Diversity + Conflict = Maximum Growth3 min read

It’s Sunday night and nearly 2 am. I have class in 6 hours, but I have an urge to sit here in silence and write.

It feels like a month has gone by. Flipping through my notes from a week ago compels me to check the date again. Yep, it’s only been a week. I don’t know how I learned so much in such few days. And yet, the most profound learning is quite simple:

Conflict is the sign of life.

Conflict can be internal or interpersonal. Conflict means there are two or more differing perspectives, preferences, and possibilities. And by the way, the two or more forces that create conflict also give rise to all the beautiful diversity we see in the world.

Conflict in itself is not bad; it’s how we learned to deal with conflict that needs to be revisited and reprogrammed.

This is where INSEAD’s Study Groups come in. For the next 4 months, I will spend most of my time with a group of 5 people – we will take the same classes, sit next to each other in every class, and work on every assignment together. INSEAD’s Study Groups are created to maximize diversity and thus, by nature, are designed to result in maximum conflict and growth. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? ?

Since INSEAD is so data-driven, here are some stats to demonstrate the caliber of my Study Group:

  • We collectively represent 22 countries (shown below)
  • We collectively have traveled to 38 countries
  • We collectively speak 13 languages
  • We collectively held 15 jobs across 9 industry sectors
  • We collectively bring 40 years of work experience

It’s been less than 2 weeks since we met, but I already feel comfortable enough to share who I really am. I am a systems-thinker and a cultural creative. I observe patterns and I connect the dots.

About 4 years ago, my deep interest in psychology, human behavior and personal identity led me to create the shortest, most accurate personality quiz for the Personality Enneagram system. It consists of only 2 questions and requires 5-10 minutes to complete. You can try it out by clicking here.

I’ve mapped the personality quiz results for the 6 people in my Study Group below. As you can see, I’m a 4w5 (“four-wing-five”), and therefore, I sit on the cusp of heart and mind. There’s much more to the Personality Enneagram system than I have presented here, and perhaps I’ll cover other aspects of it in the next blog post.

Personality Enneagram Map for My Study Group



Overall, the Personality Enneagram presents a roadmap towards self-actualization. There are 9 levels of development, as shown below:


The Personality Enneagram type is not meant to define us, but rather, make us aware of the key triggers and barriers on the path towards self-actualization. Therefore, the greatest value in using this personality system isn’t to affirm our personality types, but rather, to use what we know to break out of patterns that do not serve our highest purpose.

Now how can we do that? It’s simple…

By familiarizing ourselves with the Enneagram Personality system and knowing the set of patterned thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors that our own personality type experiences at each level of development, we can assess our current levels of development, chart specific goals, and most importantly, prevent falling into major pitfalls.

Developing self-awareness is the key to managing our inner worlds. It prevents us from falling prey to our own limiting thought patterns and simultaneously gives us an opportunity to reprogram our minds. Learning how to change our thought patterns requires a great deal of effort and practice, but it is essential for effectively working with a group of diverse people and creating a better world together. And what better place to learn how to do that than INSEAD?

Cheers to starting the best year of our lives.

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About the Author

Sabrina is a behavioral scientist with a background in marketing and communications consulting, who seeks to self-actualize and create social change through her work. She holds an MBA degree from INSEAD and a BS degree in Business Management from Babson College. Her interests include psychology, systems thinking, sacred geometry, and Sufi poetry.

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