You have spent months working on admission essays, recommendation letters and have gone through the interview rounds; embarking on an exciting journey at INSEAD may soon be a reality. To prepare for your big move back to student life, Mark Johnson, Associate Director of INSEAD’s MBA Student Experience, shares seven tips that will help you smoothen the transition and make the best out of your one year at INSEAD.
#1: Set up Goals
Ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve out of my MBA and how will I achieve it?” Keeping your aspirations in mind will help you to stay focused and work towards your post-MBA goals. While plans may change during the programme, these fundamental questions will help you chart a course that maximises resources and opportunities during the programme.
#2: Discussions With Your Partner
I was once an MBA partner myself and my experience has been very useful when I speak to our MBA students. Prior to my fiancée starting the programme, we chatted about what type of partner I wanted to be? While these discussions can be incredibly stressful for some people, the majority finds it fulfilling once expectations have been set. For students who are planning to bring your partners along, INSEAD has a vibrant community where partners can join in the INSEAD experience through our on-campus support, activities and the INSEAD Partners’ Club.
#3: Network, Network, Network
You will hear this many times - the INSEAD community is the most powerful tool that you can leverage on. From alumni to fellow classmates and right through to staff and faculty, there is a network of knowledge and experience for you to tap into. The INSEAD MBA begins even before you step foot onto campus with learning courses available during Period 0. So start reaching out to your classmates and alumni to widen your network. You will never know where these connections can lead you.
#4: Keeping “Balance” in Mind
Your 10 months at INSEAD will fly by quickly. Apart from your curriculum, you will have many activities and events to take part in: treks, club leadership, networking sessions, talks and seminars, interviews, travels… and the list goes on. Finding balance will help anyone entering the programme cope with stress and find that sweet spot where you dedicate your time to activities that bring fulfilment. Setting priorities will definitely help you keep grounded and focused on the goals you have initially set for yourself.
#5: You Will Need a Structure in Place
Once the dust settles after being accepted into the INSEAD MBA programme, what’s next? You will need to start looking into the practical requirements needed for an international programme: Do you need a visa? What are your accommodation options? Are there permits that you might need which take time to process? What are the policies you need to know about studying in Singapore and France? At INSEAD, we have a platform - MyINSEAD - dedicated to housing all of this information. Additionally, a Programme Management team will provide you with resources to help you transition into our MBA programme.
#6: Settle in Early
If you can come to Singapore or Fontainebleau early, you will have more time to settle in and reduce last-minute hiccups. Get yourself settled into your accommodation, open a bank account, explore the surroundings, chat and meet with people. Once you start your MBA programme at INSEAD, time will pass quickly so give yourself a chance to take a break and assimilate into the new environment before the programme begins.
#7: Don’t Drift
The MBA programme can feel very much like a rollercoaster, and one of the MBA Student Experience team’s goals is to help minimise this. Sometimes students can experience what I call ‘drifting.’ It has been an intense year and it can be tempting to drift through the last month until graduation; a month where you can lose the energy for networking, connecting and learning – especially if you have already received a job offer. However, it can be the perfect month to utilise all the tools available to you to maximise the last leg of your journey at INSEAD.