The Road So Far and the Road Ahead

Prithvi Gade

Hello, all the wonderful readers of our blog. I was recently given access to blog like many of my 18J classmates. We all are super excited to share our stories and journeys with you and hopefully inspire some of you and quell your insatiable thirst for information (been there done that).

In this post, I want to introduce myself and let you know what is going in my mind weeks before I start the program. I heard many wonderful things from several friends and alumni about their experiences at INSEAD (sometimes with jealousy) and am eagerly looking forward for mine. I did not want to spoil my surprise by learning a lot about what to expect in detail as it might take away my excitement and anxiety. I call this ‘pleasure in pain’ – intentionally getting anxious when you can pick up a phone and ask a friend “Ok!! what should I be prepared for”.

About me

My name is Prithvi and I am one of the several amazing 18J’s who will start at Fontainebleau, France, this August. I grew up in India and later moved to Europe. I pursued my masters in Industrial management as an Erasmus student and studied in Spain, Italy, Finland and Sweden. During these days, I had some incredible experiences studying with a very diverse group. It’s here that I realized the significant role that diversity played in my personal development. I intend to replicate it at a larger scale with my batch at INSEAD (some cheers here 18J’s).

Before joining INSEAD I was working in the wonderful city of Stockholm. During my stay, I had the opportunity to travel extensively across the Nordics and enjoyed some amazing experiences, from Norwegian cabins in the woods to the Finnish sauna (Pro-tip: And, yes this includes swimming in a hole in the ice and sometimes making deals in sauna). Although all of us (INSEADERS) are different in our own way, there is a common line of thread that connects all of us - we all consider ourselves as Global Citizens .The picture below is the word cloud that we generated and you will notice that Travel is the one that stands out.

My motivations and journey so far

One of the main reason I decided to join INSEAD is its diversity. After talking to several alumni and current students I concluded that this is the environment in which I could thrive and make some amazing friendships. The second reason is that I was not keen to spend two years for an MBA, as the opportunity cost seemed high and INSEAD’s ten months accelerated programme is a perfect fit for me. I was working in the technology industry and business development function before joining INSEAD. I loved what I did before joining INSEAD and am not looking to change the industry or function so INSEAD’s program was ideal for me.

You can broadly divide your entire MBA journey into four parts. First, the time up to your admission decision. Second, the period between your admission and before you begin program (this is where I am currently). Third, the period you go to the school (the best of all). And finally, the period after you finish the program. I personally believe that it’s the first stage that’s riddled with anxiety with all the preparation for GMAT and essays. I will write a detailed post on these later but a short advice is trust yourself and be honest when writing essays. And another tip I would suggest is to prepare for your scholarship essays before (yes you will need to write a separate essay for scholarships that you want to apply). In my case I had little time to write them as I did prepare them upfront. You will apply for scholarships before you know the final decision regarding the admission.

After I received the call that I was admitted and once I decided that now I am going for it, it's time to start planning for phase two: financing, accommodation, vacation and trying to meet with my fellow classmates. Now that you are part of a larger community once you have been admitted you are not alone in this journey. Many have done this journey before us and have accumulated knowledge to make our lives easy. There is a portal known as mbaconnect which has all the information regarding financing options, visas, accommodation, life in Fonty or Singy, fee payment schedule and every other possible thing that you would like to know. And not to forget your fellow students who will go above and beyond to help you.

The excitement is palpable and the activity is frantic in this stage: trips planned, discussions on exemptions, meetups, visa troubles, search for roommates, and so on. You truly get a feeling of FOMO – fear of missing out. If this is what it feels like even before one begins I am wondering how it will be once I have started.

INSEAD event in Stockholm 

The road ahead

I am eagerly looking forward to meeting others and to start the program. I am flying to Fonty next week and soon we will begin the business foundation program (BFP). BFP is an optional one-week programme that gives a head start in finance and accounting basics.  And then there is the pre-MBA trip and finally the introduction week to warm us all up to the intensive grueling routine that lies ahead of us for the next ten months. I am going to live in a common house (Maisons Blanches) with six other wonderful house mates in Fonty and will keep you posted on the fun stuff we do.

With that bombshell, I wish you good luck!

PS: For those of you that are not familiar with the nomenclature of 18J here is a quick description. INSEAD has two intakes: Jan intake and Sep intake. The Jan intake batch graduates in December and the Sep intake graduates in July of the next year. So, every batch is referred based on their graduating year appended with the initial of the month in which they graduate. Me and my batch will graduate in July 2018 and so it's 18J. The only difference between the two intakes is that the Jan intake has a two-month summer internship break (more on this later). I'll try to cover one INSEAD lingo in every post in future.