Closing the Books

Edouard Chehade

One week into the programme, we had our first quiz. Then, six weeks later, a frenzy came along: the final exam frenzy.

Only then, when you take a look at practice final exams do you realise the amount of material covered in such a short amount of time. (I heard the second term takes this concept a notch further, with an extra class in the schedule, but I digress. Let’s keep this topic for, perhaps, a few weeks from now.)

We all do an MBA for different reasons.

The learning experience, diversification of your network, career promotion, and change in job sectors are a few that often get mentioned. It is essential for you to figure this out so you can sort your priorities, and these can serve as some sort of personal “MBA Handbook” if you will.

The learning experience is usually on par with a series of other priorities. The academic experience is usually a setting for attending a multitude of networking or social events: on-campus corporate events and conferences, student clubs, playing a squash competition with your colleagues or even travelling off to a new country with 40 other classmates!

Coming into exams, however, the non-academic activities get brushed off into the sidelines, and it’s a great relief to know you can count on classmates to review and explain more challenging concepts during late-night study sessions. It can be a stressful week, but you learn a lot through it, on an academic level as much as on a personal level.

Then you close the books, the exams finish, and the fun begins—rather, the fun continues.

Immediately when the last exam finishes, everyone meets at the INSEAD bar and the champagne starts to flow. You discuss excitedly about all the fun that was first term, and all the fun to come in the second one. After all, recruiting for summer internships is right around the corner! Thirty minutes later, it’s already time to get onto that shuttle to the airport, and board a plane to Morocco, Prague, or Bali to enjoy the long weekend before the second term. It promises to be as eventful as the first.

It is in that state of mind that I write these lines, on the plane to Marrakesh to discover a new city, a new culture, a new country. I look forward to sleeping in the desert, straddling a camel and to better get acquainted with my colleagues which I’m sure will quickly become good friends.