Nov 28, 2007

Happy Ending

All is well in the world: today, Emma came back. For all of you outside of France, and all of you in France but locked within the INSEAD bubble, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Over the past couple weeks, the country has been under the captive spell of the largest teaser campaign since the famous "La semaine prochaine j'enlève le haut" ad. Paul's desperate plea for Emma to return to him has been broadcast everywhere: on the radio, TV, billboards, and "his" blog: Perhaps a future Marketing case study in the making?

In INSEAD news: I'm not going to Singapore after all. Having been finally allotted a spot at the very last possible minute, the hassle of subletting my room here and finding short-term accommodation there was just not worth it. So I'll be spending winter in Fonty, in a severally reduced campus (about half the class will be gone).

In the meantime, myself and the rest of the P2 class are struggling to stay afloat. With six subjects, and an average of two group assignments a weak, sleeping has become an unaffordable luxury, and participation in social events require advanced time management skills. I'm enjoying the greater emphasis on case studies, and the more practical learning we're getting this period as compared to last, but OMG I need a break!

A little relief has come in the form of the Barcelona rugby trip, preparations for Cabaret and (because I am a nerd) the work on the L'Oreal business simulation game. More exciting events are coming up - just in time to tear us away from exam preparations - namely the Desi week party on Friday (theme: traditional Indian wedding), a rather special weekend for me this weekend (with friends coming from all over France and England!), the Winter Ball in a couple weeks (theme: Venice carnival) and of course the Cabaret show.

And so, to future students and applicants, I repeat the words of wisdom we got from the senior class: you can sleep next year...

Nov 19, 2007

Gratuitous Advertising

I have just now been granted possible access to that most rare and precious of commodities, a P3 spot in Singapore, and have about 5 minutes to confirm whether I will take it or not. Within those 5 minutes, I have to sublease my room, find accomodation in Singapore, and tear my hair out. More about the nightmare that is campus exchange later.

In the meantime, I will shamelessly use this little internet space of mine to advertise my wonderful, fabulous, one in a million room at Club 16, right smack in the middle of Fontainebleau and a short walk to school. If you're interested in living the jet-setting life of the Club in January/February 2008, at a very special price, please email me asap at res.ipsa.insead at

End of advertisement. You can now go back to your regular programming.

Nov 11, 2007

A Week in the Life of P2

Sorry it's been a while. If you knew what a typical INSEAD week looks like these days, though, you'd understand. In fact, let me give you a guided tour of a fairly standard week in my life:

Saturday: (we start here because all good things start on a Saturday, in my book)
No class today. This is very exciting. Lots of reading to do, though... slightly less exciting. Plus there's rugby practice (and trust me, it's cold). Then there's the frantic last minute shopping for essential accessories for whatever themed party is going on. Tonight, it's the Montmelian Ball 7 Sins extravaganza. My sin of choice for the evening: greed. Goes very nicely with all the champagne. Mmmmm...

Sunday: The day of rest. Well sort of. Very little time to actually recover from last night's party before I realize I better finish the reading in case Jake Cohen (accounting superstar and my worst nightmare) decides to call on me. And you know he will.

Monday: We kick off the day with Accounting at 8.30 am before running off to Finance and an all-afternoon-long CV workshop. By this point I'm already exhausted but I have rugby practice again. (Yes, dear friends, you weren't misreading earlier, I have actually joined the women's rugby team. Laugh all you want). It's even colder now than it was on Saturday.

Tuesday: Long day of class today largely spent discussing power tools, until it's time for our section's long-awaited champagne party. As co-organiser, I naturally feel obligated to get there early and drink as much champagne as possible. According to all those surveyed, as well as the tell-tale glazed expressions the next morning, the party was a huge success.

Wednesday: L'Oreal comes to school today to present it's e-strat business game. My team is now all set and ready to shine in the glitzy world of cosmetics. We quickly come back down to earth in POM and Accounting. In the evening, my study group spends a couple hours playing with single-server queue theory before devouring a delicious meal at a local Michelin 1* restaurant (La Table Saint Juste, I recommend it).

Thursday: Heavy class schedule today, and I'm determined to go to bed early tonight. But first we have to learn about Black-Scholes and apply it stock options for our group assignment in finance. And then there's people having drinks at Aussie Bar and, well, life is short, I'll sleep next year.

Friday: Today is big scary exam results day. If you want to know how I did, well, I can't tell you. INSEAD non-disclosure policy, you understand. Things have been happily coordinated, and we end up having our exam results distributed in a 1-hr window from a single, small office during class time. Needless to say there were suddenly quite a few empty seats in what is usually a packed amphi for Taylor Randall's one-man-POM-comedy routine. And then we still have to sit through 3 hours of LO until 7pm before finally being able to run screaming through the halls on our way to the closest bar (seeking either celebration or comfort...)

And then it starts all over again...

Highlights for the upcoming week include: the INSEAD Dash on Wednesday morning (8am), two group assignments to prepare, auditions for Cabaret, more rugby practice, and a weekend trip to Barcelona with the team to play against LBS and IESE...

Nov 1, 2007

We're Back

It's the beginning of P2, and there's a new motto around here: "Bring it on." You want to give us 6 core courses instead of 5? You want to overload us with readings? You want to cold call in accounting? You want to make us hand in assignments every week? Fine. We got through P1, we learned from our mistakes, we can do this. Bring it on.

We're all still feeling refreshed and rejuvenated from our break, and ready to enjoy the "fun" side of INSEAD again. In some sense, the tragedy that struck our class last week has served to deepen our resolve to make the most of this experience. Coming up this weekend is the famous (or infamous) Montmelian Ball. This year's theme: the 7 deadly sins. Also back are the house dinners, the house parties and the weekend trips. Nothing the profs do to us can bring us down now.

I expect the positive, go-get-em mentality will last at least until we get our exam results next week. Then we'll all go home with our tails between our legs to lick our wounds...

In the meantime, I leave you with a few pictures from sunny Morocco: