INSEAD is a Team Sport

Tanja Duester

What a start! Period 1: the balancing act!

Whooiii what a first period it has been! Even though I have been at other learning institutions, this is the first time I feel as if my horizons have truly been opened. There are different clubs for almost everything, recruiting events, and industry introductions, on a weekly basis. But my peers are the true horizon openers, which is exactly why I applied to INSEAD in the first place.

So many things are happening, everyone talks about FOMO in reference to trips and parties, but my FOMO is not getting to know my peers…

My classmates and their experiences, accomplishments, and capabilities are truly incredible. But something I was not bargaining for when I applied was that I would have a baby and my mother with me on my journey.

I realised I was pregnant right after my second interview. Luckily, for my husband and I, my mother agreed to help me in Fontainebleau, as my husband knew he would be unable to join me due to his deployment. So off I went to Fontainebleau, together with my Mama and my daughter Josephine, to take my first step towards a new career; from combat zones and military drills to the business jungle.

Now that is happening/happened, I am much more at ease and I have gotten into a rhythm and balance about half way through. However, when I first arrived, even managing the Business Foundations Course and taking care of Josephine was daunting. I was much more tired than I thought I would be. After all, I was used to working 16 hour days, but this was different. Processing all the new information and then coming home to nurse and play with Josephine was tiring. I started to become nervous about the actual classes starting and questioning myself if choosing this programme was the right thing to do. But as with everything here at INSEAD, even for this very personal, seemingly unique situation, my peers, faculty members, and INSEAD administrative support were there to help and support me.

Mrs. Eva Laporte at the Camembert  ensured the family room was set up and informed us about kids music classes, classmates and faculty volunteering to watch Josie for a bit, and the spouses of my classmates reached out to my mother and organised different get togethers. INSEADers became additions to my family. The support system is incredible, something that I did not expect since most of my peers do not have children, and many aren’t mothers. It also demonstrates that INSEAD is hands on in getting more women into boardrooms and leading management positions. INSEAD’s community supports women so we do not have to make a choice between having a family or having a career. 

This great and open community makes it possible to go for a top-ranked MBA AND enjoy it with my daughter and my mother.

Bonus: Josie is getting influenced by fantastic people! That is balance to me! Off to Period two it is.