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Found a House!!! July 30, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in Accomodation.

Et voila! I just paid the deposit for my room. Here are some pics of my new home for next year 🙂



I have to admit my house hunting has been a lot easier than I expected. The journey began not long ago via a short message on INSEAD’s marvellous intranet site called NetVestibule, declaring my intention to live in a Chateau next year. Although, soon after I realised that my plans might be too optimistic given that most of the chateaus are allocated to July promotion. So a small group of us started to look for a nice place that is big enough to accommodate a group of students. Living with a large group of friends is my priority. We found this beautiful cottage for eight people, a traditional party house yet also private, with a swimming pool, and not far from INSEAD. So far, we are four people. Three guys and one girl. We have decided to have mix of nationalities, mix of genders (ideally 50/50), and like mindedness amongst the residents (i.e. work hard, play hard attitude). We are doing pretty well on the nationality front and the culture but I think we will have to work on the gender. On the other hand, apparently we are doing much better than INSEAD on gender diversity. According to netVestibule there are 147 accepted students in round 1, out of which only 18 of them are women. That’s about 12%! Hmm.. I hope they do something about this..

Anyway, I am pretty excited about my new housemates. Here are some facts about us:

Nationalities represented: Venezuela, Turkey, Canada, Switzerland, France, and Spain. (Yes, some of us have dual nationalities)

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, French, Turkish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Interests: Partying, traveling, cooking, playing tennis, scuba diving, horse riding, skiing, playing golf, football, ice hockey, spear fishing, playing in a music band, boxing, civil rights, history, and cinema. (Blimey! No chance of getting bored!)

Background: Business Development, Consultancy, Entrepreneurship, and Engineering.

What can I say, I am looking forward to it! It will be interesting to see how this list changes once we have the other four housemates on board. Can’t wait!!!! 🙂


BCG Welcomes New Admits Over a Formal Reception July 26, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in Consultancy, Recruitment.
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Last Wednesday, I had my first experience of “walking in my MBA shoes”. The Boston Consulting Group, one of the most popular recruiters of INSEAD MBAs hosted a welcome reception for the admits of top schools for their forthcoming recruitment season.

At the height of the heat wave, it took me twice as long to get to BCG’s London office at Mayfair place. The building is impressive. BCG shares the building with Bain Capital and other prominent firms. As you would expect from the company, inside of the building matches the prestige of the brand name with all marble floors, immaculately clean reception, welcoming staff, and wide open space. I was kindly directed to the fifth floor and welcomed by BCG’s recruitment coordinator. Inside the office has a much more cozy look with cream carpets, sofas, and glass doors. The office space was surprisingly small, probably due to the consultants being away most of the time.

At the lounge, there were between 30 and 40 people, all with fancy BCG name tags. Unfortunately, my name was misspelled as usual, so I opted not to wear it. Half of the crowd was made of MBAs from INSEAD, Columbia, Kellogg, LBS and IESE. The other half were recent graduates from these schools now working for BCG. The event worked well altogether. Everyone was from a similar age group, very chatty and relaxed, sharing experiences and expectations. This is also the first time I got to meet some of the other admits which was very exciting for me. Most of the discussions was centered around getting ready for the MBA, finances, tips, lessons learnt, and some advice from the BCGs. I would have preferred to spend more time learning about the company, but I guess there will be plenty of time for that in the future during their campus visits.

One interesting fact I gathered during the event is that BCG will continue to expand this year. Apparently, they grew a stunning 40% last year alone in terms of number of people employed and they are set to continue on this path. Having said that, the competition is steep, only four of the seventy applicants from January 2006 class received offers for the London office last year!

GMAT Revisited July 13, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in GMAT.
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Since I have a few months ahead of me before I start the MBA, I thought I’d use this time reflect on GMAT, application strategies, and give some general advice on interviews. I suppose some of the readers of this blog might be aspiring candidates, and I would be happy to do my part to help. I started of with a section on GMAT. You will notice that I focused more on giving some strategic advice rather than detailed approach on how to tackle specific questions. For the latter, I think you can find wealth of information online. So, I hope you benefit from what I learnt along the way. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Plugged in! July 5, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General.
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I was checking my blog stats yesterday and noticed that my last two posts have been featured on Wharton’s Adcomblog and ClearAdmit’s blog!! I am really happy about this. I suspect this is thanks to Hella. Hella is doing a great job of keeping track of all the recent MBA blogs at opencoder.org where you can view about 60 recent MBA Blogs.

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Phone Call July 1, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in MBA Prep / Logistics, Suggested Pre-readings.

Today I received a phone call from a current student at INSEAD. I think it was to encourage me to accept the offer and also to talk about any questions I might have regarding the programme. She came across as a really nice person and portrayed INSEAD as a fun place to be, which I really liked. We talked about diversity, the intensity of the programme, the parties, the accommodation, and the infamous pre-reading list.

For those who don’t know, INSEAD assigns a pre-reading list comprised of four textbooks to read before the classes start. There is one in microeconomics, one in accounting, and two in finance. Apparently one of the finance books is quite dry and not highly recommended. So I might save myself some time and get the other three instead.

Some other advice I got:

  • Take some time off from work before starting the MBA.
  • It is best to start in Singapore campus and skip the winter. They apparently also have a more chilled out attitude.
  • Best to wait until September for booking accommodation. It may be too early now. Even though there are already a lot of chateau hunters in NetVestibule.
  • Must attend the open day in October/November. It is in the middle ‘getting ready for school’ period and helps a lot to learn from current students and staff and fine tune the details.

Unlike what I heard before, apparently INSEAD’s non-disclosure policy for the marks works. The student who called me stressed that INSEAD takes a firm position and has a word with all the companies coming to campus specifically not to ask students their marks. I think this is the best way as well.

Finally, the best bit of our conversation was about the parties and the national weeks. They just had the Arab week and all the students improvised by wearing the best they could find, in this case tea towels and all sorts for a whole day of classes. Imagine being the finance professor standing in front of such a class! Brilliant!