While a lot of INSEADers will be scurrying back and forth between Singy and Fonty, a mere few will be debating if it is worth going to the U S of A for an exchange.
I have been asked by several students about the experience of my exchange at Kellogg, and here are my two cents on this:
- Faculty and resources are as great as at INSEAD.
- Presence in the USA is a huge plus if at all you want to work there, however it better be for a considerable length of time – try to go for the 10-week Kellogg exchange or the Wharton exchange. Use this to claim know-how of the culture, the way businesses work there, etc.
- Career services at the host school will be a great place to get contacts, get guidance on USA format for resumes, cover letters (INSEAD format won’t go down well in the US).
- Job boards at host schools open up more job opportunities you can apply to as an exchange student. Many of them will be in the US, although work authorization restrictions may apply.
- You can arrange chats, coffee or interviews with prospective recruiters in the US while you are here.
- If you are there on an F1 visa, it may be easier to bump up to a USA work visa – if you find a sponsor. (This more than being on a J visa).
- You can make more [FB] friends 😛 Contrary to the earlier INSEAD exchange reviews, I found host school students to be very welcoming and inclusive.
- You will miss INSEAD’s recruiting season if you take part in any of the USA exchanges, and you will also be way past the host school’s recruiting season. So it’s a lose-lose.
- It’s a logistical hassle to relocate for a 5-10 week program.
- You will miss bonding more with your homies (aka INSEAD peers) for a whole period.
- You will miss several CDC (career services) events at INSEAD while you are away – like mock interviews, presentations, networking events – no matter where you want to work.
- As you will realize too late, even INSEAD prefers you stay – you suddenly realize lifers are given priority when it comes to enrolling into field trips.
- If you are after consulting, you will find it embarrassing to ask for case prep help from host school students (who have already been recruited so give-take doesn’t work). So you will be more or less on your own.
That’s all the cards on the table. The decision, of course, is yours and I am sure you will have a good reason to justify whatever you pick.