Intensive Languages and Campus Sneak Preview

Andrew Glykys

We are some of the first '18Ds on campus this year, starting our intensive language course in November, before the official start in January. It has been a whirlwind of activity since landing at Charles de Gaulle, getting a €120 UBER (it’s a little far!), and finally unpacking my bags in my new (AirBnB) home. Naturally, my house mates (a Brazilian, a Cuban/American and a Chinese), and I (a British/Cypriot) hosted the first welcome party for everyone. With some pretty heavy pre-MBA chats on our slack group, a few of the INSEADers thought they recognised me in the street before the party, and excitedly waved me over. Sadly, it was not me, but was instead a Lebanese gynaecologist working at the Fontainebleau hospital. Still, that is no reason not to invite him over. And that is the story of our first non-INSEAD Fonty friend Eli!

Monday was the first day of language classes, after we picked up our language school ID badges from the reception. Having met everyone at the party the night before it was a little less daunting to meet so many new people. We are currently about 20 students, with the full 530+ cohort starting in January. Language classes are fairly light (9am to 3pm, with no after class work), but the day’s agenda seems to fill itself in the most unexpected ways. Monday was a 3.45pm presentation on Brazil and Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista finishing at 7pm, Tuesday was a Case study and networking presentation with Morgan Stanley, Wednesday was spent in the library writing up our CDC inspired 8 page self-reflective essays, Thursday was a dinner at a friend’s house, and to finish the ‘working week’ off, Friday we boarded a bus to the '17D Latin America inspired Cabaret!

In between I have managed to browse the Sunday markets here (they do some excellent artesian breads, and Lebanese takeaways), receive wine bottles from my landlady’s family vineyard, and somehow even found time to do my first load of washing.

As the courses finish at 3pm, next week I might even have time to open a bank account here before P1 starts. And also chase down my bags that I have sent here from the UK. Some of them have somehow ended up at INSEAD, although I gave my AirBnB address – interesting……

Let’s see what the next week will bring. Hopefully all my bags!


A Cypriot, raised in the Middle East, and educated in the UK, Andrew Glykys  is an Aeronautical engineering by training, who has spent the last six years trying to design, and deliver jet engines for Rolls-Royce. An aviation enthusiast holding both a pilot’s and sky diving license he is interested in how Digital Transformations and technology will change his industry. And of course meet some awesome people during this INSEAD MBA.