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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.

INSEAD Garden

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..

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