Photo by Pedro Ricarte


An MBA costs a lot, starting with the most obvious (and well, cried over) tuition fees which can burn a hole in your pocket and pretty much ensure you take the MBA seriously as you got some significant earning back / paying back to do.

An INSEAD trip is no different, where it seems to start with the mathematics of costs and losing count of the number of people on the trip. But what remains of INSEAD or an INSEAD trip will be way more than the costs we can count. 

Case in point: The Mt. Bromo Volcano Trekking trip in Indonesia with 20 INSEADers


Photo by Yulia Andreeva


The Prices: I could hardly remember these off hand when writing this article a day after the trip. So, safe to say, these will be forgotten very soon.

  1. Tour costs ~ USD 90
  2. Air tickets  ~ USD 200
  3. Visa & Exit fees ~ USD 60
  4. Other Expenses ~ USD 100


Photo by Shyama Khandelwal


This trip is remembered for these top five PRICELESS things:

Disclaimer: All items are 100% true (heard or seen or experienced). Names will not be mentioned but “fellow trekkers” know the faces behind these priceless moments.


  1. Great MBA minds deciding to convert enough $ to be a millionaire in Indonesian Rupiah. (Never mind the actual amount needed for the trip; that’s a small matter!)
  2. Providing consulting advise to Indonesian immigration officers why their $35 visa fee is a bad idea and getting a sheepish grin back.
  3. Getting a total sleep of 4.5 hours on a real bed over two days and being completely functional to trek two volcanos.
  4. Figuring out the “best” positions to sleep comfortably in a minivan of 14 to 15 people.
  5. A very serious and persistent attempt to charter a helicopter to get the gang back to Surabaya from Ijen to avoid the long bus drive back, which I believe could have been successful except for language issues.

Photo by Patricia Gomez


  1. Settling a restaurant bill with 77 items. The standard deviation of this is skewed by a true food connoisseur laying claim on any dish brought to the table not actually ordered by anyone. (By the way, we stopped again at KFC in 40 minutes for a second lunch!)
  2. Walking—honestly, skidding—down a volcanic mountain at 7AM over talks of how Vitamix can blend an iPhone in seconds except for the battery. (Very tempted to try this.)

Photo by Pedro Ricarte


  1. Time killed at the airport by an impromptu Salsa class by an expert. Of course every INSEAD batch has one—for the girls.


And top of the list personally: Being accompanied at the end of the line on the trek by one of the most caring girls, a true knight chivalrous enough to walk with us and a true cheerleader predicting flatter terrain ahead every 2 minutes to keep me going. After a hiatus for two years from any real challenging physical tasks due to a bunch of surgeries, I managed to beat the odds to huff and puff my way to the top of Mt. Ijen to see sulphur mines! So HELL YEAH.


Photo by Pedro Ricarte


I know I said top five things, and there are eight in the list. But you know what, not being able to keep the BEST moments of a 2-day INSEAD trip to five items—PRICELESS!

Photo by Wen Eu Cheah