“At INSEAD everybody is a minority” – Ilian Mihov, INSEAD’s Dean in his speech to the 16D class at Singapore’s Welcome Ceremony.
Well it’s been intense. After a month away from the bubble, I’m slowly dipping my toes back in. The good news is we all survived P2! The bad news is that we’ve only got 6 months to go and reality is hurtling ever closer. We’ve bid teary farewells to one class and now it’s time to say hello to the Class of 2016D – so hello 16Ds! It’s your turn inside the bubble… welcome to INSEAD! Here’s what I’ve learnt from P1-P2… Keep reminding yourself of why you’re here
Having studied and worked all my life in and around Montreal, INSEAD is my gateway to international opportunities. So much learned in the first half of the MBA. As practice makes perfect, why not a summer internship to practice all of this? What one might expect coming in Africa with an outsider’s point of view is to have many misconceptions shattered. Of course, it’s easy to think about Africa as a continent, one continent. But how about viewing it as 54 different countries?
Here we are, at the middle point. Five months ago, we knew nothing of these grounds; we hadn’t even set foot in this forest. Five months. That’s all it is, and that’s all it takes. So what has changed? I’d like to say a few grey hairs and perhaps a few extra pounds, but that would probably be half a lie. Or half the truth for that matter. B-School for the world where we study with 90 other nationalities: this surely is bound to create a certain disorder—even a mess. Or does it?
Who would have thought I would come to INSEAD to learn how to dance hip hop, discover the European après-ski, or get to hear the faculty gossip in the sauna every Friday afternoon? It’s the small things in life that make INSEAD unique. They help shape an experience that make the school, settled in a quiet town in the middle of a boar- and deer- infested forest less than 45 minutes away outside of Gâre de Lyon-Paris, come to life. Business School for the World. Focused around food.
One week into the programme, we had our first quiz. Then, six weeks later, a frenzy came along: the final exam frenzy. Only then, when you take a look at practice final exams do you realise the amount of material covered in such a short amount of time. (I heard the second term takes this concept a notch further, with an extra class in the schedule, but I digress. Let’s keep this topic for, perhaps, a few weeks from now.) We all do an MBA for different reasons.
One week into arriving in Fontainebleau to tackle this one-year MBA, and I am already deep into activities, classes, and social events. It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve put my other ‘regular and normal’ life on the sidelines 6,000 kilometers away but it’s only been seven days.
“I am more than the sum of my achievements” Four periods of the MBA done and less than one period is left. The past nine months have been a total whirlwind. Never have I experienced something as unique, intense, or wonderfully intimidating as undertaking an MBA. Now, with graduation around the corner, I am faced with a pressing question; How do you make sure that, after having gone through a period of such deep personal disruption and chaos, you are able to enter your next environment as a wiser and more capable version of yourself?