September 2017: Three Different Worlds

Bryan Gunawan

I find it very hard to believe as soon as September unfolds, we are already entering the ninth month of the 12 months of the brief experience. This month was very unique and I had mixed feelings. The experience was uncanny. One of a true experience that inspires mobility, global diversity – and self reflection.

The INSEAD Singapore Campus

My stay in the INSEAD Singapore Campus was short yet sweet. I was there for roughly a month, just to complete some courses and meet up amazing professors. My actual P4-P5 programme was registered in Kellogg. But because it is meant to start later around mid-September, the school administration recommended me do a few courses in the three weeks in INSEAD, whichever campus I chose. I chose Singapore because I wanted to see the campus and get a feel of how living in Singapore feels like.

Meeting the legendary Professor Horacio Falcao!
Meeting another legend Professor Neil Bearden!

I stayed with my aunt in Singapore, and it was beautiful. Singapore is definitely one of a kind when it comes to living there. Food is obviously one strength given my roots in Asia, therefore there are so many street food (“Mamak stalls”) that serve amazing taste in great price.

The INSEAD Singapore was one of a kind of an experience. When you enter an exchange even though internally, you’d still have to adjust. The campus feels a lot more metropolis than the Fontainebleau campus, and as I came in, adjusting is another thing I have to do. But what is INSEAD without adjustments? We do it everyday given our mobility.

But as usual, even though the slight social difference between both campuses rely on the nature of the campus which is proximity (people tend to hang together as a cohort less, rather in groups), INSEAD by nature is always proactive in approaching people. There is never a dominant majority in INSEAD – hence, the idea of knowing other people more is always prevalent. I feel equally welcomed, and I connected with a number of new students in my cohort.

It was short yet sweet, and I truly miss INSEAD.

The Kellogg Exchange

The Kellogg Exchangers from all over the world, Fall 2017

The challenge to sitting through an exchange program is exciting and speaks a lot about mobility – but it also raised a lot of questions about “where do I come from”. As anyone, really, the whole idea of identity is always a question we raise to ourselves – “who am I?” we would always ask.

When we are doing exchange, it is always challenging to be able to relate and adjust especially when we don’t share a common identity or DNA – and even to be always welcomed in your home. Case in point would be as simple as being a Chinese Indonesian. You’re kind of neither here nor there.

My Kellogg Exchange in a nutshell was about seeking for US education experience, as I’ve never had any. I figured, might as well do this, while I have the opportunity – so I departed – in a journey of a different level of diversity.

I met numerous outstanding individuals from different schools. They are all unique in their own way, and provide different perspectives and experiences that I cherish. The friendships that we formed are another kind of diversity that I embrace.

The Kellogg students, in a way, share a similar DNA to INSEAD. The whole idea of “low ego, high impact brave leaders” resonate with me – the aspiration that a business school for the world does have. It is not an easy job to maintain such culture amidst especially rising nationalism all over the world that does not embrace diversity and inclusion in such a manner.

I do miss INSEAD, because there is a slight difference. But it is not particularly bad, it is just what it is when there is a balance of majority and minority. I do not find mingling hard, although of course you sort of want to throw yourself out there to get connected. 

But an experience is truly an experience that time could never buy back. It was a beautiful first month getting to know each other in another entirely new setting.  

The Job Hunting

September marks the beginning of Period 4. And for any INSEADers, Period 4 is another new journey of hope and pain. Yes, job recruitment. And as an aspiring entrepreneur who would like to learn scaling in people development and technology through organisations post-MBA, job recruitment is not something elusive for me.

I had to join riding the wave. And so goes the journey of submitting slightly over 50 applications to consulting, tech and a couple other industries that I’d be keen to get myself on.

It was full of self reflection of what I do really want, and it would be interesting to discover what is truly out there.