“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The first thing about an INSEAD MBA is that we are all mad. By that I mean we are all here for a reason. In the beginning of P3 there is a career workshop that focuses on telling your story. Translating your résumé from bullet form in to anecdotal stories. More than the career advice, the takeaway is that we all have a story. Every person you meet, from every continent and country, has a story. The more you get to know their stories, to more you will get to know your own.
We make decisions every day. Trivial decisions like coffee or orange juice? Croissant or doughnut? Lunch or brunch? To go to not to go? From time to time, we make decisions that alter the course of our lives. What we don’t get a chance to do often is to reflect on those decisions. To play the time travel game and choose one of those “fixed points” in our timeline and revisit the decision. To explore what life would have been if you chose a different college, a different job, a different relationship. Meeting people that are so much like you, and yet so very different, is like revisiting those fundamental experience blocks that build you as a whole. What if I was born in Brazil instead of India? What if I had decided to take a year off and backpack across Europe? What if I had decided to study a lot more and get in to the best college in my country? What if I had decided on a career in Banking instead of Engineering? The answer to all these questions, and more, are in the experiences of your fellow classmates.
However, INSEAD is more than just chatting with your fellow classmates and enjoying coffee & croissants. It is about choices. You have chosen to invest a lot of money, and possibly a lot more in time – both personal and professional time – to come to INSEAD. While the decisions that got you here may be different, unlike a more conventional institution, your experience here may also be completely different from those of your classmates. INSEAD is all about choices. Since I’m paying for this 8:30 am class, should I go? Should I join another sports club or a career club? Should I travel this weekend or prep for my course? Do I want to make friends or acquaintances? Should I try to learn more about my friends or just leverage their professional networks? Should I go to Singy or not? To Wharton? Each of these choices shape your INSEAD experience into something unique. Your combination of classes, friends, clubs, campuses, accommodation, travel groups and places combine to make for an absolutely unique experience.
In the end, the choice is about what you want from the year. It may not be the same as what brought you here. But whatever you choose, there is one thing you can always count on. It is going to be EPIC.
Work hard, play hard.