Are you hoping your partner will accompany you during your year at INSEAD? Is he or she worried about whether there will be enough people to interact with and what they will be doing while you are in class? If so, this article is both for you and your partner.

At INSEAD, ‘partner’ refers to all the husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, who come to INSEAD to spend the year (or at least part of it) with their loved ones. Almost 30% of the students at INSEAD are accompanied by their partners and sometimes one, two or even three children!

I know from my own experience that many questions come to mind upon receiving the news that your partner has been accepted to INSEAD. For me, I wondered what it would be like to become a partner at INSEAD and leave my job in Bulgaria. I wanted to know if other people would follow their partners and whether I would be able to find like-minded people and make good friends amongst the MBA community. After three months on campus, I can confidently say that INSEAD's motto of "One year to challenge your thinking, change your outlook and choose your future." is as relevant for the partners as it is for the students.

The diverse environment, intensified by the exchanges between the campuses in France and Singapore as well as the everyday experiences, will contribute towards a personal transformation. You will feel more enriched by your new network, explore new ideas and also reflect on the next big step in your professional life.

“INSEAD has expanded my global network of friends almost immediately.”

The partners' community is an integral part of the school’s vivid life and, to give you a taste of it, I have interviewed two other partners who followed their loved ones and are now sharing the INSEAD MBA experience with them. Take a closer look at their stories.

Partners' Lives at INSEAD

Name: Nargiza Mamatkhodzhaeva 

Nationality: Russian, Uzbekistan

Age: 28

Education: Bachelor of Economics

Before INSEAD: HR Specialist

E-mail: nargizama@gmail.com

 

  1. Did you have any concerns before coming to INSEAD and if so how did you deal with them?

    Yes, I was worried that it would be hard to settle in with our two-year-old son and that I would not be able to find suitable activities for me. I was also concerned about my double language barrier, as I did not speak English well and I had just started learning French. But after much thinking, I decided to jump in and see what would happen.

  2. How would you describe the partners' community?

    I was really surprised by the openness of the partners’ community. I easily found Russian-speaking 11D and 12J partners who helped me settle in and explore the Fontainebleau campus where we started our journey. I found that partners were always ready to help, very friendly and they organised regular meetings to get to know each other.

    For couples with kids, INSEAD is a friendly place too. There is a dedicated staff member from INSEAD whose job is to assist with student life and help partners, and there is even a special playroom for kids on both campuses. INSEAD is always open to new ideas and the staff is very helpful with the organisation of all kinds of events and workshops.

  3. What does a typical day look like for you?

    As we have enrolled our son in a local preschool, my typical day in Singapore is a bit different from how it was in France. Now, my day usually starts by sending my husband off to INSEAD and taking our son to the preschool. Then I usually organise the house, swim in the pool and head to INSEAD for lunch. On campus, I usually meet with other partners and maybe go for a walk around town after lunch. My day usually ends with having dinner at home with my husband once all the team meetings, networking events or company presentations are over.

  4. How has INSEAD contributed to your personal and professional development?

    At the beginning, I expected less, but slowly I started feeling a change. The interaction with other partners improved my English, while unfortunately, my French did not progress. I managed to improve my photography skills and more importantly, take part in the workshops organised by the INSEAD Photography Club. The third major self-development area was the handicraft workshops I organised. I have always been creative so I decided to improve my skills.

 

Partners' Lives at INSEAD

Name: Nishant Jadhav

Nationality: Indian

Age: 34

Education: MBA (Wharton)

Before INSEAD: Director, Strategy and Corporate Development, Brocade 

E-mail: nishant@gmail.com

 

“INSEAD does a fantastic job of assimilating partners into a culture which is its own.”
  1. Did you have any concerns before coming to INSEAD and if so how did you deal with them?

    My biggest concern was fitting in with the student community. Given the cultural diversity and the fact that INSEAD is a compact programme, I believed that partners would be a separate community. However, INSEAD does a fantastic job of assimilating partners into a culture which is its own. Every partner I have become friends with felt included in this once-in-a-lifetime experience right away. With access to the same resources as the students have and the ability to sit in on a few sessions and special lectures, you do not feel different.

  2. How would you describe the partners’ community?

    Global, energetic and influential. Forming friendships globally and learning from their experiences expands your understanding of different cultures. Partners bring a new layer of energy to this experience whether it is planning cultural weeks, planning for and visiting new and unseen places, or just having someone to hang out with. Partners influence most events that INSEAD offers.

  3. What does a typical day look like for you?

    When at INSEAD, my typical day is spent waking up and spending some time with my wife before I drop her off at school (we have one car). I usually spend the rest of the morning catching up with my work emails and deliverables. At lunch, I would meet my wife or some partners in school, spend the rest of the afternoon catching up with more work and then spend the evening around campus and attending social events, dinners and parties.

  4. How has INSEAD contributed to your personal and professional development?

    INSEAD has expanded my global network of friends almost immediately. Personally, I have learned a lot from their experiences and my desire to travel further and to places I have never intended before has been fuelled by what I have learned from them. Professionally, I know I have business contacts now (graduating students and partners) globally. So whether it is a new business opportunity or an opportunity to expand an existing business, I know I can reach out to a network that is both reliable and responsive.