Arriving at Fontainebleau in January 2020 was a hassle for many of us who were eager to start the MBA journey at INSEAD. Paris had been on strike for almost a month as unions were protesting President Macron’s proposed pension reforms. The city was nearly paralysed, and few trains were running to Fontainebleau.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This article isn’t a cliché about how to look for opportunities in times of crisis. Neither is it about the sadness and problems arriving for such a critical moment in our history. It is a message of love and caring. It portrays tiny and simple examples of how you can embrace people around you, even if you just met them a couple of months ago.
The first two months at INSEAD fulfilled all my expectations. It all looks so normal now for everybody to be here, but when you remember all the efforts you had to make before coming here to get admitted, it all pays off. Each person has a different unique, interesting and inspiring story… I love to hear each and every one of them! Fontainebleau
Pre-MBA Coming from an isolated country, I was overjoyed to receive multiple b-school offers. I selected INSEAD because of the large alumni network, diversity of thoughts and culture, and positive feedback from a high school friend who had graduated from INSEAD.
The happiness I felt when I got the acceptance call from INSEAD is a feeling I will never forget. But, after a first wave of excitement, and when it finally sunk in that the INSEAD dream was actually going to become a reality, my next reaction was to look at my calendar. I was eager to start bonding with the other students from my cohort, but there was one challenge: classes would only start in six months!
I am sitting in front of the ocean in tropical weather, concluding my journey at INSEAD. It has been a truly life changing year.
If long run averages are anything to go by, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a Fontainebleau to Paris car ride to last 45 minutes. But the moment you throw a national public transport strike into the mix, the travel time increases to an astronomical 2.5 hours. To many a bystander, this would qualify as a high barrier to entry. Hence, if said bystanders chose to cozy up in bed with a warm mug of cocoa, rather than brave the vagaries of Paris’ traffic network, they would probably not be judged too harshly by society.
Fear of Missing Out - FOMO. Some of you might have heard about it, or even might have felt it before. It is somewhat of an invasive feeling of anxiety that others might be having more meaningful experiences. It tends to get people to become distracted from their inner desires to avoid the feeling of being different, or not part of a group or community. FOMO can happen in very simple ways.
When you hear “INSEAD”, “fashion” isn’t necessarily a word that comes to mind. After writing a blog post about my intention to switch to a job focused on luxury fashion, people asked, “So why didn’t you choose a Master’s programme specialising in that industry?” After all, the post-graduation placement in luxury from schools like IFM, SDA Bocconi, and HEC is incredibly impressive.
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.