Oct 2, 2007

Prices, Markets and Group Bonding

Prices and Markets is the name of our Micro-Economics course in P1, taught by the INSEAD Greek legend that is Nikos Vettas. And this week is definitely Prices and Markets week.

On Monday, we had our second quiz, designed to help us assess whether we've understood what's been going on so far, and more generally give us a first taste of exam panic (yup, those babies start in less than three weeks...) Despite counting for only 10% of our grade, the quiz kept my entire house up late Sunday night, frantically trying to understand why profit-maximizing output should be set at P=MC.

Also on this week are the "P&M Games." No, this does not involve our class stretching its collective athletic muscle to compete for laurel wreaths before our great Athenian leader. Instead, each of our study groups is matched against another group from Fonty, Singapore, or the Wharton MBA class (an example of the INSEAD/Wharton Alliance at work) as we set prices and quantities for products in an attempt to make more profit than the other guy. Every day this week, we input our decisions into the network and wait to see what the other teams come up with before moving on to the next round. While rather time-consuming (but hey, who needs sleep...) it's a fun way to apply all these nifty equations we've been learning, and also allows us to work more closely with our groups.

In a similar vein, the P&M Class Exercises also start this week. This is based on the same principle as the P&M Games, but carried out on a smaller, less high-tech level. First up, pricing pharmaceuticals when a patent is about to expire and a new generic brand wants to enter the market.

As you can see, slight Econ overload, but I actually really enjoy the subject so no complaints from me (all I can say is thank god I don't have to spend that much time doing accounting...)

Another feature of the week is frantic, generalized study group bonding. Our LPG (Leading Peoples and Groups) essay is due next week, subject: your study group, its mechanics and your role within it. This essay counts for 50% of our grade, and while it may seem "warm and fuzzy" compared to the heavy finance and stats stuff we have to do, it's slowly dawning on most of us that writing an essay like this will not actually be simple. So, groups that have until now been spending as little time as possible with each other are planning dinners, study sessions, drunken brawls, anything that will allow them to "observe" each other while surreptitiously scribbling notes in a little black book and gathering fodder for the essay. Spies are everywhere.

And with that I leave you to go meet my group for the next round of P&M Games. Shhhhh....


screwsfallout said...


Thanks for keeping this blog. I start at INSEAD in Jan. I am also a lawyer and wonder whether you have any particular tips for a lawyer-INSEADER-to-be... For example, to pre-read or not to pre-read? Also, who on earth can I talk to about what health insurance I need?

Any other general tips are welcome and appreciated, and again, your blog is great and I hope you have the time and inspiration to keep writing.


res i(p)sa said...

Personally, I did very little pre-reading (a couple chapters in the Finance book and about a 3rd of the econ) and didn't attend Foundations, and I have no regrets. It all depends on how comfortable you are about your quant skills (as distinct from actual finance knowledge) and how much work you're willing to put in to the first few weeks of school. I haven't necessarily felt that us lawyers (a sub-set of the so-called "poet" group at INSEAD) are at a particular disadvantage compared to the other non-bankers (which will be at least 2/3 of your class). Even though things will seem daunting at first, by the end of the first month you'll be making references to NPV, elasticity and normal distribution approximations as if you'd been doing this your whole life!

As for health insurance, it really depends on where you come from (I'm French so things were more straight-forward for me) and your age. NV is a good resource for information. You will also get a lot of information during orientation week.

See you in Jan and good luck in the meantime!


sopa said...

yes I like you blog too. It makes you feel like you are on the campus but without having to stay late at night working on stats or microeconomics.
On the other hand too bad we cant taste the scallops and apple pie at Montmellian or have a dance at club 16.
Maybe Accipiter Nisus is right and you should consider a carier in writing?
By the way you never answered the question: are you the bald one on the picture?

Youssef said...

Hey res i(p)sa,

I have been reading your blog along with your other classmates and looking forward to the start of my class in January.

It is interesting how most of your class's blogs are anonymous ... :)

Would you be kind and send me contact info of some of the actual tenants at chateau Montmellian?

My email is ybiadi@gmail.com

I would tremendously appreciate it.