The beginning of an exciting journey You may be about to embark on the INSEAD MBA journey with your partner, which is already an exciting adventure, but perhaps you are also about to become parents? It could be for the first time, or for the second or third time, but it might be a first for having a baby in France! Being in a foreign country can create some extra stress when grappling with an unfamiliar “system” during the early stages of your pregnancy, the birth, and post-natal procedures.
Self-isolation paints a scary picture during COVID times. For many, the thought of attending MBA classes via Zoom while being confined to a tiny room is a significant compromise to the campus experience, and potentially a nightmare. But having being thrown unexpectedly into this situation for two weeks, my perspective transformed.
Around 30 per cent of students bring partners to INSEAD, which makes for a large, vibrant community. We try to make sure that everyone benefits from the INSEAD experience in every possible way through the availability of on-campus support, activities and the INSEAD Partners' community. A year as a partner at INSEAD is also a great opportunity to experience new cultures and learn new languages.
By the third year of my undergraduate degree in Engineering, I knew I wanted to do business. I didn’t know what exactly business meant, but I did know that I found my internships in commercial and business development teams absolutely fascinating. So how would I make a switch from Mechanical Engineering to Business?
“Never again,” I told myself after the lockdown restrictions were lifted in Antwerp, Belgium, where I had been residing for the last three years. Never again did I want to live all alone in an apartment for weeks on end (felt like years) in isolation. I could practically see the wrinkles forming under my eyes each day as I woke up at 6:30am, worked out in my living room, showered and was on video calls starting at 8:30am for the rest of the day.
INSEAD students love the experience of shopping for fresh and organic produce from Fontainebleau farmer's market. We can find a diverse variety of vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, cheese, bread, flowers, and much more! For students coming from big cities, in particular, buying food directly from local farmers is a very exciting new experience, which also allows us to breathe the fresh Fonty air on a beautiful Sunday!
Regular exercise is a great way to recharge energy during the intensive MBA programme at INSEAD. And the unparalleled opportunity to exercise in the extraordinary park of the Château de Fontainebleau is a quintessential INSEAD student life experience! I went for a run today with my lovely housemates Yang and Anna, we're determined to keep up with exercise no matter how busy the new academic term gets.
I never thought I would be saying that taking INSEAD's intensive French class pre-MBA was a truly amazing experience. In particular, I appreciated being able to bond with other MBA classmates, and sharing interesting facts about our lives while learning a foreign language.