One of the things that really appealed to me about INSEAD was that it was a one year MBA program. I’ve worked a good while, I’ve travelled, I’ve partied, and I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what I want in my career. To hell with a two year MBA – I can do it all in one year.
Well, three months deep into my MBA (which is now 25% complete!) and I can certainly say that I got what I bargained for. This year is intense.
It’s exactly what everyone warned me about. I started writing my CV a month before I arrived here. Classes cover content three times faster than in undergraduate. Every night, there is a smorgasbord of club events, career presentations, dinners and chateau parties to choose from. Every weekend, there are trips planned for Amsterdam or Chamonix. And then there is class at 8:30am the next morning, even on Saturdays (whaaaaat!?).
So here is a brief update on what’s been going on in my life so far.
Goodbye to the days of streaming lectures two days before the final exam in my undergraduate days. Here, classes are compulsory and start on time. If you don’t arrive on time, you’re out. And if you miss out more than twice, you fail. It’s called the INSEAD Swiss train rule, and I must admit I’ve never been more on time in my life!
From day one, we were assigned to a group that we work together in for all of our core courses (i.e. the first four months of the MBA program). The groups are deliberately chosen to be as diverse as possible, from a cultural and professional perspective. I’m in a group with a Canadian accountant, a Nigerian sales and marketing professional, an Indian health expert and Japanese IT consultant. We couldn’t be more different from our life experiences and approaches to work!
Together, we have valued projects, designed marketing campaigns and debated the ethical boundaries of bribery. We also built a space shuttle device for a raw egg, but that was one of our less successful team efforts (read: egg murderers).
Some of my classmates who have moved to Fontainebleau from cosmopolitan capitals have struggled with the inconveniences of living in a small French town. As for me, I really enjoy the quaint provincial atmosphere.
I cycle past the gourmet markets on the way to campus and go running in the forest between classes. And I surprisingly love the cold wet weather here. There’s something about layering up in coats and walking home in the rain listening to indie French music that soothes my current state of mind.
the social side
And of course, there is the social side. On Tuesday night, there was a hell of a party at Chateau Fleury. On Wednesday, Villa Foch hosted a Belgian beer tasting. On Thursday, we had the INSEAD Dash. By the weekend, I wanted to die of exhaustion but instead I went to Paris to catch up with a friend who was visiting from London.
Tonight, we are hosting a French-themed surprise birthday party for my housemate Vincent at Villa Vivante. And this coming week, I am being auctioned to go on a date to raise money for the Robin Hood Scholarship.
So yes, my social life is kind of crazy. And on top of that, there is an annoying little voice in my head that is nagging me about job hunting – of which I have nothing to report on.
Photos by me and Splash Projects