The final exam has just ended. People are streaming into the school bar, congratulating each other. Some even start hugging their friends and bidding teary farewells. A typical bunch of graduating MBA students, you say? Not quite. That was the scene played out last month when we finished Period 2, only four months into our ten-month MBA.
I was impressed by the entrepreneurial focus, which also reflects itself in the career paths of the school’s alumni.
I'm Alex, an American MBA student here at INSEAD's Singapore campus. It's been a wild ride since starting at INSEAD, especially considering that only three months ago I was working at my nonprofit job. Since I'm learning this whole profit thing from scratch, I thought it would be helpful to look at the big picture of what I've learned in each period. Here are some takeaways from P1 (along with a few clippings from my notes): The measurable power of diversity.
There are eleven official languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, SiSwati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Popular comedian Trevor Noah recites funny stories in his book “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” on navigating this multilingualism, when he was growing up in apartheid-era South Africa.
I believe a lot of people wonder about this. In fact, I owe a 19D a thorough review of the intensive language programme.
Coming from jobs that got us to INSEAD - M&A investment banking for me -, I wanted to spend time travelling, meeting family and friends, or just relaxing before all the excitement started. But the exit language is a strict graduation requirement! Options were to study French (my choice of exit language) in London while I worked either at Alliance Française or on my own, take classes at INSEAD in P1-P3 or attend the intensive language programme prior to the start of P1 in either campus.
From the moment you get that call from INSEAD, you are already an INSEADer. When I had the excellent problem of choosing my B-school, I went for the school that I felt, had the ‘right kind of vibe’. And INSEAD did not disappoint. First, the Round 1 admits got that Facebook group going, then came the WhatsApp group, then telegram and slack channels. Waking up to 169 messages every morning, I soon began to feel like the most social butterfly ever, only to realise that I was incapable of keeping up with it all but I still wanted to be part of it all, because well… FOMO.
Hey future INSEAD students, February 2018 has just started and some application deadlines for the class of 2019 have already passed. If you are done submitting your application or are still thinking about applying, let me ask you a question first. Did you know that INSEAD requires its students to learn a 3rd language before graduating? Yes? No? Don’t worry! In this blog, I will share with you what worked for me to prepare for the exemption exam so you can quickly check this requirement off even before the program starts.
We are some of the first '18Ds on campus this year, starting our intensive language course in November, before the official start in January. It has been a whirlwind of activity since landing at Charles de Gaulle, getting a €120 UBER (it’s a little far!), and finally unpacking my bags in my new (AirBnB) home. Naturally, my house mates (a Brazilian, a Cuban/American and a Chinese), and I (a British/Cypriot) hosted the first welcome party for everyone.
Diversity is a word that you’ll hear everywhere at INSEAD. With over 90 different nationalities and almost the same number of languages spoken on Campus, no other business school offers such a multicultural experience. It’s not surprising to see that international motivation is one of the four Admissions Criteria at INSEAD.