Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Great World City

Great World City, this could be Singapore's nickname. It's small, but burstling, and quite international. It's also a wonderful base to discover Asia: from its food, and its easy location at the centre of such dream destinations as Angkor Vat, Bangkok, Bali. My Singapore fellow bloggers have done them all, and more thoroughly than I will, so I won't talk too much about travels.

Still, let me share the nice places I have eaten, and will eat to.
First stop: Great World City hawker centre.
I love hawker centres. It's where all Singaporeans eat. At night it's even nicer, as you can spot families, couples, old people, young professionals.
Stall number 18 was pretty good -fried noodles with seafood, pork, and eggs- for 2 euros.

As a starter, I would recommend the Stall at the opposite end of 18 (the woman in red). Not only does she cook great fried fishballs and wontons -1 euro for 6 pieces to die for- but also she has good taste as found me good looking ;-)
Today, we also had the Club Recruitment fair. I believe a lot of P1s enrolled, which is great. Clubs are part of INSEAD traditions, and the beginning of networks. It looked like Great World City, only that stalls sold networks and values, instead of noodles and soups.

This week is also our recruitment fair. In our case, electives Prof. try their best to retain us. It looked like Great World City again, this time with Professors selling dreams and promises. I have been shopping around and can definitely say that P3 electives are awesome. The choice is too tough.
What I like about electives is that they are 100% oriented towards your short term objectives. In that regard, I feel much more at ease than in P1 and P2. Less academic, more intimate, more related: classes are great fun and everybody participates. Electives also are very much group oriented. The only flip side of intensity is absoption capacity. I mean, if I had 48 hour days I would take them all, nearly.

Among the star electives:
- Applied Corporate Finance, aka. Finance 3, aka 1 case study every 2 days... featuring the one dubbed as even better than Theo and Pascal, namely Pierre Hilion.
- Venture Opportunities and Business Models, aka "Venture something" or VOBM, or how to play a Venture Capitalist/Private Equity guy for 2 months, starring Phil Anderson -this guy is a machine, he handles with great efficacy (and amazing consistency) 3 sections in a row.
- Family Business, by Randel Carlock, aka Dallas in the real life. Stories about love, hate, transitions. Awesome stuff. Quoted from a Spanish student "the best session I've had at INSEAD so far". Presumably it was the hooking session too. I like Randel's habit of going for lunch with his students too. Given the limited number of participants, he also offers one-on-one counseling on family businesses.
- Strategy Ownership Governance, aka "Strategy something" or SOG, featuring Matt Bidwell. Quite interesting, quite conceptual too. The guy loves Commercial Law, and Ethical issues...
- Shaping Consumer Behavior, from Ziv Carmon. It seems ok. Definetely not the Great Insight, but at least entertaining. There's still something annoying in the Professor deriving theories from examples (as opposed to the other way round). The guy does not quite like contradiction too, despite his claims.

As to other electives, I'm sorry I cannot report on them. I'm sure Professors are as dedicated, as passionate, as interesting, as insightful as those I've seen.

Finally I guess I overreacted on P3 core courses. Macroecon seems to be liked by most students, and Session 2 did not look like the latest Mills and Boon release.
ISM has improved today. More structure, interesting matrices. It's still not a knockout, but much better.

One last word about social interactions. I've started to meet up some Design students (well through electives), while Wharton students -understandably given the small number- have not yet ventured out of their circle. The biggest surprise might come form Singapore students. I honestly do not feel we are any different in terms of values. Further, there's no such thing as lower tier in Singapore. Campuses spread was done on the basis of people diversity only. Yet, I can understand that Singapore students feel a bit overwhelmed (they lost 50 of their close buddies, and got 150 Fonty people instead). Hallonman wrote a great post on this -as if there was some invasion of strangers on campus:

Ok, I'm dead. It's 00.15, and I still need to prepare for class tomorrow at 8.30.

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