My Stopover Decisions

Anais Cisneros

It was a summery night in Miami in April, and I knew that once again I was going to make another turn in my life path. On that day, I decided to tell my manager that I was leaving for INSEAD in a month. My departure, unlike many others, was an already anticipated leave. I had been working in the same company for nearly five years and everyone was already aware that I was leaving, they just didn’t know when.

Ever since I heard the news I was accepted into INSEAD, it felt a little unreal.

I knew that I had done the work to get there (passing through the horrible GMAT experience, the nights of self-reflection to write the essays and the meetings with the interviewers) but since I was accepted in Round 1 in November and the programme only started in August 2018, it still seemed a bit of a far reality.

Here is me trying to figure out how best to invest my time.

I talked to a couple of my mentors regarding what I should do with my time until INSEAD, and they gave me a couple of options:

Option 1: Do an internship. Since I am part of the July class, I will not be able to do an internship during the programme, which does create concerns to some of my classmates. The school does not recommend we do internships but some of our classmates find ways to arrange them themselves and I guess if that brings peace to their mind then it was probably the right decision for them.

Option 2: Continue working until the last moment. I do understand that many of us come with a lot of effort to the school, I myself received a scholarship without which I would have had a much tougher time paying for school. So some just decide to continue working whether it is because they want to save some cash needed for the academic year or because they need to finish some project with their companies.

Option 3: You chill or travel. After five years of heavy consulting work, I realised that I needed some time for myself, to reflect on my achievements and mistakes over the last years, and to cleanse everything I needed to cleanse in my life. So I thought about the two places I wanted to go to the most and the things I wanted to do, but somehow had postponed until now. The choices came easily for me, I wanted to travel and meditate in India and learn German in Berlin. In the end, this is the option I went for.

So after I finished my assignment in Miami, I went back to Peru and presented my resignation letter to my partner. Though I had some mixed feelings, it is not easy to leave the people you spend most of your time with after five years, I knew I was moving towards a new beginning and therefore was mostly smiling about my leave. I gave myself three weeks of time to stay in Peru, so I could do most of my paperwork for visas and immigration and also spend time with my family. If I can recommend something to newcomers for INSEAD, is try to get that out of the way as soon as possible. In most countries, if you are a Fonty starter, you need to visit Campus France, a French study related institution, before you can actually apply for the visa at the embassy. Being Peruvian, I also needed to apply to quite some other visas to be able to travel around (UK and India), so that also took some time to obtain.

On July 10th I left Peru and I have had a crazy ride since.

I haven’t started INSEAD yet, but I am stepping outside my comfort zone more and more every day.

I went on a solo backpacking trip across 10 cities in India to learn and experience about a wonderful culture so different from my own. I moved to Berlin to continue improving my proficiency in a language I love and explore some interesting museums. I participated in one the awesome student organised Pre-MBA trips in Ibiza, where 50 of us, INSEADers, had the time of our lives while sailing in the Mediterranean sea and dancing to the coolest beats at night, and now I am spending some time visiting all friends and family around Europe so I can recharge energy to give it all to my new beginning at INSEAD.

Here are some happy moments during my trips:

The highlight of my Indian trip.
If I had to choose again, it would definitely still be Berlin.
A fun and very diverse crew during the Pre-MBA trip.

I look forward to sharing a little bit more of my world with all of you in the coming months, until next time!