Sunday, May 10, 2015

Interview with current INSEAD MBA Student

I am pleased to offer the following interview with a current student at INSEAD.

1. After you were admitted, looking back on the way you prepared for the MBA in the spring and summer, is there anything you would change? Anything you would have done more of or less of?

I could have been more open to other options including options outside MBA, although I believe INSEAD is a great choice for me. What really matters should be life after MBA and MBA should not be the only option for most people to move you forward. 

2. What's a typical day in the life of an MBA student in your program?

It depends on periods. For the first four months, students spend time in attending core courses, working with a study group in the daytime, and having parties (doing networking) at night. On weekends, most people travel together to countries nearby (across Asia and Europe). The schedule is really intense during these periods. After that, class schedule becomes more relaxing and students become more serious about life after INSEAD. Some people spend time in starting up their own companies and testing their business, while others spend time on networking for careers and interview preparation. Since we have huge diversity, it completely depends on each student.

3. Can you write a bit about a course that you would recommend future students take?

“Creative Thinking” is the course I personally loved most. There are design students coming from Art Center in California and we develop new product and service ideas together. Please note that this elective is one of few electives only held in the Singapore campus. “Identifying New Business Model” is the also fantastic elective that teaches how to brainstorm/select new ideas from scratch and how to test those ideas. INSEAD is strong in entrepreneurship and students here can take a bunch of great courses that leads them to real entrepreneurship.

4. Have you had the time to get involved in any extra-curricular activities? If so, what ones and what are you doing in them?

There are a lot of things going on, for example I started a consulting project for a social enterprise in Singapore in a team of four students from the consulting club. We discussed their problems with the CEO and conducted some surveys to identify growth opportunities for them. Recently, I am more focusing on getting a job after INSEAD.

5. What have your experiences been like in learning/project teams? 

At INSEAD, a study group for the first four months is assigned from the school and the nationalities and career backgrounds in each team are all different. It is really a valuable experience: some teams would face difficulty in managing team activities because of the diversity and learn a lot from such experiences. In my case, all four other team members are super nice and helpful, and it was always fun to work with them. 

6. Can you share your plans for the summer?

I am just finishing off my MBA (since it is a 10-month program) and might have a summer vacation before going back to the world of business.

7. Looking back, what has been most surprising to you about your MBA life, compared to your original expectations before you enrolled?

Diversity. It was quite difficult to imagine how life goes with friends from over 70 countries. When you talk in a small group, most of time you realise that the nationalities and backgrounds are all different. Since all students understand we are quite different in nature, all of them respect each other and their culture. This is really an amazing culture of INSEAD. 

Thanks for your time and answers to my questions! 

John Couke