And so, it ends. The batch of 13D has graduated.  There are hundreds of posts and memes about how amazing, exhilarating and life-changing INSEAD has been. Even described as Utopia. But now what? How does one adjust to “real” life after having experienced Utopia? Well, to start with:

  • Ignore real world. Simulate INSEAD by increasing virtual interactions with INSEADmates. Comment on and Like every post on the 13D page.
  • Every time someone says, “Congratulations, you’re done!” respond with – “I don’t want to talk about it.”
  • Pretend you are still in a small village in France and call friends over for wine and truffles. Be shocked that they have other events they want you to come for. What events?
  • Get emotional over mundane things and whatsapp various INSEAD groups. “I’m packing”. Sniff. “I’m back home and unpacking.” Sniff Sniff.
  • Fly back from holiday on 1st Jan to host an INSEAD friend in your hometown. Flying when hungover is but natural now.

On a less frivolous note, I could do INSEAD all over again and have a completely different yet equally transformational experience. While the above list is for all my suffering classmates, for the 14Js and the batches yet to come, here’s a list of things I would do differently:

  • Invest more in relationships: While I love the friends I’ve made at INSEAD, there are so many more amazing people whom I wish I’d taken the time out to get to know better. P1 & P2 were about meeting everyone at once, attending mass parties, doing en mass holidays. P3 was about courses (electives), which I really wanted to study, P4 about recruitment and P5 about bidding farewells. In the midst of all of this, I could have made time for intimate conversations over dinners/lunches with so many more interesting people whom I’ve barely scratched the surface of.
  • Stress less about recruitment: All of us (except a lucky few), came to INSEAD with the prime objective of finding a fascinating job after, but the way each of us dealt with the recruitment process varied. I have to say that I’m not very proud of the way I dealt with it. A single minded focus on recruitment which involved doing only 3 electives and avoiding people (i.e. recruitment conversations) to watch marathon sessions of Game of Thrones – when not applying for jobs – was not the best use of my time at INSEAD. More so as P4 is the last period to do really interesting full credit electives and of course, it didn’t really help with the relationship building mentioned above either.
  • Not miss the Grad party!!!: Put your parents in a cab back to Paris or get them to stay in Fonty or change your flight to a day later but do not miss the one last chance to dance the night away with a Chateau full of people you know (and some you love).  Whining to a non-INSEAD friend about missing the party, I said, “I need to say goodbye properly…I need closure”. His response, “Are you referring to a relationship?” How does one explain that it has been so much more!

Beyond these regrets, all I have is gratitude for this year and the many more years to come, which will be so much richer with the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had. Au Revoir INSEAD. SNIFF.