Study-life Balance at INSEAD Does Exist!!

It would not be too difficult to imagine what kind of year you will have at INSEAD when you only have one year to study, network, find a job, and enjoy student life.

Your INSEAD year will be dynamic, fun, inspiring and, at the same time, demanding. Many students have reported a series of sleepless nights. But wait… does it have to always be that way?

Here are my top three insights from my P1 experience on study-life balance at INSEAD.  

  1. Exemption Exams and Exit Language Test

Time is the scarcest resource for MBA students. So, to maximise your INSEAD experience, you should definitely plan ahead. I highly recommend that you take exemption exams (maximum of two exemptions are allowed in P1). Being exempted will save you an enormous amount of time (three hours of class per week and weekly/bi-weekly assignments). Or even if you fail the exams, you will, more or less, have basic knowledge of the subjects. Don’t forget that you have only two months to absorb all class materials before taking final exams.

In addition, you should prepare for exit language test in advance or take the standard language test before coming to INSEAD. In case you fail the language test, you have to take weekly classes and retake the exam which can be painful after the semester starts.  

  1. Revisit your MBA goals and match them with INSEAD's resources

I believe that you already know your MBA goals when you completed the application. However, as there is a several-months gap before INSEAD starts, it is possible that your goals or interests may change. Therefore, I suggest you revisit those goals before you come.

Decide what you need from INSEAD to accomplish your goals. You can talk to alumni, current students, or faculty members from your selected campus of how you can best reach out and utilise relevant resources. INSEAD’s activities such as student club’s events, career treks, and on-campus company’s visits can be slightly different between the two campuses.  

  1. Know your priority and design your own unique INSEAD journey

At INSEAD, there are so many interesting activities for you to do and great people for you to connect with. Unfortunately, you must choose. For example, you might have to decide between attending tutorials, travelling, networking, practising case interview, or going to the AI seminar in Paris in the same weekend.

Having a clear priority from the beginning can be extremely helpful. People with purpose effectively select activities and network that fit into their desired lifestyle and goals. Fear of Missing Out is quite common for INSEADERs. When you experience this, remind yourself that people come to INSEAD for different reasons. Some students’ priority is on academic while for others it is on career. So, learn your priority and be comfortable to say no in order to focus and invest your time and energy more wisely and objectively.