It’s a habit of mine to, while packing to move (again!), reminisce about what has happened that leads to where I am now and where I am going to be. Same goes this time as I start packing up for my flight to Fontainebleau (counting down the days!).
It seems just like yesterday when I opened up to my line manager about how I had been pondering about the MBA for two years. “If you want to do something, do it and go all in instead of sitting back and contemplating”, he pushed me to apply as soon as possible. I spent two years on thinking, then two months on execution.. Three weeks to prepare for the first GMAT exam, two for the second, and another three to complete all the written and video essays for Round 1 application.
Then came the two interviews with INSEAD alumni who both gave a one-liner summary about the INSEAD experience: “It’s very intense, but you will love it!” Somehow I felt right hearing such from them. Probably for my past few years have been all about multitasking, juggling between full time and volunteering work, studying and making time for family and hobbies. And probably for my own application process, accelerated and intense itself, got me to adopt bits of the INSEAD gene.
Above all, the process got me to change without realising it. I had turned much more open than my introverted self. The three weeks spent writing INSEAD essays were three weeks of constant reflection and articulation, defining the path I’m seeking. I started sharing my thoughts not only with my closest friends but also with my good colleagues, former line managers, mentors, and even friends’ friends who I could connect with. Many of them turned out to be MBA alumni, some from INSEAD themselves, who offered emotional support I so needed, and shared great tips for my application essays and interviews. It seems like as you open your window a little wider, more sunlight will come in. I got back much more than I could have asked for just from the act of sharing and being open.
And now during the pre-MBA period, I'm thankful to have found classmates who I can have honest and meaningful conversations with. Before school starts, we already have a few experiences together – from hunting for accommodation in Fonty and mugging for exit language tests; to the pre-works for PLDP (Personal Leadership Development Programme) in its first year of implementation. Soon enough we will be soaking ourselves in INSEAD clubs, INSEAD Venture Competition, INSEAD National Weeks, Dash, field trips and period break holidays, etc.
Let alone the arguably less fun but higher priorities of surviving exams and assignments, or of cracking case interviews. I'm looking forward to meeting as many of the 500+ INSEADers as possible in the next ten months and listening to their stories just to be awed by how we, from various walks of life, unite in this amazing community. I’m even more excited about what we will be doing together, as that deepens our bonding and shapes the path of change for each and every single one of us.
People say change is the only constant. I learnt that really well from my six-year professional journey. In six years, I changed my reporting line four times, went through two phases of functional global outsourcing programme and witnessed two company-wide reorganisation exercises. But the one common feedback I always get from my line managers is how much I have grown and evolved over time. I guess I have changed for I have been seeking changes and vice versa.
Lots of INSEAD alumni claim their MBA is one of the best years, if not the best, in their life. Conservatively speaking, I would say INSEAD will be the year of changes and personal breakthroughs, if not one of the best year ever. And this blog is the first step down that path to share my journey with those who care. My friends and ex-colleagues who have been cheering me on. Friends who are applying to INSEAD, or whoever stumbles upon this blog and just gets curious to know more about me and about us. :)