their career. It means committing to empowering women and putting structures in place that will allow women to pursue their dreams on an equal footing with men. It must be driven from the top, and our INSEAD leadership has demonstrated their commitment to gender diversity.
Working at INSEAD is a great privilege for me. What I appreciate the most is my interactions with highly talented women and men with a growth mindset, who are members of our student and young alumni community. I am able to contribute significantly to the School’s mission and vision, and still have time for my family. INSEAD also gives me the opportunity to work in a pleasant multicultural environment, where I am pushed to do even better and advance in my career.
Working at INSEAD is a great pleasure for me.
What I appreciate the most is my interactions with highly talented women and men with growth mindset, who are members of our student and young alumni community. I am able to contribute significantly to the School’s vision and mission, and still have time for my family.
At WIL, we have a tradition to conclude the interview with a question from Proust’s questionnaire. We have picked the following question for you: Which figure do you most identify with?
My mother! I grew up in Senegal, in a polygamous environment where a woman’s role is pre-defined. I am the daughter of a single mother of eight children, six daughters and two boys, who raised her children with strong values led by lifelong learning, hard work, respect, humility, caring and openness. My mother was a high school teacher in Dakar with a monthly salary ten times lower than the guaranteed minimum wage in France (I let you do the maths). In addition to her work as a civil servant, she became an entrepreneur to realise her dreams for her children which is to have access to the best education that her limited resources could permit. We were taught that women and men are equal partners who together can achieve great things. We were constantly reminded to always fight for our dreams, to think and learn out of the box and to be a source of inspiration for our peers and the next generation. My mother has been and will always be my inspiration.
Today, I am a single mother of two, and I share the same values with my children. I am a proud member of an international family comprised of five nationalities living on four continents who speak five languages including Mandarin.
My mother was a high school teacher in Dakar with a monthly salary ten times lower than the guaranteed minimum wage in France. We were taught that women and men are equal partners who together can achieve great things.
Anna is Associate Director of Development: Students and Young Alumni at INSEAD with expertise in relationship building and fundraising with MBA students and young alumni.
She has more than 15 years’ experience working in a global, dynamic, complex and international environment. Anna has expertise in Marketing, Change Management and Strategy. She is a cross-cultural communication professional with two bachelors and two masters degrees in Business, Social and Economic Administration. She is specialised in Public and Private Administration as well as Justice and Rule of Law in Africa. She recently completed a Certificate in Negotiation Dynamics from INSEAD’s Executive Education Programme. She firmly believes in lifelong learning, in the fact that education and freedom remain the most powerful forces to sustain human values, and for social and business change.