Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Best Year of our lives...

As I was running this morning next to the Chateau I was stuck by how cold it was, but how beautiful too in the middle of the fog. Reflecting on the past week, it reminded me of Marketing Professor's comment, that INSEAD's learning method is like a murder story, in which you are given clues along the way and suddenly, near the end, you solve the puzzle and the Truth appears to you, in a blatant way. The analogy, of course, being that each lessons is like a step in the fog.

This morning run enabled me to ponder my immediate next step: Singapore or not Singapore in P3? I mean, I love the Fontainebleau life, honestly. Contrarily to many, I think the small town atmosphere is a plus, as it allows to study, and reflect, and not to be distracted by the many pleasures of bustling cities. Two elements stongly could tip the balance in favour of going to Singapore: best electives in P3, by far, compared to Fonty, in terms of quantity and quality (as measured by feedback grades); and not losing touch with classmates. Two-thirds of them will be going, during 20% of the Programme. Three elements would tip the balance for Fonty: the really nice life over here, the comfort of not moving out and in and out and in again, and that anyway my housemates told me they arranged their accomodation with other people already (ie. a sign that, we'll all lose track of each other anyway).

Yesterday was the Montmelian Party. This is iconic in the INSEAD year. Montmelian is a bit of an oddity. Rooms are passed to subsequent intakes either through some kind of interviews process or through cooptation. Which makes the atmosphere really special if you like it. The Chateau itself is magnificent, the grounds are superb. The inside is a bit on the old and inconvenient side though..

So why the best year of our lives? This is a quote from P5s actually at the Montmelian Ball. These guys will be out in the real life in 6 weeks... They are getting so nostalgic of their year here already. And so, as the P5 speaker was getting in the mood of the party, he got a bit sentimental. "Make it the best year of your life", was his straight-from-the heart line. He was totally right: we have a duty to ourselves, our families, our companies, our partners, to make it the best year of our lives. Some people think of it as, as much partying and fun as can be. Whilst they should definitely play hard, harder than ever, they should never forget to work hard as well. Where/when else can you find so many bright people with whom to share? so many opportunities to enrich yourself or start up your own project?

This is a good reminder for myself first, as I've been close to falling behind irreparably last week. Also, a timely moment to set my objectives into stone today. You see, the Entrepreneurship Faculty has this "Letter to myself" policy, in which participants write themselves a letter that will be sent to them one year after by the Entrepreneurship Professor. This letter is secret, but 2 INSEAD grads shared what they had written in it, and how helpful it had been for them to kickstart their projects. As I remain anonymous on campus, I feel ok sharing my goals over here, to which INSEAD/myself will be judged at the end of the programme.

1. Learning: I will work hard and build intuition on core subjects

2. Learning: I will not focus on Z-grades but on absolute grades, as a benchmark to myself, and not my peers

3. Learning: I will take electives that I chose upon applying (to match my current and long-term business objectives)

4. Learning: Although I hate Finance and Accounting, I will work hard on these subjects to make sure that I master them thoroughly.

5. Learning: I will improve my soft skills here through electives and participation

6. Lifestyle: I will limit my sleep to 6 hours in normal days, from 2AM to 8AM, and make sure that the rest of the day is packed with classes, group work, sports, and social interactions

7. Lifestyle: I will commit myself more in medium-term partnerships

8. Lifestyle: I will build durable friendships at INSEAD, while not neglecting current outside ones.

9. Lifestyle: I will make it the Best Year of My Life, and not regret anything.

10. Work Project: After INSEAD I will work in entrepreneurship (in one way or the other), and start up a business within 1 year of graduation.

Here's the rule: I can add objectives along the way, but never substract any. At the end of INSEAD, I shall review and see how effectively the School will have helped me attain them.


To see the video teaser of the party (I'll have a post on the party itself once I get pics):

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