It’s a freezing night out in Fontainebleau, and I’m just home from another dinner with my friends. Except that this was no ordinary dinner. The end of each INSEAD academic period is marked by painful moments of separation as we say goodbye to friends whom we might not see again until graduation. I said goodbye to many familiar faces at the end of Period 2 as they headed off to enjoy the sun and warmth of Singapore. This time, as Period 3 comes to an end, it’s my turn to take the long flight home.
Here I am, sitting in the Doriot Library at the start of the third week of class. INSEAD has so far been a blur. When I was here back in December for Business Foundations it had also been quite fast-paced, but in some way manageable. There were very few people on campus, our class size was smaller, and the atmosphere just seemed more relaxed. We knew we weren’t being graded on our work and spent more time introducing ourselves and socialising. There wasn’t much else to do besides go to class, do assignments and then go to a party or happy hour.
When I visited INSEAD for the first time almost four years ago, I was pregnant with my daughter, Jeanne. Augustin, my son, lived the MBA Application from inside since I was pregnant with him during the GMAT, the application essays and my first alumni interview. He was born the day before my second interview (which was rescheduled with an excuse they'd never heard before!). My kids’ lives have been entangled with INSEAD from the start.
I had moved from Paris to Fontainebleau mid-July, yet it took me two whole weeks before my first real day as a Fonty resident. First of all because the moving was quite hectic, as I did five trips between my old flat and my new one in just four days and with multiple means of transportation: own car, insurance provided car - as my car broke down, rented car - as the insurance car was only provided for two days, and best of all public transportation. Consequently in this agitation I didn’t think much about what it meant to leave "Les Champs Elysées" for "rue de la Paroisse".
I'm a bit late to the party myself, but it's been great reading some of the introductory blog posts from my fellow classmates the last few days; I can't wait to meet you all from tomorrow! It feels surreal to finally be here, in Fontainebleau and its gorgeous surroundings. I didn't do a campus visit, and I can vouch that you should; pictures just do not do this place any justice, it truly is a stunning environment within which to study and live and I'm feeling extremely fortunate at the moment!
I consider myself a citizen of the world as there is no one country I particularly call home. These words that introduced my motivation essay for INSEAD are also the words that made my choosing the school a no brainer. I wanted to live the excitement of a diverse student pool: an environment in which like-minded and open to the world people, from various professional backgrounds, would spend an intensive transformational year together.
Je suis arrivé à Fontainebleau! Actually, I arrived a little over a month ago, but my new life at INSEAD has flown by faster than a New York Minute. It’s only now that I have finally found a moment to stop and reflect on it all. So here goes. Let me invite you into my new home Villa Vivanté.
When describing life at INSEAD, students and alumni often talk about the world-class courses and professors, the enriching extra-curricular activities, and the outstanding career services. After an exciting kick-off to the program these first two weeks with a variety of team-building, orientation, and preparatory activities, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some first impressions which I plan to reflect on at the end of the year.
Running doesn’t get much better than this! I have been in Fonty at my new home, Chateau Fleury, for three days and it’s sunny and pretty warm for January so I decided to go run around the grounds. INSEAD officially kicks off tomorrow but I have already met so many lovely people from all around the world during the last few days, and I believe INSEAD is the perfect spot to start my new journey!
I’m in Singapore for my last few weeks at INSEAD. I’m not over there, not on the ground. I can’t feel the emotion and local vibe. But it must be palpable. In this precise moment, I miss the outdoor patios or ‘terrasse’, French food and bistros, romantic atmosphere of a late night walk in Montmartre or the 19th century feeling of walking past the bookstores along the Seine River on a windy sunny day. I miss Paris.