I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I started at INSEAD! Time is flying, work is piling up, and social events are getting more and more fun/frequent (parties, BBQ’s, trips across South East Asia, cocktails, company presentations, etc.). Speaking of company events, it is incredible to witness what the strong name of INSEAD can attract to our Singapore campus. In a matter of 2 weeks, I was able to attend sessions with the following companies and build connections with some of their partners and HR representatives: McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture, ATKearney, Strategy&, Amazon, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens AG, Novartis, Rakuten, Kraft, Microsoft, Samsung, and Nissan (this coming week is Apple’s turn!).
This blog post is split into 3 sections: Champagne (a.k.a. the unique class experiences at INSEAD), the INSEAD Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, and the INSEAD Splash event.
Who doesn’t love Champagne? And how can you not love INSEAD when the professors offer you a bottle of Moët & Chandon if you win a competition in class!
- In our Uncertainty Data & Judgement class, we had to answer 10 random questions with a 90% confidence interval. The person with 9/10 correct answers won the Moët bottle!
- In our Price & Market class, we had to each write down a number from 0 to 100. The teacher would take the mean of all the numbers. The person closest to 2/3 of the average won a box of chocolate. It was an interesting exercise to let us practice reading each other’s mind, and a sweet introduction to Game Theory and the Nash Equilibrium!
- In our Organizational Behaviour class, we had to play a game where half our class were French Designers of a cellphone and the other half German engineers who had to build and provide the parts. The French designers had to communicate to the German engineers how many parts were required to construct the phone, what their respective sizes were and how they were supposed to fit together. If that wasn’t challenging on its own, things got tougher when we had only 25 minutes to execute while communication was restricted!! One method of communication was sending “telegraphs” by handing a piece of paper to the teacher, who would walk a floor down to hand them off to the other team (time efficient?). Fancier methods of communication included having a team member travel to the other location but at a cost 100,000 euros per minute per person travelling…a not so desired option considering our limited budget!
The bootcamp took place from Friday September 16th to Sunday September 18th, and it lived up to its reputation of being an intense 48-hour experience full of learning activities and lack of sleep! The bootcamp was run by Paul Kewene-Hite (Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD) and Ash Singh (listed as one of Asia’s Top Young Entrepreneurs by Business Week and Economic Times). It was packed with group work sessions, interactive videos (using puppets!) and group discussions that revealed several interesting and helpful stats about entrepreneurship. The following is a summary of each day:
- Day 1 (7pm to 1am): To get us pumped up for the weekend, Paul and Ash made us play a game of Rock Paper Scissor Lizard Spock. If you lost, you had to cheer the person who beat you as loudly as you can! The following video explains the rules of the game (click here), and the picture below shows the final round played between Paulo and Kei with a crowd of 33 other people giving them full support. The objective on that day was to come up with as many ideas as possible, and then give a 1-minute pitch in front of all the other attendees to get them interested in joining your team! Three colleagues liked the idea I proposed and so we decided to form a team together. However, 2 hours into our brainstorming session, we decided to ditch my idea and go for another team member’s idea that had to do with improving education in Japan (something that everyone was very passionate about)!
- Day 2 (8am to 2am): Started off at 8am with a few meditation exercises, followed off by several group work sessions and info sessions hosted by Paul and Ash. Through those sessions and interactive videos, our team was able to solidify the idea we had in mind, gather market data, come up with a pricing strategy, figure out what actions would need to be taken first and in what order, list our most important marketing and strategy decisions, and build a cash flow for our company.
- Day 3 (8am to 7pm): Continued the work from the day before and presented a 1-minute practice pitch after lunch time to Ash and Paul. After they heard our 1-minute pitch, they pitched the same idea to us but in a different method, highlighting the importance of how you communicate your startup company and what methods should be used to convince investors to believe in your idea. Around 4pm, four investors came in and we had to do a 2-minute pitch with 2 minutes of Q&A (every team got grilled on the questions…). The 4 investors selected a winning team (photo below), and then provided very helpful feedback to each team. We had an attendee who liked our startup idea and showed interest in providing us the initial funds we requested during our pitch!! The work continues next week to get more granular data and see if we can perform a test run in Japan sometime around March 2017.
As INSEAD is big on social impact, our class got involved in a Splash event during our orientation week (a joint initiative between INSEAD and Splash Projects). Splash Community Projects is a UK company that “delivers innovative experiential learning programmes through real-life community projects”. Here is a summary of our 17J Splash event:
- Objective: Get a sense of community belonging while we work on our leadership and team bonding skills!
- Who: ~210 students in Singapore, split into 3 sections of 70 people, with each section containing 13 groups of people (4-6 people per group).
- The Customer: Grace Mission, a charity that assists autistic children and ex-drug addicts
- The Plan: Improve their facilities by setting up fences, designing wells, building tables and chairs for their office, and creating a playroom for the children!
- How: Each section took part in the splash project on a different day, meaning that different students had to continue the work that other students had worked on the day before. The handover itself was a big challenge, which was overcome by clear communication strategies. Each section was split into 13 smaller groups, with 2 groups acting as a management team and 11 groups tackling the design and construction. Effective teamwork was key to ensuring that we finished our work within the 3 day timeline provided.
- Conclusion: a great and tiring experience for everyone (building things in Singapore’s 35+ degree temperature is not an easy feat!). It was nice to see every student so happy to give 110% effort and give back to a community that most of us are not familiar with and haven’t been part of for a long time.
As one student states in the video below which I encourage you all to watch, “we all went as colleagues and came back as friends!”.
As you can tell, my experience at INSEAD so far has been packed with fun activities, lots of emotions, huge learning curves, fancy networking…truly living a dream! But this is it for now…I am writing this on a Sunday evening…time for me to go finish planning a trip to Batam this upcoming weekend! I hope you all enjoyed reading this blog post. I will try to post another one once P1 is over 🙂
P.S: the roommates are still awesome!