I Feel Just like a Kid about to Enter a Candy Shop

Dushyant Gupta

I cannot say much more about INSEAD as a business school that has not been said before in blogs, publications, in person and through the many effective marketing channels. What I can tell you is that, even though I have not yet officially started my INSEAD journey, I have already met great people, made some memories with these people and I have the same sense of excitement that a kid has before he is about to enter a candy shop.

The official INSEAD journey might be only 10 months from orientation to graduation, but, the journey starts from the moment you decide that INSEAD is the business school for you, carries on through the application and interview process, the pre-INSEAD period and finally culminates in 10 months at INSEAD. I will not yet say that my time at INSEAD has been special and I have made lifelong friends, I am sure that will happen, but I have not reached the campus yet and it will be inaccurate for me to suggest that it is the case.

So who am I?

Well, before I delve into another monologue (I do that often), a bit more about me. Born in India, I have grown up across India and the UK, and I am at the point of life where I have spent equal years in both countries. I consider myself both Indian and British (The Indian government doesn't approve of this, as they do not condone or allow dual nationality). I worked as a consultant in London before joining INSEAD, which very obviously means I have not worked in London ever #lifeofaconsultant. I travel a lot, and have just finished my second career break (somehow sounds more professional than a gap year, and very different from a 'Gap Yah').

If you have reached this point in the blog, thank you, clearly you find me mildly interesting/only very partly annoying.

Before I waffle on a lot more, I want to try and paint a picture of what to expect and what not to expect in the next few months from me. You can expect me to share candid experiences (primarily pictures) from my INSEAD experience. You can expect me to share some top tips on how to make the most of your journey. Although you cannot expect me to provide inspirational life changing motivational stories, you can expect stories about the trials of an average guy in the world of INSEAD.

Without further ado, in this blog I will present you some moments from my pre-INSEAD period. Being an R1 admit, I found out nine months before starting INSEAD that I have been accepted. To put that in context, that is nearly as long as the program itself! For me, seve of those nine months have been spent travelling through Asia and South America, exploring cultures, cuisines and meeting new and exciting people. INSEAD being a truly global school, I managed to meet up with people in seven different countries in seven months......more on this below.

Meeting up for the first time in India - It had only been about 30 days since the admission results were announced, and exactly 29 days since my phone started exploding with social media notifications. If you think managing emails is hard, try working full time and keeping up with the communication channels the students use (WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack). It is always a daunting task to meet and greet new people, especially for an introvert like me, but the excitement of meeting new people was just too great. Believe you me, none of those smiles are faked :)

China - On this occasion, I managed to meet up with future classmates in Hong Kong (Rooftop bars offer the best views) and mainland China in Shanghai (Thank you to my classmates for taking me to an amazing restaurant).

Chile - Thousands of miles away from home and INSEAD, I was still able to find classmates in multiple locations in Chile. This made me realise how diverse you class is really going to be.

P.S - The keen-eyed ones amongst you readers might be able to notice the gradual increase in my facial hair. It is not a word of a lie, I ended up finishing the trip looking like I just came off the set off a Bollywood version of 'Cast Away'.

Here in Peru, I shared a drink with a Peruvian, a Spaniard and a Brazilian. Diversity in action right here?  

At this point, many of you might be wondering why you have bothered to read through this blog. Well in a true consultant fashion, I want to leave you with three key takeaways:

  1. Recognise that your INSEAD journey is more than just the 10 months on campus and try and make the most of every part of it, including the pre-INSEAD time
  2. Meet up with as many people as you can before the programme. Having familiar faces always helps when starting a new journey
  3. Step out of your comfort zone (meet new people if you're an introvert, blog about your experiences if you're not comfortable sharing)