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In Between P1 and P2 March 9, 2007

Posted by InvisibleInk in Career, General, INSEAD.
7 comments

Period 1 is over. I am sitting in the back of an A310 flying home to visit my parents. Listening to Paolo Nutini, feeling the sun on my face, dreaming of the sea and the beach. Felling relaxed at last. Life is good..

I’ve been getting numerous comments on why I’ve given up posting. I just find it very difficult to find time to write but I haven’t given up. I’ll hopefully have more time this term. INSEAD has been a lot more intense than I could have ever imagined. I can’t begin to imagine the impact of last month in my life. This period was THE turning point, a huge transition. In line with what I hoped but I had doubts of the possibilities.

I have been through the recruitment marathon of INSEAD in P1 and secured a summer internship with a top investment bank. A 180 degree change. I am delighted. This investment bank takes only 25 people a year in their London office and last year they offered 90% of their summer associates full-time positions. If the economy holds up and I manage to do well over the summer, I should be able to enjoy the rest of MBA with a relative comfort of having a job waiting for me upon my graduation.

In retrospective, the last two months have been great. Now that I have a few hours to reflect, I realised how good it’s been. It is really hard to stop and think in Fonty since life goes on at a surreal fast forward speed. INSEAD is the definition of “work hard, play hard” culture. Everyone is seriously pushed to produce an outstanding performance but at the same time, we manage to make it a big fun party. I am very happy with my choice of school. Two of my professors were simply amazing, two were excellent, one was unfortunately mediocre. I really learned a lot. Probably as much as I learnt in a year in my degree but just in two months. My classmates couldn’t have been better. Everyone is extremely smart, consistent over achievers, yet they are so down to earth, friendly, and most importantly FUN people.

Time is also a very interesting concept that dominates our lives here. The MBA planet is very different to the ‘real world’. The last two months feel like 6 months. It is almost like we live in a different time and space. Yet the 16 hour day, full 7 day weeks are too short. I never knew I could do so much in a day and still feel like I haven’t done much. If you are an efficient person and have mastered time management skills, you’ll do well in the MBA. I am going through a steep learning curve to improve my efficiency level.

I am looking forward to the next three days to relax and take care of myself. It will be great to eat some great food, enjoy the weather, spend some quality time with friends and family, and get some much needed pampering!!

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Got my visa, been to Goldman Sachs.. December 22, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in Finance, MBA Prep / Logistics.
7 comments

La Republique FrancaiseIt’s been a week since I came back from the Foundations Course (I’ll write a post about it next time). I managed to use this time wisely and I got my French visa sorted. It’s incredible but I actually got my visa in 30 minutes! INSEAD students apply for a long-stay visa and luckily we don’t have to do the huge queue outside the consulate (for a change). Also, there is a special counter for long-stay visa applicants and a dedicated person to deal with INSEAD students. The lady who served me was very helpful and polite. But make sure you have all your documents with you if you don’t want to come back. For the list of documents you should e-mail them at Ls.LONDRES-FSLT@diplomatie.gouv.fr then they will give you a number to set up your appointment. The application process (appointment and issue of the visa) normally takes 2 days for British residents but if you have all your documents then you might get it the same day like me. For me this was the shortest ever processing time of all the visas I got up to now. And I have been around the block in terms of collecting visas. i.e. a colourful passport..

Goldman Sachs Logo I also attended a career event at Goldman Sachs two weeks ago. I applied at the end of November. Honestly, I was a bit surprised that they accepted my application since I have a limited finance background but when I got there the message was clear, they don’t seem to mind too much whether you have previous financial experience as long as you are very interested in the field, know what you want to do, and match up to their expectations. We’ll see if this hypothesis holds when the interviews start in February. As expected, Goldman did pretty much everything to impress. There were 25 people invited to the event (suggests either a low turn-out or selective HR dept). GS offered to fly everyone to London and put us up in a hotel down the road. We had a full day event starting with breakfast at their main building, followed by a line of impressive speakers including a partner, and panel discussions. The event also offered a chance to meet recruiters and people working in Investment Banking, Private Wealth Management, Equities and Fixed Income divisions. Overall, I am glad I applied. I learned quite a bit about the company and found a new area of interest ‘corporate restructuring’. I hear that with the private equity boom, highly leveraged companies, and potential slow down of the economy, corporate restructuring might be a good area to look into in the long-term. Apparently, GS is expanding its team and recruiting some of the top guys in the field. I also found out that we have the summer associate programme application deadline just two weeks after we start the MBA! Hard one to pull for career changers!

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

Posted by InvisibleInk in Consultancy, Recruitment.
1 comment so far

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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!