November 29, 2007

Century! Journey and GMAT Recap

This is the 100th post since this blog started! On June 08 2006 I decided to bite the GMAT bullet. The posts in June 2006 were focused on GMAT preparation. On Aug 26 2006 I finished my GMAT, and on Aug 28, I wrote a post on GMAT quant traps - a post that many have found useful. After that, my posts focused on essays, schools of interest, application process, the INSEAD interview pre-selection post. Then, in Jan 2008, came the news I was waiting for - the admit.

Since then there have been numerous posts on INSEAD, which I will not repeat. So far, it has been a worthwhile journey. As you embark upon yours, I hope it will be as well.

Those who are preparing for GMAT, I have 3 points to make.

1. It's a lot about timing and calm under pressure. Never let a question take away more than 3 minutes of your time, move on.

2. SC gives you the best return on invested time. The GMATPrep test is the best preparation tool.

3. A good score is useful for top schools. While a high score won't necessarily get you in, a low score will very likely keep you out. Do not underestimate the exam.

Do well!

November 27, 2007

Continuing on recruitment /salaries post MBA

Turns out my previous post on recruitment in international schools (INSEAD/Wharton/Chicago and so on) vs. IIMs and ISB turned out to be very popular. Apart from large number of hits and surprising quick ascension on Google (who could guess that giving "iim insead" on Google gets my link right at the top..!), I also have emails to clarify questions.

This is a short post but one to clarify the question of post MBA salary ranges. To my knowledge, the salary reported on Indian media on IIM / ISB is CTC, i.e., cost to company, which includes a whole range of items apart from base salary - like bonus, car, education allowance, and everything else that could factor in. The salaries typically quoted by the above mentioned international schools (I can say for sure for INSEAD) are "base salaries", for e.g. 2006 Europe base salary average was around 85,000 euros = ~125,000$. And this is NOT CTC. All the joining and future bonuses, and any other allowances are outside this salary. The base range can be up to ~200,000 euros =~300,000 USD.

Hope that answers the question(s).

Alright folks, in a few hours I must be all suited and booted up for the mega Monsoon ball here at Singapore. I hope to have a blast of a time! updated note: oh yes, I did.

update: A note as a response to a couple of mails and a comment. The posts have nothing to do with quality of students, it's only about clarifying processes and statistics. The danger with excessive hype is that it puts immense pressure on current students (due to unfair comparison, and I've read students comments to that effect - "what, you did not get 50 lakhs?"), it gives an incorrect picture to prospective students and clouds their judgment, and it distorts the reality of competition.

November 22, 2007

exhausting week

Wow. This week has been exhausting with insane amounts of work and next week promises to be worse - with a combination of case work, social activities and a big trip coming up at the end of it. In a way, this is teaching me how to do time management better than ever before!

I'm hitting the bed early tonight, need to catch up on some sleep and recharge for tomorrow.

November 19, 2007

Managing activities - Clubs, events, sports, cases..*tiring*

One of the standard refrains from MBA students is the amount of workload. It's true in most schools, and more so at INSEAD simply due to the compressed nature of the course. Let's take a simple list of all the things I will be doing this week

  1. A bunch of case submissions (we have about 25 case submissions in the next 4 weeks, and each case requires a decent couple of hours of work)
  2. Studying all the mandatory materials for the next days class
  3. Sending in my creative substance to a major event happening next week (more details coming soon)
  4. Participating in 2 club activities
  5. Running 2 clubs (I founded one, and am leading the other in Singapore)
  6. Participating in 3 different career services events (not recruitment, these are more about development, strategies for searching etc.)
  7. Playing soccer against the other section ("we'll kick your @ss!")
  8. Completing my CV - which takes insane amounts of work. That's a topic for the blog. Getting an effective CV / Resume in place within 1 page is incredible hard work. All the reviews and all the's crazy. If you are a new intake, get a basic CV in place before you land up here or you'll spend tons of time doing one.
  9. Bidding for electives in P3. We can bid for 3.5 credits, there are many interesting electives but unfortunately we can only get 3.5.
  10. Other sundry personal work I need to do - like booking flight tickets for travel, hotels, blogging, meetings, eating, sleeping...
Tiring. But I'm lovin' it. I would hazard a guess that it is similar whether in Wharton, Columbia, Stern, Chicago or any other school.

November 17, 2007

Sitting Duck -- Or a Duck sitting in the class.

In my last post, I mentioned the INSEAD Dash. Here is a pic that describes it's spirit. You can only imagine how distracting (and funny) it is to be sitting in a class looking at a big fat ducky. And then imagine how hard it must for be for the professor whenever he looks at that section of the class. Not only does he have to deal with a whole bunch of weird outfits and super ugly cheerleaders ;) he also has to look at a BIG DUCKY in the eye!

In a way, this describes the spirit of the class and INSEAD. Lot of fun, lot of work. I'll tell you more about some other amusing practices we have. But that's for later.

November 15, 2007


This is a short post, and I will hopefully add a few pics later. But today, we had the INSEAD Dash, a hilarious "run" from Heritage (the condo complex where most of us stay) to INSEAD, wearing really ridiculous dressed as disgusting cheerleaders, hot nurse outfits, a dumb birdie...what not. And then those who are dressed up funny sit in the class with the same outfit - distracting and entertaining.

There are a few INSEAD traditions I will probably write about later..

November 09, 2007

Thanks, Zanat0s (a.k.a. Stefanos!)

Thanks, Stefanos, for mentioning my entry on recruitment style in international b-schools vis-a-vis Indian management schools. Your own story might be an interesting supplement on how motivated job searches can lead to interesting outcomes.

For other aspirants, to just get an idea of how networks can be leveraged, read his latest entry.

We are coming to a close of Africa week, and Desi week preparation is under way. This week (and the next 2 weeks) promise to be full of activities apart from tons of case work and group assignments. To those NYU Stern people, your professor (who is currently also teaching OB at INSEAD) Doug Guthrie is very good, his opening class yesterday was fun. And we could tell that some of our class shenanigans (we have interesting class behavior  - all in fun and good spirit) took by a bit of surprise (pleasant ones, don't worry).

I need to do a post on our professors some time.

November 03, 2007

INSEAD Americas office - New York

We'd heard about this from Frank recently. This should be a good move for the coming years to increase brand awareness in US and also help more INSEAD students tap into the US market. Before some one asks - no this is NOT a new campus. This is more like a relations office.

So many case studies to submit next's going to be a busy weekend.