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My impressions from the Open Day October 26, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General, INSEAD.
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insead_open_day_21oct2006_small.jpgI am now back at my parent’s place after a fun and sleepless weekend. On Thursday, I flew over to Orly airport south of Paris, managed to get a good deal on my car rental from National Citer Alamo. INSEAD is about half-an-hour drive from Orly airport. I recommend renting a car rather than taxi-train-taxi as suggested on INSEAD’s website. A ‘weekend special’ rate works out the same price and it is much less hassle to rent a car.

I had some spare time on Friday and finally managed to take photos of the campus and will hopefully feed some curios minds here as to where I will be spending my time next year. INSEAD campus is extremely green and peaceful. On the other hand, it is large enough to provide pretty much anything you would need, from a gym to dry cleaners. On Friday evening, I met up with some future classmates for a meal and drinks. There were about 20+ of us and everyone got on very well. From first impressions, everyone was very friendly, modest, international, smart, and, fun. We went to a restaurant and to an English pub afterwards. One disappointing thing is the smoke. All the French and Italians started smoking instantly and before I knew we were covered in a big cloud of smoke. If you are not used to it, it can be very disturbing. Apparently, there will be a smoking ban in France as of next February with 1-year grace period. I hope the situation gets better by then.


After six hours of sleep, I went to the MBA foyer where we had buffet breakfast and registration. My day pretty much started with these words “Hi, my name is [..] .. I am from [..] .. I live in [..] .. I am a [..] .. I work at [..]” I must have repeated this about a hundred times during the day. We had a welcome session by Professor S. Dutta, the Dean of External Relations. Apparently, 53% of the alumni start their own business (es) at one point in their lives. This proves how strong entrepreneurship is in INSEAD. Another interesting point was the governance structure of INSEAD. Unlike other business schools, the independent nature of INSEAD gives the school a lot of freedom. The dean reports to the board of directors, all chairman and CEOs of multinational companies. Many of the directors are also alumni of INSEAD. The school is a non-profit organisation. For instance, the chairman and CEOs of some of the major recruiters in the campus (i.e. BCG) are also directors of the school. This governance structure ensures that the school stays close to the developments and needs of the industry and that there is a steady presence of employers in the campus.

The other interesting session was “meet the faculty”. We had two excellent professors Thomas D’aunno and Filipe Santos introducing the MBA programme to us. They were both very interesting, confident, knowledgeable and humorous. It felt good to see the emphasis on the application rather than the theory, and the high standard of delivery. Most of the students I spoke to had very good comments about the Profs.

In addition to the huge buffet style lunch, we had a chateau dinner at Le Cercle. Food was really nice. We had about 4 courses. Many people came with their partners. It is surprising how many students already have families. At my table, there were four married couples and three singles. Two of the four couples have children. I guess this is due to the higher average age (29) of the INSEAD MBAs.

Around 11pm, we followed a current student, Kasper from class of December 2006 to Fonty for drinks. We went to a few bars but don’t expect anything special. In fact, I had a Mojito served in a plastic glass and forget the mint, it almost looked like it had some shredded lettuce at the bottom! All the bars shut before 1am, leaving us nowhere to go to. I now understand why INSEAD is so famous for its chateau parties. Luckily, Paris is not far away..


On my way to Fonty for the weekend October 17, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in INSEAD, MBA Prep / Logistics.
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I’m going to Fonty for the open day this weekend. I just booked my flight and accommodation. The open day is supposed to be a good occasion to meet future classmates and learn more about the programme. Apparently, there are over 100 people signed up for the event so far. According to the programme, we are going to start the day with a speech the dean of external relations, followed by Information Stands in the Foyer area. I am planning to visit the Language Centre, Logistical Information (visas, medical insurance…) and Financial Aid Information & Methodology stands. Also the Programme Tips may be quite useful. We will also have presentations from the faculty, current students, careers service and alumni. The highlight of the day will certainly be the Château dinner in the evening. Looking forward to that!

INSEAD News October 15, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General, INSEAD.
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Here is the recent newsletter posted by the Dean on cyber-INSEAD. If you want to apply to INSEAD in the future or simply want to learn more about the school, it’s worth a glance. I recommend the podcasts. You can also subscribe to those podcasts on iTunes. It is good to see the school following the footsteps of HBS, Fortune, BusinessWeek, and getting visibility in the podcast arena. Afterall, we live in the world of Web 2.0. I heard so much about the INSEAD professor Horacio Falcao who teaches Negotiations classes. Everyone I talked to said his classes are extremely interesting and very useful. I am looking forward to listening his podcast. Also congratulations to INSEAD on being accepted as the first of only five planned academic partners of the World Economic Forum.

Dear all,

Every two months I share with all MBA participants on campus, news about the school, the MBA programme and our alumni. Although you are not on one of our campuses yet, you will soon be. See below the most recent newsletter that I sent to both classes.

Antonio Fatas
Dean of the MBA Programme


MBA Newsletter, October 2006

Changes in technology. Over the coming weeks we will be making some changes in the way the MBA intranet looks as well as some school-wide IT related projects. For example, the school is about to launch a series of podcasts where faculty talk about their research, books, courses. The first two podcasts are from professors who teach regularly in the MBA programme and discuss the content of their courses (Patrick Turner who teaches Your First Hundred Days and Horacio Falcao who teaches Negotiations). If you want to listen to the podcasts, you can find them at http://www.insead.edu/podcast/. I would also like to thank the Student Council for all the effort they have put into developing a comprehensive student web site. Finally, if you have ideas on how to improve the MBA intranet (or technology in general), I have a strong personal interest in the subject and will be happy to discuss your ideas.

Some recent projects for the school. There are a couple of interesting external projects that the school is pursuing to improve our reach and our brand. Abu Dhabi: the school has signed an important agreement over the summer with the Abu Dhabi Education Council to create a Centre for Executive Education and Research. We will be developing the centre over the coming years with an eventual team of 30 – faculty and staff – based in Abu Dhabi. This is a great opportunity to develop our activities and brand in the Middle East and in general to promote our positioning as the Business School for the World. World Economic Forum: Our Dean, Frank Brown, recently met with the Forum leadership in Geneva, as he has been keen to have INSEAD recognised as a Forum partner. We can now announce that we’ve just been accepted as the first of only five planned academic partners. Faculty participation in the annual meeting in Davos and in regional meetings throughout the year will create excellent opportunities for us to develop brand awareness. We will also be involved with teaching the Forum’s outstanding Global Leadership Fellows group.

Some past and forthcoming events in our two campuses. In the last weeks we have seen the CEO of Lenovo (Bill Amelio) in Singapore and the CEO of IBM (Sam J. Palmisano) in Fontainebleau as part of the GLS series. Last week, Patricia Morrison, CIO of Motorola spoke in our Singapore campus and we will see Sidney Taurel, CEO of Eli Lilly in Fontainebleau (November 8th) also as part of the GLS series. The INSEAD Meeting in Asia (http://www.inseadmeetinginasia.org/) , will take place November 2nd-5h in Singapore and it is the largest gathering of INSEAD’s board & council members, alumni, supporters and friends in Asia. We will also be running over the next weeks the Open days for admitted participants to the class of December 2007. Our aim is to give them the opportunity to begin networking with their future classmates, current participants, faculty and staff, and to enable them to discover the INSEAD lifestyle before joining the Programme. One event will take place in Fontainebleau on October 21st, and the other in Singapore on November 4th. There are over 100 participants and partners who have signed up for these events who we look forward to welcome on our campuses. Detailed information about both events can be found at http://www.insead.edu/mba/opendays.

Campus News. We have welcomed a new class just a month ago and the class is already well integrated into the community. The Class of July 2007 are busy with their P1 courses and ready to start the process of deciding in which campus they will be for the last three periods of the programme: Singapore, Fontainebleau or Wharton. The Class of December 2006 is busy with electives and job search. A record number of companies is coming to campus this Fall (about 135 companies will be doing on-campus presentations). Both classes will see for the first time a new elective on communication skills (The Art of Communication).

Recent Press Coverage of INSEAD MBA electives. A few recent articles from Business Week have highlighted INSEAD MBA electives as being innovative. Our collaboration with the Art Center (Pasadena) was mentioned as a good example of partnerships between D-schools (Design schools) and B-schools in this article (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_41/b4004401.htm) . They also dedicated an entire article (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_41/b4004407.htm) to feature Sameer Agrawal (graduated in 2005) who participated in this programme in Jan 2005. The collaboration with the Art Center in Pasadena involves a series of MBA electives with participation of design students. The programme has been running in the Fontainebleau campus but will be moving to the Singapore campus for the January 2007 edition. The elective Your First Hundred Days, taught by professor Patrick Turner, was also highlighted in a separate article (http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/aug2006/bs20060831_975840.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_b-schools) a few weeks ago.

INSEAD in the News. Our communications department puts together a weekly list of press articles that write about the school, its faculty or alumni. You can see below some of the highlights of the articles from last week as well as links to some of them.

* A piece of news regarding MBA alumna Karen John who has been appointed to Vice President of Design and Merchandising for company ‘Design Within Reach Inc’.

* The Guardian, UK, 30 September, Home and away – The competition among business schools intensifies with US schools setting up operations in Europe. Caroline Diarte Edwards, INSEAD’s Director of Admissions, Marketing and External Relations is quoted about the advantages of the one-year MBA. The article also cites MBA alumnus Jonathan Evans who participated in the INSEAD-Wharton exchange.

* La Tribune.fr & eFinancialCareers.fr, France, 12 September, ‘Un master de l’INSEAD sur-mesure pour Macquarie’ – Excellent article about the new INSEAD – Macquarie Master of Finance

* Hong Kong Economic Journal, September – Following his visit to INSEAD, Hong Kong journalist Cheuk Fei Man wrote an in-depth article about the school and its history. The article describes INSEAD’s different programmes and includes quotes by MBA and Executive Education participants, key staff and professors.

* The Wall Street Journal, 24 September, ‘Is a stock buyback a signal to buy?’ – INSEAD Professors Theo Vermaelen and Urs Peyer tested returns for 11 portfolios, each comprising 50 companies with relatively significant undervaluation and which announced a repurchase plan in the prior year. They found that the portfolios, started each year from 1992 through 2002, did better than a market benchmark.
* Inc. Magazine, USA, September, ‘The Impostor Syndrome’ – This article explore why so many successful entrepreneurs feel like fakes and quotes INSEAD Professor Manfred Kets de Vries about the ‘impostor syndrome’.

Other articles of interest

* Degussa European Science to Business Award 2006. The award is offered in collaboration with INSEAD and Handelsblatt Germany.

* Russia launches a new Business School. One of the benefactors of the new school is Roustam Tariko, an INSEAD MBA alumnus. Covered in the FT (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/6a02d86c-466c-11db-ac52-0000779e2340.html) and in the IHT (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/09/21/bloomberg/bxmba.php)

* Cambridge Evening News, ‘Man of the world has high hopes for Judge’ – Speaking about his new job as Dean of The Judge Business School at Cambridge University, Professor Arnoud De Meyer also gives a lot of praise to INSEAD where he spent 20 years of his career

* Børsen, Denmark
MBA alumnus Peer Kølendorf’s career as a serial entrepreneur and INSEAD Entrepreneur in Residence.

* The Economist, UK
Article about business angels. The journalist attended the INSEAD Private Equity Conference and we actually provided him with access to many of the personalities cited in the article. Unfortunately INSEAD is not mentioned.

* Handelsblatt, Germany
The INSEAD Centre for Research and Executive Education in Abu Dhabi.

* Het Financieele Dagblad, Netherlands
INSEAD launches Centre for Research and Executive Education in Abu Dhabi.

* La Tribune, France
MBA alumnus Loïc le Guesquet has been appointed CEO of Oracle France.
MBA alumnus Nicolas Wertrans has been appointed CEO of BMW France
The INSEAD-Macquarie Master of Finance Programme

* Le Figaro Magazine, France
Profile of MBA alumnus, Charles Philipponnat, CEO of Champagne Philipponnat.

* Le Figaro Entreprises, France
EMBA alumnus Luc Poppe about the value of his INSEAD experience

* New Zealand Herald
Professor Luk Van Wassenhove is quoted about humanitarian logistics

* Trends/Tendances, Belgium
About MBA alumnus Tanguy Peers, CEO of eBay Belgium

* Wirtschaftswoche, Germany
Announces the Booz Allen Hamilton MBA scholarships for women

* The Wall Street Journal
This is an article about short innovative Master degrees. The new INSEAD-Macquarie Master of Finance degree is covered.

Antonio Fatas
Dean of the MBA Programme
Professor of Economics

Farewell Party at Work October 14, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General.

Farewell Party at Work
As of this week, I am officially unemployed. It feels strange but it’s good to finally have some time for myself. 🙂 In the midst of dealing with HSBC, I forgot to write about my farewell party. Last week was my last week at work. I can’t believe how fast time went. On Friday, I went to the office and packed my things. It took me a lot less time then I imagined. Within an hour my box was ready to go home with me. I received some chocolates, hugs and cards. Many people congratulated me on going to INSEAD.

In the evening, we went out for drinks and dinner with colleagues from work. It was quite hard to say bye to some people I have been seeing almost everyday for the past three years. Particularly, my boss and a friend with whom I share my office. I was excited about the future but partly sad having to say good-bye. We went to our local danish bar and to the newest Italian restaurant in the city. I really enjoyed the evening. The food was really nice, along with excellent company. This restaurant has strangely adopted tapas for the Italian cuisine. The advantage is that you can have a taste of many lovely dishes in the menu, the downside is I am not sure if Italians would like this idea too well.

The following night, I went to another party. I met up with some old friends and some new faces. There were Italians, Greeks, Turks, Swedes, and, Brits. Everyone worked in a different industry to each other before and lived in at least in two countries. A very INSEAD setting. A lot of interesting conversations took place. Also, my friend who hosted the party had a huge variety of drinks. We all started creating a drink for everyone else. We had some very good stuff, and some weird creations, at one point I lost the plot. We all got pretty drunk. We then ended up going to a Greek place in the early hours of the morning. This is me keeping fit for INSEAD!

Verdict: HSBC International MBA Loan = A complete disaster October 6, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in MBA Financing / Loans.
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I have just got off the phone from HSBC international and they have decided to reject my loan application after two months of deliberation. Not even a revision, a straight rejection! No need to say how disappointed and frustrated I am about this. The fact that they dragged it for so long means that I now have a month before I have to pay my tuition fees and I am back to square one. I have called INSEAD and they suggested I apply to two other banks. Their rates are much higher and I have no guarantee if they will not do a last minute “ HSBC trick” on me either.

The annoying thing is most of my income was not even considered. Like many other people getting paid on performance based salaries, a substantial part of my income depends on how well I do or how much extra work I take on. From the bank’s point of view this is too much of a risk, so they simply discarded it. Having halved my salary, they also made several calculation mistakes on my expenses. For instance, forgetting to account for national insurance payments, treating six monthly electricity bill as a monthly figure, and the list goes on. Really, you would expect more from a bank. Meanwhile I was told that things were going on track and a few details could be worked on to get the amount I asked for. While I was fine tuned the details on their request, today, after all, they decided that they cannot provide me the loan at all. This is despite the fact that I now fit in their 60% income vs. expenditure rule even with my basic salary. When I asked to talk to the manager, I was told that 60% is not the only think they look at (which is complete rubbish as the person who has been dealing with my application up to this point clearly stated that this was the case). So they decided that since they cannot take security on the property I own, they would not give me the loan.

This is the first time I heard them mentioning the need to take on a security for my application. I was clearly guided up to this point that we were going ahead without such a requirement. I think this is really over the top. Let me tell you the bit that makes me the most disappointed. Apparently, Jersey laws (where HSBC International is based) prevent them from taking security on a person’s home, even if it is paid in full, if the person and/or the immediate family live there. Well, hello??? Did you not know this for the past two months? They knew every single piece of information about me since day 1, they simply either ignored it or they are really not up to scratch with financial regulations. Of course, there is also the argument about being in a good mood or a bad mood or the state of the weather on that day.

Anyway, in the end I join the club of dissatisfied (up to now a loyal) HSBC customers. Soon to convert all financial dealings to other bank. This is “how to loose a lifelong customer in a day”.