P1 with a Poet: Five Ways to Survive (and Thrive!)

Li Peng Cheok

I am a minority at INSEAD. Coming in, I had never taken a business or quantitative degree – ever!

Even though I had already braced myself for a challenge when I decided to apply, I still found myself initially overwhelmed in the first couple of weeks of classes. I was sitting in finance class with CFA-certified colleagues and computing regression models with engineers!

However, as I write this, it is officially two weeks to the end of P1 of the 19D class, and I think I’ve gotten myself into a good groove and fairly ready to revise for *shudder* finals. Looking back on the past month or so, here’s how I managed to keep up:

  1. Create your own business “cheat sheets”
  • I recognised very quickly that learning is a highly personal experience – no two people have exactly the same one. I created my own sheets with terminologies, formulas and concepts which helped me in two ways: first, as a quick academic reference and second, the process pushed me to identify my own strengths and weaknesses.
  1. Work with your study group
  • What good business strategy would not consider leveraging on resources at hand? ;) Once I realised that it was more than okay to ask for help – in fact, I would recommend it – it was amazing how my study group was willing to offer assistance or answer questions about anything. Remember, INSEADers always lean on each other!
A07-G10 is the best!
  1. Apply your own experiences to the learning process
  • What’s really great about classes at INSEAD is that everything that is being taught is directly applicable to the real business world. Being able to relate what you’ve encountered in the past to the problems posited in class definitely helps put things in perspective quicker.
  1. Embrace the INSEAD challenge
  • B-school is about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, after all! Once I adapted to learning or experiencing something new every single day, I found I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Central Limit Theorem-ing
  1. Find the approach that works for you!

At the end of the day, there is no one INSEAD experience. It’s up to you to make your own choices and design what you want out of it.

For instance, in this past month alone, I’ve learned Bollywood dances, hung out with an ex-Olympian, tossed yee sang with 12 different nationalities and caught Craig David in Bali – all in addition to the academics listed above. Remember, it's your experience.

Partying with Craig David in Bali