September 30, 2007

Of learning/and my influential blog readers!

before I get to that, I stumbled upon this new INSEAD blog. - welcome, flyingalong!
So, what is it about learning and keeping an open mind? At INSEAD we meet people with a range of experience and from diverse functional backgrounds. We have engineers, investment bankers, commercial bankers, lawyers, consultants, reporters, sales managers, marketers, vice presidents, founders - name it. And then we have people from "every which" company - whether it is the usual suspects McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Roland Berger and then a multitude of other companies - Deutsche bank, Barclays, UN, Amex, Cisco, Total, Shell, Booz allen, Dell...and so on. The beauty of the mix is regardless of one's own experience, it is useful to hear other points of view. And then we have all these classes - Market pricing strategies, corporate finance, accounting, organizational behavior - subjects many of us are studying for the first time.
To me, this is excellent. You could be cynical and be critical of everyone and hate all your subjects or you could absorb the immersion constantly asking yourself "how will this help me next time." I chose to "unlearn" many things I did in my experience and understand how to do things better, how to manage people better, understand several new business concepts. When I look back at my experience, I can already spot areas where I might have done better with the tools I am equipping myself. Ultimately, it is about what we want to take out of a program - a closed mind is not one of them.
I am also researching my careers, and noted that there are people from my "target companies" who visit my blog. My dear readers, I may seek you for information and help sometime in getting to know your organizations better :)
In other news, I have also discovered, much to my consternation, that several wines and vodkas do nothing to me. I am not even a drinker - in fact, I barely touch alcohol except in some parties, but damn! And singapore is expensive - you don't want to get too happy during 'non-happy' hours or you'll leave with an unhappy wallet. It's so expensive it's almost criminal.
We've been having a bunch of activities - to name a few
* Australia/Korea/Japan week - loads of fun, BBQ, clubbing
* Deadlines for several banks - made many people run around
* Informal bar hopping/dinner events
* and huge loads to study
the coming week is very hectic and we have an interesting online game to be played between Fonty, Singapore and Wharton. Whartonies, here we come! The game lasts a week - and promises to be interesting. Provided we survive through all the activities and slogging as we get closer to the first exams. It's crazy, a month is over and it just whizzed by!

September 17, 2007

X60 tablet update/Learning/3 of 2/subjects

When you join INSEAD, they say that you can do 2 of the 3 things - Network, party or study. Very true. The subjects have caught pace and it's becoming really difficult to do all three and most people are beginning to prioritize. You ask yourself the question "is this relevant? is this valuable? should I do this?" for everything and then decide. There are tons of things you can do here, and it becomes all the more important to decide what your time is worth.

Having said that, I'm actually enjoying the subjects - for the first time, I feel smarter when I read FT or WSJ. Some of the terms make sense. I actually feel like I'm learning something. We're covering broad microeconomic theories, use of statistics, fundamentals of corporate finance, organizational behavior and accounting. Everything is new to me and it feels to good to learn all that. The teaching started slow but is now really fast paced and it's critical everyone reads for the next day and does all assignments, or it's really hard to catch up. The professors are great - no surprises there.

INSEAD conducts huge number of exec education programs - these are also excellent sources for us to network with senior executives from influential organizations - Shell, Nokia and what not. We are given the opportunity to set up meetings with them, and I think it's a fantastic chance to learn details of organizations we are interested in. We also soon have a INSEAD alumni gathering which is attended by some real heavyweights.

In other news, I had written about my use of my tablet. I can tell you now officially that it works really well. I use it for all my study note-taking, solving exercises and it works like a charm. Here is a screenshot.

September 06, 2007

A day in the life of an INSEADer

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

INSEAD classes are formed into groups. Each group is of 5 people, and everyone in that group is from a different country, and often a different function. This is intentional. My group is great, so far we're getting along very well.

Like they say, it's all about networking. You get to talk to company representatives post presentation. It works well sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't. We've only started.

Ah, the parties! So many parties and so many bars...and so little time.And in the middle of all this, we have to study, do coursework, do homework, join clubs (lots of activity clubs), read mails, talk to loved ones, friends, attend presentations, network with classmates.

Hey, who said INSEAD was easy?