Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Join My Cult

This week is the last "reasonable" one before Cases and Exams rush time. Everybody has realised it, and so everybody is throwing a party.

On Monday, Le Vivier House people organised the Spice Girls Party. Which was brave, considering that Tuesday, ie. today, was Prices and Markets Quiz 2 day.
Tomorrow, on Wednesday is Section 4 party at Villecerf, followed by the Baby Party at Samois-sur-Seine. On Thursday, it's group dinner. On Friday, it's Chinese Mid-Autumn dinner. On Saturday, it's Villecerf House party. This one is going to be big, because Villecerf is a traditional INSEAD compound. And they did a great job advertising it (actually my section got to see the movie twice... probably to get a good return out of the filming investment).


Some people are pondering whether to go to Warsaw next week as well, to support the School's rugby team, which is among the best of the MBAs -but then, INSEAD is the most European B-school too.

On the studies front, classes have been intense. Attendance in tutorials is increasing, as students are starting to smell exams. And in most classes, teachers are touching the most difficult parts of their courses. A real intimacy is being created with students too, making courses really enjoyable for both teachers and us. Stealing the show are, to general consensus, Stats Professor Diecidue and Economics Professor Van Zandt. They are outrageously good, in particular in making a fun and interesting class out of tough materials. All professors are brilliant actually, and it's worth defining what makes a professor good.
I believe there are two dimensions regarding the end-result Professors should look for: how much and well have students learned, and how much they have enjoyed it. Pedagogy and preparation are key inputs to the first dimension. Enthusiasm, personality, and intimacy are key to inputs the second dimension. Luckily, my section's professors score high on all.

In P&M today, we discussed about Game Theory in a very concrete way. We played a number game in which students had to forecast the class' average number according to a certain function. Since most people got the trick -I suspect I am in the gamblers section- we very quickly converged to the Nash equilibrium of Game Theory.
Then, on auction -second highest bid valuation type- 2 weird tshirts "Join My Cult" logoed were on offer by Professor Van Zandt. We had to bid (real money!) to get them. People went crazy and the tshirts went to €24.99 and €21 bidders.
We also started an Economics game against Singapore campus and Wharton. First round of 4 games: one on Location (competition against other firms around you selling identical products), one on Quality (competition between Low end and High end firms), one on Quantity (oligopolistic competition), and one on Advertising (pure game theory). We can't figure out yet the takeaways, but it is sure fun in most groups.

IBM CEO Sam Palmisano came to school to present his vision of industry trends. The conference was sold out (free tickets), and feedback is the presentation part was ok, and the questions-answers much better.

Groupwise, we had an excellent Leading People class on Feedback, which forced everybody to sit down and give feedback to the group. I guess this was another milestone in our group evolving to the Performing stage of group dynamics. (As you know, group dynamics has been theorized into 4 stages: Forming -knowing each other, testing; Storming -conflicting, arguing; Norming, establishing rules; and Performing.)
Concretely we were asked to determine what each person should DO MORE OF, DO LESS OF, and CONTINUE TO DO.
Thank God there were no surprises about how group members perceived others, incurring that we know each other quite well and have gone past the Storming phase. Now we must make sure that we all indidually work on the improvement points raised within the group.
I still see some groups in the earlier phases, and worse, groups so mad in the Storming phase that they've decided to lay back in the Forming phase; my poor house mate spent 4 hours yesterday to complete Game 1 of the Game Competition, as her group rambled on generalities but never resolved to tackle the heart of the problem. When she got home, they were still arguing about the other 3 games. I guess, in her case, her pulling pack is an example of making do with that and enjoying better the Forming phase. I did advise her though to go to her group meetings prepared with analytical solutions so that they would have a more solid starting point for discussion.

It all boils down to joining one's cult, when you come think about it.

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At 2:21 AM , Blogger ishmael said...

Hi Domodomo,

Nice blogs ...

I am planning to apply for INSEAD MBA this year. Would it be possible for you to give me your contact details ..It will be very helpful for me to get some answers .. my email id kkt32089@yahoo.com

At 12:16 AM , Blogger DomoDomo@INSEAD said...

Hi. Sorry to answer this late. I'm available for questions. I'll send you an email today. Sorry again!


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