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.
Starting an MBA amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a decision that requires some courage. I still remember the feeling of my heart sinking six months ago, when I first learned the reality of how the COVID outbreak had impacted campus life all around the world.