Self-isolation paints a scary picture during COVID times. For many, the thought of attending MBA classes via Zoom while being confined to a tiny room is a significant compromise to the campus experience, and potentially a nightmare. But having being thrown unexpectedly into this situation for two weeks, my perspective transformed.
The three months since Launch Week for the INSEAD MBA July’21 class have passed in a blink of an eye: 77 people across two sections in the Singapore campus - the smallest INSEAD cohort ever. It’s incredible to reflect on this amazing experience we’ve been on together since day one. As pioneers in the new hybrid learning environment, we’ve learned to be adaptive and flexible.
Master Strategy Day is a highlight for INSEAD students. One of our core courses is Introduction to Strategy, where we compete in teams to design a creative yet feasible strategy for a client within 24 hours. The challenges, learning, teamwork, excitement and intellectual fulfilment all made the experience incredible.
“Never again,” I told myself after the lockdown restrictions were lifted in Antwerp, Belgium, where I had been residing for the last three years. Never again did I want to live all alone in an apartment for weeks on end (felt like years) in isolation. I could practically see the wrinkles forming under my eyes each day as I woke up at 6:30am, worked out in my living room, showered and was on video calls starting at 8:30am for the rest of the day.
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.