It’s been a little over two months since I first stepped foot into INSEAD, and here we are: the last day of final exams. To say that time has flown by quickly is an understatement. As I look back at the whirlwind that the last two months have been, I can’t help but wonder what I would tell myself if I could do it all over again. And here it is:
Don’t Play It Safe
This is your chance to step out of your comfort zone, so make sure that you maximize your experience by doing just that. Take on that group assignment, even if finance isn’t your forte and it takes you ten hours when it only takes the bankers five (you will learn Excel eventually, I promise!) Go for the networking event, even if you don’t know anyone and the thought of speaking to strangers scares you. It will stop sounding scary eventually, trust me. Travel, travel, travel (and for heaven’s sake, book your tickets early!) Whatever you do in your time at INSEAD, don’t play it safe.
Pro-tip #1: pay attention in Prices and Markets classes to learn the best way to score cheap plane tickets.
Pro-tip #2: don’t miss the private island trip in Asia. You will regret it.
Learn To Prioritise
At INSEAD, you will find an endless number of clubs, activities, treks, extra-curriculars, events etc. that you want to participate in. And soon enough, you will realise that you simply don’t have enough time to do it all. At this point, start to think about why you came here, what you want to get from the program and why it’s important to you – both your personal and professional reasons. And then choose where you invest your time, energy and emotions accordingly.
Pro-tip #3: clear your exit language before you arrive and exempt the courses that you can, to clear up some space on your calendar and make time for more.
Kiss Your Sleep Goodbye
A continuation from the previous point…if you’ve seen the classic business school triangle, you know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, here’s the gist: sleep, study and socialise – during your year at INSEAD, you will only be able to choose two. And with the sheer number of readings, assignments, parties and social commitments you will have, shut-eye is going to be the one to go. But I promise you, it will be worth it.
Pro-tip #4: free coffee in the cafeteria. It isn’t great, but it does the job.
Pro-tip #5: if you’re in Singapore, head over to Timbre for a quick dinner break during late night study sessions. Good music, good food and good beer. Vatos does great tacos. You’re welcome.
Make Time to Socialize
The best parts about INSEAD (and to my mind, the biggest sources of learning) are the conversations that you will have with people – both while you’re here and after. Make the time to socialise with classmates, seniors, professors, alumni and even the people you meet on your travels. Go for the parties. Set up that coffee chat. Attend the networking event. Book the trip with your new classmates. Say hello to the new face in the courtyard. Just do it.
Pro-tip #6: for the Singapore-starters, Bread Yard in Fusionopolis does a good brew and is a great place for coffee chats.
See you in P2!