Friday, September 08, 2006

Week 1: Discovering Class of July 07 - Welcome Week

Week One at INSEAD has elapsed. The Dream Year is finally starting.
I have so many things to say and wanted to write earlier but INSEAD's computers do not allow to pop-ups from blogger so I could not manage it before.

INSEAD's first week somehow was tough for some people as we were all confronted to the reality of school and MBA and got the first glimpse of whether INSEAD would fulfill expectations of bridging our past experience to future high ambitions.

Here are some reasons I came accross:
- Great brand, perfect to go into Consulting
- Don't want to spend 2 years in MBA
- Rejected from Harvard/Wharton or Stanford
- Rich European kid's place (mostly untrue reputation)
- Growing reputation in entrepreneurship
- Expensive (but why not?) one-year break to reflect and meet like-minded people

For most people though INSEAD was the one and only place that combined brand name, excellence, short intensive course in fitting values. It is interesting to see that, although INSEAD has star professors (Chan and Mauborgne for instance), it is the students who really make its reputation. Diversity, tolerance, fun, are no fluke values.
Occasionaly you may encouter the arrogant bloke, the daddy's blonde, but that is really rare and certainly far more so than in the real corporate world.
Students then are INSEAD's true treasure. Think about it: 450 people with 6 years experience on average -that is 2.700 years of combined experience; and for the qualitative experience, coming from 70 countries, having lived and worked in nearly all countries of the planet, from Olympic gold medallist to architect, from Army officer to trader.

Most represented coutry: India, then France, then US.
Less represented countries: Benin, Zimbabwe...
Biggest country: Russia
Tiniest country: Mauritius
Coolest country: Britain, Spain, and Middle East, great cohorts!
Hottest country: Russia (those Russian girls...)
Most unheard-of country: New Caledonia

More broadly, allow me to reflect on Welcome Week.
INSEAD has become a reality for all of us. On Mon. 28 August, my email switched to (that tells you something about the probability of failure!) Welcome Week was light in terms of workload but really heavy in partying and socializing. We net MBA Dean Antonio Fatas (a trully extraordinary guy), and INSEAD Big Boss Dean Franck Brown on Tuesday.
Dean Fatas is absolutely amazing: sharp, funny, very welcoming, chatting to everyone. Dean Brown seemed nice and competent. July O7 is his first intake. After his speech, I do remember one American student though complaining that he compared the school to Harvard. That student argued that Harvard specifically was not the school that she wanted, and that INSEAD students should choose the school because it is not Harvard, but in the league of Harvard. Anyway, clearly Dean Brown's mission is to boost INSEAD brand name around the world. On Wed. we had exemptions exams (for people who knew too much about Period 1 subjects), and language exams. I got a "Fluent" grade in my 3rd language, which means that the exam is not so difficult.

Welcome Week is also when P4 students, ie. the intake before you, recruits Club members from P1. Clubs are ESSENTIAL to INSEAD's culture. Everybody tries to enter a club which becomes a place of intense socialising of like-minded people. You have to get into a Club, they are a good networking tool as well. I got rejected by the Action Team Club (presumably I was not extreme enough, which is true), but managed to get into the Rugby Club.

During Welcome Week, you discover your group mates that will follow you throughout Periods 1 and 2. I will talk about group work more specifically later, but basically the School tries to mix backgrounds, nationalities, and characters so that we have fun (ie. we fight a lot, then try to find solutions to work together, then become good friends). In itself, this groups could be a class in themselves, called Group Dynamics. First step to discover your team, is through Outward Bound Day, in the Fontainebleau Forest. Through the day, you face problems that only can be solved in group. I will not reveal how our group performed, to keep the magic of Outward Bound, but one exercise is pictured on top of the post. I was taking the picture of what seems a darn confused group...

Then we had our first INSEAD official party organised by P4 which was brilliant. I must add that I have truly felt that I belonged to the school from that moment on, and that I love my school and school mates.

Labels: ,


At 10:32 AM , Blogger Mayank said...


Can you tell me a bit more about the INSEAD Action team Club? Any contact details? I haven't seen any mention of it on INSEAD's website.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home