What do Mohamed El-Erian (President Queens’ College, Cambridge, & former CEO of PIMCO), Fagun Thakar (Actress, Director, CEO of Fagun Foundation & Cambridge EMBA ‘21), and Timo Boldt (Founder & CEO of Gousto) have in common?

Together with many other esteemed guests, they were part of our ‘Leading Insights’ series this year.

‘Leading Insights’ was a student-led initiative by MBA Class of 2020/21 Aaron D’Souza and myself, during our Cambridge MBA year to engage and connect Cambridge Judge Business School students with global leaders of all industries and backgrounds.

During fireside chats, these leaders candidly shared their unique leadership experiences, personal journeys and their true perspectives of both current and past events. Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice-President of AstraZenca, for example graciously talked to us while he was leading AstraZeneca’s roll out of their Covid-19 vaccine to save millions of lives and recounted the challenges both he and the company had faced over the past year.

While each of our guest speakers had their own individual story to tell, they were all united by simply being people driven by a specific passion to make a difference in their respective fields. We were fortunate to often learn about key moments in their past that defined them and made them who they are today and that had given their lives a specific meaning and direction.

Another thing that united all of our guests was their humble attitude and desire to give back to others, despite their huge individual successes and busy schedules.

Leading Insight Kick-off Session with Dr Mohamed El-Erian

One question we asked most of our guests was,

If you have 2 minutes left to live, what advice would you give to your loved ones and us?’

Two specific answers still stuck in my mind: First, don’t let fear come in the way of trying to achieve your dream. Second, follow your passion and think holistically when asking yourself ‘have I given everything that I could (in life)?’

Personally, I have not only learnt to moderate such engaging and interactive sessions, but also realised, even more importantly, that all leaders are just humans with their own stories, challenges, and experiences.

Leading Insight Co-Founders and Hosts – Aaron D’Souza and Tim Belitza

Thanks to all our guests, my co-founder and co-moderator, Aaron D’Souza, and all the participants who attended our sessions.

It was a pleasure and truly my most passionate side project during the Cambridge MBA at the University of Cambridge.