I have long heard that Fontainebleau is the most popular bouldering destination in the world and a must visit place for every climber, and that bouldering is very popular amongst INSEAD students. Although I've never tried, I feel that my MBA journey at INSEAD is very much about trying new experiences and discovering new adventures. My classmate Patrick gave me a bouldering lesson at the Karma Salle d'Escalade Fontainebleau, I learnt so much, and really look forward to venturing out into the forest soon!
INSEAD MBA students are allocated into study groups, so that we may learn from each other, strengthen our teamwork skills, and use our collective intelligence to reach new heights. Study groups are a little like families - we sit together in class everyday, complete a significant amount of assignment together, and coach each other in our Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLDP) programme.
Fontainebleau has many shared houses for INSEAD MBA students. I live at Club 16, which is right at the heart of Fontainebleau and 15 mins walk to INSEAD. My housemates are all very international and fun to be with, we love sharing our experiences and learning about each other's cultures. The great kitchen and dining rooms at Club 16 means we often cook and eat together, and invite over other classmates. Shared houses provide the perfect environment for us to strengthen our friendships and have fun!
Before I came to INSEAD, I thought career planning was about perfecting your CV, cover letter, Linkedin profile and cracking interviews. I was wrong. During launch week, we learned that our career choices are deeply rooted within our values, beliefs, past experiences, aspirations and dreams.
Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion in the Chinese culture. It is a particularly emotional time for me, as I miss my dear family very much. However, this year is special, because I celebrated it with my dear classmates in Fonty. We ate Chinese traditional food, including spicy hot pot and moon cakes! We admired the beautiful moon together, just like we would do every year on mid-autumn festival day at home! With so much warmth and joy, I'm so glad to have found a home away from home in Fonty!
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!
It is perhaps a bit of a corny title for a blog post, yet it underscores one of the founding principles of INSEAD: a truly global community. When any Venezuelan first hears the word 'MBA', three institutions come to mind: IESA (Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración) in Venezuela, Harvard and Stanford in the United States.