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Climate change is here.. November 5, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in Climate Change / Global Warming.

I only wrote about MBA and INSEAD here up to now. It’s time to change this. Today I woke up to these views:


Eventhough such pictures so early on in the year might give the impression that I am in a Nordic country, it’s not the case. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. I am in a warm country, famous for its beaches, and gets millions of tourists every year. In fact, I remember swimming this time two years ago (though considered very unusual by the locals, tourists do it all the time), today I am staring at a city covered in snow. Looks like it ought to be Christmas. This is the first time in my lifetime and also in my parents lifetime that we see snow in the beginning of November.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe this is one-off surprise. The first week I arrived here, it was 30C. Following week, temperature dropped to 16C. Then it went down to 9C. Then it became summer again at mid 20Cs. Last night it dropped from 13C to 0C. Apparently, there is more snow for at least another 3 days. I just can’t believe how messed up the weather has become. It has a mind of its own. Seasons seem to come and go week by week.

So, let’s hope that there will be positive developments at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Nairobi this month. It is already very late and many politicians are taking this issue too lightly. Maybe some day soon the map below will be 100% green. But let’s hope that it won’t be too late then.

Kyoto Protocol Participation Map 2005


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”.

Time for a bit of logistics September 24, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General, MBA Financing / Loans, MBA Prep / Logistics.
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Accommodation, check. Deposit, check. Profile on NetVestibule, check. Finances, not yet! For the past month I have been kept busy by INSEAD and HSBC. I finally got all my paperwork together and applied for an MBA loan at the end of August. Unfortunately, five weeks on, my application is still in progress. Might take a while before I know if I’ve got a loan. :/

I also managed to squeeze in 5 scholarship applications before the deadline. At INSEAD, there is no such a thing as offering candidates scholarship on the basis of their admission application. If you want to get funding, you have to write a separate essay for each scholarship you wish to apply. I guess they go with the idea that there is no such thing as a free meal! It can be a bit difficult to find inspiration for scholarship essays while juggling many things at the same time. In my case it meant writing three essays and a hasty copy paste job for the other two to meet the deadline. I’d be extremely surprised if I get short-listed for the last two. But I am very hopeful about one of the scholarships. To apply, you have to be a woman and from one of the few countries listed. The advantage of being in INSEAD, there are not too many women who fit the criteria. Also, I’ve got very good feedback from a couple of my friends on my essay. If I get it, it will cover €15,000 of my tuition fees. That would be nice!

On the other hand, my “to do” list is far from finished. I was checking the messages in NetVestibule (cyber INSEAD) and realised that I have to make a decision to attend the pre-MBA module as soon as possible. In the mist of sorting out my finances, I have totally forgotten that I have to make a decision and pay by 2nd of October. Unfortunately, I am still undecided about what to do. It costs €1200 plus accommodation and flights for a week’s course. I have got a degree in Management and Economics but that was long time ago and frankly I don’t remember much of it either. I think I would benefit from refreshing some accounting and finance topics along with statistics. Or, I could do some home study and use the time and money to go for a nice holiday before the programme kicks off. Hmm, interesting decision to make!

10 Reasons Why August 16, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in General.

On a more positive note today, I came across shanulk’s blog called “Strange Incidents in an Otherwise Ordinary Life”. Nice name by the way. He has done a fair bit of research on INSEAD and just got an offer. Congrats! I thought his ‘10 reasons to choose INSEAD’ would make a good case to justify the costs outlined in my previous post. In summary, you get what you pay for. Here it goes, in his words:

“ To all future MBAs let me tell you what you will miss out on if you don’t go to INSEAD:

1) Making Friends from Everywhere in the world. My batch has almost equal representation from 70+ countries.

2) The most diverse professional backgrounds. Every time I go through the “selected students” message board, I come across amazing profiles. For example there is a guy who was a team member of the US 2004 Olympics team. There is also a top model in my class. (I am already sharpening my math skills to be able to help her out)

3) An MBA in a year! It is strange why the “Ivy League” schools are still stuck with 2 year MBAs. Things have picked up since the easy paced days of the Victorian Era. You should he enterprising enough to get if done with your MBA in a year.

4) Have I mentioned the fact that though it is considered to be the best “general management” school in the world, if has the best finance professors too.

5) INSEAD’s December batches have had comparable placements with the US top 5 – Wharton, Stanford, Kelloggs, Chicago & Tuck.

6) You can stop having nightmares about loan sharks following you for the $110,000 that you need for the US top 10. INSEAD will get you a World Class MBA for about $70,000 inclusive of everything. And then you start making $$$ one year early (US Top 10 are all 2 year courses).

7) Your job is not dependent on any economy. If you graduate in a year when US economy is slowing down, you’ve had it unless you are an INSEADer – because companies from all once the world come here.

8) And companies that visit US Top 10 also visit INSEAD and pick an almost equal number of dudes and duddettes.

9) Female ratio is the lowest in INSEAD. Is this something good? Well, INSEAD selects people on basis of merit rather than to maintain a healthy sex ratio. Then there are 2 schools of thought. One, if you are a guy, you will be less distracted in your studies. Two, if you are a guy then you will make efforts to impress the one female in your group and study harder!

10) Since I want to make this a “10 reasons why” list, I will combine 2 points to make one. INSEAD gives you a fair chance to go to Wharton for 2 months. Second, you have a choice of going to Asia for a part of your course – it has a campus in Singapore too.”

Point 9 above prompted me to check the female ratio in NetVestibule. It seems like we now have 52 female students, 351 students overall. Much better than 15!

Cost of INSEAD MBA August 15, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in MBA Financing / Loans, Scholarships.

Simply, higher than you think! Now that my accommodation for next year is sorted, I need to look into getting a loan and applying for scholarships. INSEAD MBA programme is not cheap. The tuition fees cost €45,000 and average living expenses are €22,500 (excluding campus exchange costs and deposits). According to one of my interviewers, five years ago the tuition fees were only €27,000. He said since then INSEAD realised that it is at par with the elite American MBA programmes and adjusted the fees accordingly. What a way to almost double the fees in five years! The fees are normally paid in three instalments. 10% within three weeks of being offered a place, 60% one month before the classes start, and 30% four months into the programme. So, I will have paid 70% of my fees in three months time, scary…

There are many hidden costs that INSEAD doesn’t talk about until you’re admitted. For instance, the optional pre-MBA classes cost an additional €1200. If you don’t already speak three languages at business level or above, you may need to take language tuition during your studies. This would cost you €495 per period (A period is two months in INSEAD). A supplementary module, outside of core classes and required number of electives, would cost you €2200. Moreover, you should budget a further €800 for books. If you have to hand back your laptop to work and buy yourself a new one, count that in as well. So in the end, we probably looking at almost €50,000. I know some other MBA programmes providing all of these extras at zero cost to their MBAs. They simply integrate it into their tuition fees. This makes it more manageable but clearly this is not INSEAD’s choice.

On the positive, the school has a good reputation, especially in Europe, and it helps when looking to get a loan. So far from my observations, HSBC International offers the most competitive MBA loan at base rate plus 2% (currently makes 5% APR). Depending on individual circumstances they can offer anything from €10,000 to €50,000 with payback period up to 10 years. There is no penalty for early settlement. If you are in the UK, don’t go for HSBC graduate loans (currently around 7.5% minimum and more limited in many ways), make sure to contact HSBC International. There is also decent number of scholarships available to INSEAD students. I counted 45 when I last checked. They range between €3,000 and €15,000, a couple of higher ones at around €22,500 mark. Although, each one of them is targeted to different nationalities and some are gender specific. For instance, I am eligible to apply to nine of them, however we have been strongly advised not to apply to more than five and students are only allowed to get up to two scholarships. Currently, 20% of the students are financing their fees through scholarships. I heard that INSEAD is actively looking to increase its scholarships so there may be even more funding available in the future.

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!!!! 🙂