Reflecting on my INSEAD experience so far on my last day in Kampala, Uganda, brings a fresh perspective on what was and what could have been. A lot has happened in the past seven months, and as the recruitment drive moves into full swing for the majority of my class it’s only fair to look back on the academic journey and share some thoughts for prospective students. Nostalgia is at the door but it isn’t time to open it yet!
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.
Before I started my MBA journey many people were telling me that INSEAD life is intense and that I will have no other options, but learn to prioritise and say “no” to certain events, travels and parties, because it is just too much to combine with academics, career research and sleep.
I am now sitting on the plane from Munich back to Singapore after my extended long weekend between period one and two. Thanks to the invitation of Microsoft Munich to an assessment center, I could pay a short visit back to Germany after two months' stay in Singapore. The time has passed by amazingly fast since I started my MBA journey at INSEAD because the MBA programme at INSEAD is so intense and enjoyable. Actually, If I can only choose two words to symbolise my experience in the past eight weeks, I would say intense & fun.
As my INSEAD journey continues, I have recognised that I really like how dynamic the classes are. At school, we learn from a variety of activities - not only the lectures or methodology, but how to apply them in teams and in business.The faculty encourages us to do reflections after class, which is an efficient way to remember the courses and to improve oneself. In this video, you will see examples of our Strategy and Organisational Behaviour courses. Enjoy :)
A good Egyptian friend once told me, if you want to learn how to build cities from scratch, go to the UAE. Having spent the last two months in the Abu Dhabi campus, I couldn’t agree more. Geographically, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might be as far as possible from Peru and I had previously never set foot in the MENA region (Middle East and Northern Africa). The possibility of spending a period there (January and February) seemed like the right opportunity to explore. Cultural Understanding
Do you really learn anything in an MBA? One of my primary motivations for pursuing an MBA was to fill in gaps in my economics background, specifically my limited knowledge of finance and accounting. As I researched MBA programmes and MBA culture over the past few years, however, I grew a bit sceptical of how much actual learning would occur, relative to the priorities of networking and recruiting.
I am a minority at INSEAD. Coming in, I had never taken a business or quantitative degree – ever! Even though I had already braced myself for a challenge when I decided to apply, I still found myself initially overwhelmed in the first couple of weeks of classes. I was sitting in finance class with CFA-certified colleagues and computing regression models with engineers!
The 19Js are going into recruitment season, the 19Ds are preparing for their internships, and the very air on campus is tense but buzzing. I feel this is the right time to write about asking for and offering help – a critical part of the essence of INSEAD. “How do you randomly reach out to people and ask them for advice? It isn’t that easy after all, right?” a prospective candidate rhetorically asked me at a recent INSEAD admissions event. The thing is though, it is that easy; and INSEAD makes it easier still.