Our cohort is a special one, which makes for an unforgettable and meaningful MBA experience. Although we are in lockdown, we are getting so much support from the school, professors, and students who are continuously committed to alleviating the negative impact on the learning experience at INSEAD.
A handshake. Sitting in a classroom. Going to ‘Freddy’s’ bar. So many things we have taken for granted have now changed.
My only experience in the Middle East had previously been in 2014. I was heading to Europe for a vacation, and had stopped over in Qatar. There, I saw the sun – a flaming ball of red – rising over an endless desert. The locals breezed by in long, flowing robe-like attires that are mostly in hues of white or black. A kaleidoscope of accents greeted me as I entered shops and restaurants, indicating that a huge number of foreigners worked there as well.
After nearly five years of working in an office environment at INSEAD, I’ve switched to working from home. Due to the COVID-19 situation, I knew it was the right decision but I’ve been surprised that letting go of working from the office would be so uncomfortable.
As I write this, the 'circuit breaker' in Singapore has been extended to June 4, a big blow to the student and faculty morale. Invariably, this will be another post amongst the 1000’s detailing the disruption COVID-19 has caused albeit with a focus on leadership. Specifically, I will touch upon the ‘act’ aspect of leadership from my perspective of the faculty and students. Students
The INSEAD MBA is an intense 10-month rollercoaster and the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to put a sudden brake at the very summit, jolting us back to an unfamiliar new reality. But despite our self-administered physical fences, the unwavering support of our INSEAD friends shone through, reminding us that we were in this together.
The year 1775 in pre-revolution France was the best of times, and it was also the worst of times - at least according to Charles Dickens. “[…] It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us […]”
I recently had a session with my career coach. Our meetings often have a straight-forward agenda. This one in particular was to talk about how to highlight my leadership abilities in my upcoming interviews. But, as usual, this session would be one where we choose to meander our way around this agenda and take the scenic, reflective route instead. She’d let me give an account of how I was feeling, what I’d been up to since we last spoke, and would then proceed to respond with a series of questions that would kick-off our hour-long session.
This week marks the third week I’ve been following INSEAD’s classes online less than a kilometre away from INSEAD’s Europe campus, and so far the experience has been better than I thought it would be. What I miss the most in online classes are mini interactions that happen in hallways, in the bar, in the restaurant, or anywhere in the city. Last month, a trip to the supermarket or a restaurant would involve me bumping into 3-4 INSEADers along the way. Now, a trip to the restaurant is around eight steps and surprise! I’m the chef, waiter, and guest. “Bienvenue Monsieur!”
How the world has changed over the last two months. In early February, my classmates and I were still planning to go on the China trek over the P3-4 break and now, even those in Fontainebleau, who are 9,000 miles away from Wuhan, are quarantined indoors.