The INSEAD brand helped me build some initial credibility with shareholders, allowing me to restructure everything from the distribution of my company shares to operations.
Do you really learn anything in an MBA? One of my primary motivations for pursuing an MBA was to fill in gaps in my economics background, specifically my limited knowledge of finance and accounting. As I researched MBA programmes and MBA culture over the past few years, however, I grew a bit sceptical of how much actual learning would occur, relative to the priorities of networking and recruiting.
Three periods have passed already, half the program duration! I still remember the first week with all the welcoming activities as if it happened last month, and all the fun we had in the sun during breaks in the first few months. When P1 ended, we thought it had gone by fast; we had spoken too soon: P2 was even faster. But both pale in comparison with P3, which literally flew by.
Since my first blog was a bit serious, I wanted to keep my second blog a lighter read. Again, I promise to make this short but entertaining. Growing up as a 90's kid, I loved watching sitcoms. And until today, I remember a lot of the famous catchphrases. Some memorable ones include: how you doing?, suit-up!, have you met Ted? or Bazinga! Hearing them automatically triggers happy thoughts. Even across different cultures, as I found out on campus. For us INSEADers, even students and professors have our own most-used catchphrases.
It's been one month since INSEAD started and I am finally beginning to feel the heat. The first month was pretty chilled out - welcome week, welcome party, Dean's party, buddy dinner, section dinner, nationality dinner, broke dinner, fancy dinner, fancy clubbing, cheap clubbing, skipping dinner and straight to the drinks - time was just going by and people were going out for trips every weekend (not yours truly though - thanks finance recruitment).
Today is Sunday, February 3rd. It's the first work day in February in Abu Dhabi. The official first work day of our second half of the INSEAD MBA programme. The 40+ of us in Abu Dhabi just spent an entire eight hours in a Crack the Case session with David Ohrvall, and about 1/5 of the class was filled with GEMBA students. Because we are a much smaller class than on the other two campuses, David said he could give us one more session hence bring us to a next level of cracking case interviews.
Four months, 12 core courses, a new club (I+D club)* and 16 social events have happened since my last post. The experience at INSEAD has been truly amazing, and the learning immense. Amidst all the activities and 200 alpha peers, I felt like the odd one out in the beginning - a designer with little experience in finance and accounts. I asked myself - “How do I chart my way in one of the best business schools in the world?”
Before starting your INSEAD journey, everybody is very excited and curious about an awful lot of things. One of these are the study groups: a group of five to six people that will work together during all the courses of P1 and P2. Who will I be grouped with? Where are they from? How much smarter are they than me? How many consultants are in the group? After completing P2, I can share some insights about the reality of study groups and tips on how to make the most of the experience. Let’s focus first on some truths and myths…
As I write this up on a Cathay Airlines flight to Hong Kong, two days into P5 and catching up with all my colleagues on all of the typical jet-setting INSEAD shenanigans and stories, I think of how much I miss my talented cohort, as I spent P4 in the Wharton business school of the University of Pennsylvania.
Only two weeks to go! As I am sitting to write this post I am only 10 days away from my very first INSEAD break, between P1 and P2. But before I dive deep into my classroom notes and exercise lists, I decided to stop and reflect on the last eight weeks of my life... It has been a intense ride.