Dec 10, 2007

Big girls don't cry

Much has been said about the lack of time at INSEAD. Lack of time to sleep, lack of time to exercise, lack of time to catch up on the Kilimanjaro-sized packet of reading materials... There's a much bigger problem, though. Lack of time to deal with your personal life, and whatever happens to be going on in your mind, heart or body. Family problems? Relationship trouble? Feeling blue, heartbroken, deathly ill? Tough. You still need to study accounting. And finance. And and and... We always say INSEAD is a bubble, where we live cloistered and protected from the real world. But sometimes the real world comes knocking, or prefers the more subtle approach of smacking you about the head with a baseball bat, and there's really no time to do anything about it.

So back I go to exam prep. And since it's exam prep time again, I suppose it's also wrap-up time again, where I tell give all you avid readers the skinny on classes this period. So here goes:

Corporate Financial Policy (Pascal Maenhout): Pascal is a great guy, a great teacher, has tremendous school spirit (can't believe I embarrassed myself at Cabaret in front of the Finance prof!) and all around a superstar. Finance, on the other hand, I'm less enthralled with. Especially the derivatives part (which is about half the course). As I was discussing with a fellow finance-averse student today, it's not so much "WHAT???" as "WHY????"

Managerial Accounting (Jake Cohen): Jake is an INSEAD legend. Everybody loves him, and half of Cabaret is devoted to imitating him. Personally, the guy leaves me cold. However, we did learn something in his class, and he actually got me over my visceral hatred of accounting, so that counts for something.

Process & Operations Management (Taylor Randall): I don't think anyone was expecting much from this class (except maybe the cement guy). At first blush, it seemed like it was going to be pretty boring. But hats off to Taylor, who made it entertaining and relevant, and who is now largely responsible for the whole class wanting to work for Zara. My only concern is that the class focused mostly on qualitative analysis of processes, although apparently the exam is going to be mostly quantitative. We'll see how that goes.

Strategy (Andrew Shipilov): Sure, some people dislike the more "fuzzy" elements of the curriculum, but for me this is what business is all about. The case method approach worked really well, the Blue Ocean Strategy portion of the course was entertaining, and Andrew is a very engaging professor. So two thumbs up from me on this one.

Foundations of Marketing (Xavier Dreze): I'm going to risk creating controversy here, but I liked Marketing. Yes, I know this is not the majority opinion, as most of the class expressed a clear distaste both for the subject and for the professor. Not me, though, which is a pretty good thing considering I've got "Marketing" at the top of my future careers list!

Leading Organizations (Tom d'Aunno): I don't want to be mean, but honestly, what a let-down after GP's course in P1. I think the subject is quite interesting, but something about Tom just rubs me the wrong way. He definitely tries hard, so I give him credit for that, but I just don't feel he's sincere, and he has a tendency to pick on people in a way that is not always appropriate.

There you go. All 6 courses in under 100 words. Next period, which comes after a week of exams (#§%&!) and a much-looked-forward-to long Christmas break, I'll be taking two core courses ("Macroeconomics" and "International Political Analysis") and four electives ("Corporate Entrepreneurship", "Market Driving Strategies", "Strategies for Product and Services Development" and "Mergers, Acquisitions, Alliances & Corporate Strategy"). Probably not much time then either for a personal life.

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