August 25, 2007

INSEAD, Singapore. Here I come!

It's been 5 days since I arrived in Singapore and settled to my apartment. The first impressions of the place and the campus has been very positive, and the interactions with many INSEAD-mates has been great. Things are looking up for the year to come.

Singapore is super-efficient and beautiful. The ease at which we got our mobile, Internet, apartment papers was testament to how Singapore works. You could just get all comfortable here and go nowhere.

Turns out I got me a great set of flat-mates too. One of them's done more in his relatively younger career (compared to mine!) than I did since I was born ;) The other too works for a large Brazilian retailer and focuses on strategy. Let me put it this way - I'm the dumb geek. We seem to be getting along very well so far and hope to keep it that way. I thought I could break the will of one of the guys by making him fail at something -- i.e. cooking some egg curry. But damn, he did that well too. Now I'm left eating my words (and the egg curry)

Over the days, we've met a diverse bunch of INSEADers. Consultants, bankers, engineers, it! And we've only met a small group so far. This is what makes it pretty amazing - just the ability to learn from such a varied set. My batch has people from 69 countries - I think. For someone like me, who had most of his career in the technology industry, this is a breath of fresh air so to speak.

Our apartment is pretty much a luxury condo. A lot of INSEADers stay here too - it's expensive (Singapore rents have gone up in the last 2 years and it's crazy) but a great place. Gym, Jacuzzi, three pools, in style for students! For new batches, my word of caution is to look for housing early. It is expensive, the agents are not always reliable and can up the rent based on the panic in your voice. You are also better off staying close to the institute and with others - that way you enjoy the experience more.

The location couldn't be better - 10 minutes (or less) walk to INSEAD. Affordable eateries close by, cabs are very reasonable especially when you share, the metro-train stations close by - convenient to do anything. The INSEAD campus is compact, and it is dwarfed by a mammoth - behemoth construction beside it called 'fusionopolis' which will eventually house aparments, multiplexes, malls and a new metro station. The INSEAD class of 2010 or 2011 should have a fantastic time. Once you get into INSEAD, it's very nice. Spacious, clean and very pleasant inside. I am yet to see inside the classes - we've so far seen the entrance, cafe etc and they're sweeeeet.

Is it all sunny? No downsides? Well there are a few little ones

  • Apartment rent is rather unreasonable and is the biggest expense. It hasn't been easy for people to get the place of their choice in a reasonable budget. Adding to the misery is the unwillingness of some landlords to give apartments to students, and difficulties getting shorter term contracts. INSEAD doesn't make or break the local rental market so there's really no bargaining power.
  • Be prepared to walk with an umbrella - it rainy in a jiffy and rains hard.
  • Pre-paid mobile isn't all that cheap. Post-paid phones require contracts.
No place is perfect. But so far - it's been great and I'm looking forward to orientation/start on Monday. I got myself a dapper suit -- wooohooo -- and hope to look all official during the dean's address.


Sandy said...

Wonderful pics and great info :)

DTLF said...

Good to hear that you're settled, and glad to see you posting again. The Fonty campus and the French system is the exact opposite of everything you listed, except for the exorbitant, price-gouging rents.

I'm starting to think that I picked the wrong campus.

necromonger said...

sandy - thanks.

DTLF - good to hear from you. Well, singapore sure if efficient and we've been having a good time. But that doesn't mean Fonty isn't great apart from some usual downsides. Many of us plan to be in Fonty during P4 at least :) Will you be coming over here?

Navin said...

I am an R3 for the Class of December 2008 and I should be getting to know whether I am "in" by the nexy weekend.

I might be jumping the gun...but will be grateful to hear from you what is the monthly rent for occupying a master bed room in a flat on a sharing basis in Dover/Heritage?

necromonger said...

Expect to pay anywhere from 1500 to 1800-2000 SGD for a master bedroom.

Little Apple Mommy said...

Hi I have a beautiful 3 bedroom unit at One North Residence which is brand new and very close to Insead Singapore campus. I am looking for tenants. Could you pls let me know if you have friends still looking? One North 3 bedroom rental market price is now around SGD5500 per month but I am willing to negotiate. Please contact me at if interested. Thanks!