2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Amit Tyagi, INSEAD

Amit Tyagi

INSEAD

“A passionate dreamer, a perseverant achiever and a proud INSEADer!”

Hometown: Meerut, a small city in North India, historically famous for being the birth place of India’s First War of Independence in 1857. The revolutionary spirit is still very much alive in the city.

Family Members: Mother ; Wife, Divya ; Daughter, Amaira (Age, 6)

Fun fact about yourself: During my undergrad years, I was very active on the extracurriculars front and was travelling all the time for Intercollegiate Youth Festivals, Music, Sports, Theatre, and Quiz competitions. Second year into my Engineering degree, there was a Freshers party organized for the incoming batch. When I went on stage to perform a song that evening, I still remember some of the folks from my batch whispering and asking others if they knew me as some of them have never seen me in college. I realized that I need to go slow on extracurriculars, otherwise I may graduate with a Bachelors in Extracurriculars instead of Engineering!

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bachelor of Technology, Electronics & Comm. Engineering from IET Kanpur, India

MBA, Marketing from IMT Nagpur, India

Where are you currently working? I am currently working at Mastercard as Director, Business Development, South Asia and based at Mumbai, India. At Mastercard, I lead the financial inclusion initiatives for MSMEs including Project Kirana, which aims at enabling access to affordable credit for micro-retailers and helping them grow their business. The program extends Mastercard’s financial inclusion commitment to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses, including 25 million female entrepreneurs into the digital economy by 2025.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Nominated for Mastercard CEO Force for Good Awards (2020) for leading a team of volunteers at Akshaya Patra volunteering initiative for creating a digital library content for 2500 schools in India. This digital content was used for imparting education to 300,000 underprivileged school children as schools were shut due to pandemic.
  • Nominated for Standard Chartered Bank Chairman’s Awards (2015) for a volunteering initiative on conducting financial literacy sessions across 10 schools, benefitting more than 1000 underprivileged school children across 8 cities in India.
  • Selected as a ‘Climate Champion’ (2011 cohort) at HSBC India and attended the HSBC Climate Champion Program, a 5 year – USD 100 Mn initiative under the HSBC Climate Partnership. HSBC Climate Champions worked side-by-side with scientists on a 2-week field research project at Earthwatch research centres in the US, UK, Brazil, India and China to measure the impact of climate change on 150,000 of world’s trees. This study will continue to benefit academics and policymakers for years to come.
  • Represented Team Ahmedabad at HSBC Masterminds Quiz Finals (2011) and ranked 2nd pan-India.
  • Winner of the Shastrarth Paper Presentation Contest (Marketing) on the theme ‘Malls or Mandis’ at INTAGLIO (2005), the International B-School meet at IIM Calcutta.
  • Research paper on the theme ‘Spirit of the Challenger’ shortlisted among the 12 best entries all over India at the 2nd National Paper Writing Contest (2005) organized by All India Management Association.
  • Won multiple awards in Singing, Theatre and Quiz events at University, State and National Level Youth Festivals.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During our second module, I was detected positive for COVID on the morning of final exams. I had to rush back from campus to my hotel room to isolate myself and hence started my Strategy exam 30 minutes late. This was a 5-hour exam followed by another 3-hour Business & Society exam post-lunch. Unfortunately, I skipped my breakfast that morning and during lunch break, I was busy calling up my travel agency for flights cancellations and rescheduling my travel plans for flying back to India.  Writing back-to-back exams for 9 hours, without food, with a severe body-ache and fever and still scoring well on both the exams is something which I am really proud of. In fact, I got my highest grade on the Business & Society exam which I wrote in extremely challenging conditions.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Throughout my professional career, I have won many prestigious awards including the Exceptional Sales Performance Award at Mastercard, the Investment Caesar, Bancassurance Oscars and League of Superstars at Standard Chartered Bank and the coveted Year End Convention Winner Award at HSBC. But the achievement which I am most proud of is the feedback from my clients. Most of my clients still remember me as one of the best bankers for my customer-first approach, technical expertise and best-in-class services. If your clients call you for seeking advice even after 10 years since you left the organization, it means you did your job well.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Philip M Parker, Professor of Marketing – for his unique teaching style and his sheer passion for the subject, it’s contagious.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? INSEAD is a top-ranked MBA program and I chose it for its academic rigour, quality of teaching, diverse cohort and a global alumni network. The international exposure and the diversity offered by INSEAD is unparalleled. The INSEAD Global EMBA offers you the campus experience across 3 countries in addition to the KMC (Key Management Challenges) offerings at US, Brazil, Israel, and Switzerland. The opportunity to exchange ideas with a set of exceptionally talented people coming from 54 different nationalities and from different industry backgrounds prepares you well as a future global business leader. The Leadership Development Programme at INSEAD, which runs in parallel with the EMBA, provides you the necessary tool-kit to develop your authentic leadership style.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? We have only completed 3 out of the 8 modules in the program, so my biggest learning has been the concept of ‘Strategy as Ecology’ from our Strategy class by Professor Ilze Kivleneice. I have already written an Implementation Essay on using the Ecosystem Strategy for financial inclusion as part of my EMBA program deliverables and plan to implement this strategy at work for building a sustainable ecosystem for our financial inclusion initiatives.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Given my personal circumstances, I am proud that I was even able to start the program on time and manage the workload of class assignments and exams in the first module. The entire 12 months period before the program start was extremely challenging for the family, as my father-in-law was suffering from cancer. He passed away in June 2021. While we were still trying to recover from that loss, immediately thereafter my mother-in-law was unfortunately diagnosed with an incurable disease. Despite the best of our efforts, we couldn’t save her and she also passed away in September 2021, just a month prior to my program start date. Throughout the year, most of my time was spent in hospitals and WFH mostly meant work-from-hospital. Just 2 weeks prior to the program start, my wife and I discussed whether I should go ahead with the program. I was not sure but she pushed me to go ahead with it as INSEAD was my long-cherished dream. She understood all the effort I had put in towards achieving it. It is only because of my wife’s unflinching support that I am able to manage everything – work, family, travel, EMBA program – and I am extremely proud of her resilience during these tough times.

This is an intense program, which requires some serious time commitment so getting support from your employer is also crucial. I would like to thank Mastercard for supporting me on this journey.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? It’s a significant investment in terms of time and money, so spend some time on researching all the great programs and choosing the right fit. I would strongly recommend attending school info sessions and speaking to alumni. You need to be clear on why you are doing the program and what do you expect out of it. Once you have answered that, don’t overthink and just go for it!

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The myth that after all these years it would be difficult to go back to school, to learn, unlearn, relearn and transform. Yes, it may be challenging initially. As you immerse yourself fully in the program, you will be gradually able to witness the transformation. The quality of teaching at INSEAD definitely helps in enhancing your learning experience.

What was your biggest regret in business school? No regrets.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I am amazed to see all the talented people at INSEAD Global EMBA and admire each one of them for the unique quality and skill sets they bring to the class. However, I was inspired in particular by my friends, Yanyna Nagayevska and Nataliya Stuchynska, from Ukraine. Considering the turmoil in their personal and professional lives due to the ongoing war, the fact that they continue to attend the program during this adversity, speaks volumes about their grit, determination and resilience.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I always wanted an authentic INSEAD EMBA experience with classroom-based learning and in-person interaction with peers and professors. Though I got admitted to INSEAD in 2020, I deferred my program by one year as I couldn’t travel in 2020 due to COVID restrictions and didn’t want to go for online modules. Having experienced the 3 modules in person at INSEAD Europe campus in Fontainebleau, I can definitely say that the classroom experience at INSEAD is priceless.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?  Work in progress…

The dreamer inside me always sets very high standards and super ambitious goals,

The achiever inside me is always working hard to keep pace with this dreamer,

The INSEADer inside me is always trying to bridge this gap,

I am sure when this dreamer, achiever and INSEADer start working in rhythm, the music would be worth listening.

What made Amit such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

The Admissions Committee was interested by the fact that Amit was coming from a diverse Banking & Financial Services experience including Payments, Consumer Banking, Wealth Management and Insurance. Having spent 14 years across the spectrum of Financial Services industry in an emerging market, Amit brings a unique perspective to INSEAD GEMBA class and is able to meaningfully contribute to the classroom discussions.

Amit is a champion of financial inclusion and a true ‘Force for Good’. In his current role at Mastercard, he is launching a unique and innovative micro-credit platform for enabling access to credit for small businesses and helping them grow their business. Amit also actively volunteers for financial literacy awareness among underprivileged children and has been nominated for Mastercard CEO Force for Good Awards (2020) and Standard Chartered Bank Chairman’s Awards (2015) for his volunteering efforts.

Virginie Fouge
Global Director, Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships
INSEAD Degree Programmes

DON’T MISS: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBAS OF 2022

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