Friday, February 8, 2008

5 weeks in already!

I wonder what was going through the Dean's mind yesterday when my fellow P1's were drinking champagne in class before his presentation on the grading system... My guess: "Only at INSEAD..." At least it was after lunch :)

Also, yesterday, we received some very sad news... The era of free copies of the financial times is now aparently over. While Green INSEAD might see this as a blessing in disguise, what ever will we use as props during Amphi stormings and student council presentations???

So to catch up a bit on what I've been up to (at least what I remember):

First, the people. During welcome week, I introduced myself to so many people multiple times, and it turns out everyone is just as diverse and interesting the 3rd time. By the end of the week, there was a moment when after running through the basic questions of name, origins, work history, etc. I forgot what came next...

Atfter welcome week, we started our 5 core courses on OB (organizational behavior), economics, finance, accounting, and stats. It's interesting how it's set up because all of the course content is clearly aligned to give you a foundation in business from the start. The schedule is unexpected though. Either someone put a significant amount of effort into timing each particular class meeting relative to the other courses, campus activities, and class assignments, or they just enjoy playing with your mind. Basically, if you have the same day twice within a few weeks, it must be an anomoly.

During week 2, finance training started for anyone interested in banking internships. Whether or not you partook made a big difference in your experience so far, I think. For about 3 weeks any given night was a choice between which of 5 different activities you would like to go to plus course work, resumes, cover letters, and obviously going out. It was much faster than I expected to go from 0 to 120 mph! My only regret is not getting a flu shot first...

Now that interviews have started and I'm considering never working again, everything seems to have slowed to a slightly more normal pace, but maybe it just seems that way because I actually slept for almost 8 hours last night.

Anyways, it is once again the weekend! Tonight I'll be at the same party as DTLF, so the big question of the moment is what I'll wear to my first themed chateau party...

Will I identify any P3 bloggers tonight?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Random thoughts

Since I was just reminded that I do in fact have a blog (in case I'd forgotten) and told that I should post something, here are a few random thoughts:

- The current exchange rate is scary. I've stopped checking it.

- My original plan to study my 3rd language prior to starting seems to have completely backfired. It appears I will get to report on regretting this decision while I loose additional "networking"/sleeping time. Something to look forward to :)

- US student loan programs are not as bright, shiney and simple as I once thought. Beware future applicants, you cannot borrow money for the deposit, so be prepared to beg family and friends (or however you prefer to get extra cash) if you don't have your own cash sitting around in the bank.

- Before going to INSEAD, do consider long and hard all your options to take time off to travel before the program begins. Even if you would be short on funds, it is entirely possible to find a few couches to sleep on with a bit of networking with other future students. I did, and I know I'm not the only one.

- Check into around the world plane tickets if you've never heard of them.

It's hard to believe that there's just a few weeks left...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ok ok ok...

So if anyone is still reading this, you've probably noticed I haven't posted in awhile...

My first excuse: When you leave your job, it is true that they take back the company computer (Why do they have to do that??). Then the Lenovo tablet I ordered a few months back (copied Necromonger) is finally on the way to my house after a 2 month wait. - If you want one order it WELL in advance of when you actually need it.

Second excuse: For the past few weeks I've been traveling. To get computer access, I have to manage to borrow one from a friend or find a computer lab. Ok, so neither is THAT difficult, but after leaving a job where I was on a computer all the time, I don't really have the attention span to look at one for very long especially when the keyboard is very different from what I'm used to.

Anyway, as I visit some of my expat friends as the new television season starts, it's interesting to see how they all manage to keep up with US TV. Since missing my favorite shows makes me sad (not that I'll have time to watch much TV at INSEAD) and I may not be alone, this is what I know so far:

1. To access all the US TV you could possibly want, you can set up a connection to a US cable box and send everything to your computer via a slingbox with the help of a friend in IT.
2. You can download off the internet...
3. You can learn to like French television :)

The other thing I've been thinking about is the language requirement. I've signed up to take the test for my second language days before the final deadline, and given my relaxed mental state and my procrastination on studying for it, I'm a bit worried...

A few months ago, I did take a language test and scored a B1 level but not quite high enough for INSEAD's requirement on that particular exam. Logically, if I can manage to focus, I should be fine. However, the risk of failing the exam and not being able to go to INSEAD after paying the deposit, putting a deposit on an apartment, and quitting my job wouldn't be fun to say the least...

A tip for anyone, who may be applying to INSEAD and doesn't speak multiple languages, passing an exam in advance would be a great idea for piece of mind... :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

D'08 Bloggers

Anyone else out there blogging for the December 08 class yet (or any others)? Let me know, and I'll add more links. Will we get enough to rival the July 08s???

Monday, August 27, 2007

OB Lesson One: The Myth of Sisyphus

A new friend recommended today that I add something application realated to my blog to help future applicants. This afternoon I was inspired by a phone call from HR as it relates to the failure essay I wrote for my INSEAD application...

So to begin in somewhat general terms: When I graduated from college, I got a nice job in a relatively new training program intended to develop the next generation of company leadership. The job sounded like a great opportunity as the retirement statistics showed an aging workforce, with no trained replacements, leading to plenty of opportunities for the new hires to advance rapidly through the ranks. What could be better??? (At least in my opinion :)

Skip to a year or so later and all of the sudden, the good retention rate plummets once the first batch of the program hires hit the 3-year mark. Everyone talks, so those of us following in the program had a pretty good idea of what was going on in each case. I liked my job, my boss, and had had some success making minor changes to the program (still an acknowledged work in progress), so I discussed the issues with my peers, researched objective opinions about what was happening in other industries, etc. and scheduled a lunch with my boss to discuss. It all boiled down to a generation gap, and I, silly me, came up with a bulleted list of ideas to make the work environment more inviting to my generation that just required a few changes to company culture... What ever could be difficult about that? (Note: my boss while great had lived that company culture his entire career...)

If you're applying to B-school, hopefully you can imagine how miserably this plot unfolded, and I definitely took away valuable lesson #1: Only bring up the points that all of my peers will support in public as the rest will be viewed as "my" problem, not a flaw in the program, and stay far away from bullet points. Obvious, yes, but I was new...

(This is about where I ended my failure essay.)

From then on out, I stuck with dropping hints about 1 or 2 key issues that would be relatively easy to change, or so I thought. It's amazing how creative senior managers can get when making up excuses for why something is the way it is when it could be fixed by a little bit more than a phone call. Still no one made the phone call!

Over the last year, Murphy's law really had a field day with me winding up in situations that "only" affected me, so I put these issues on the table as they came up. I would say the common denomonator to all was that when multiple people followed a rarely used company procedure and got a bad result, I was told it was "my fault" or "not even a valid problem." After all, why would there be an error in company policy? etc., etc.

Despite wanting to scream "Stop the insanity!!" I tried, though not always calmly, to explain how the situation could/would occur again in a similar situation and should be addressed or, at the very least, acknowledged to be a problem. I might as well have been pushing a boulder up a steep clif!! In most cases, that seemed like it would be more productive.

Meanwhile, I actually picked out a date to apply to INSEAD years ago to give me an appropriate amount of pre-MBA experience, without unneccessary over kill, and it just so happened to align fairly closely to when the flickering light in my head turned on high beam:

While the company culture might be rancid (my opinion) now that we're in the 21st cetury, I am actually the "problem," as my efforts to change what everyone else accepts makes all of my efforts as ineffective as Sisyphus. By the way, this is still true even if all of my peers feel the same since we're still only a tiny minority in the company.

So finally to my inspration today for sharing:

My resignation letter (upon receipt of the INSEAD admit letter) finally made it's way to a certain someone's inbox... I received a phone call today where in a very negative tone I was told that HR was not happy with my decision. (I was under the impression I was under the terms of voluntary employment? :) However, they were not surprised based on the many mistakes management had made in handling those "Murphy" situations (think that was actually a first). I gather HR views leaving for a top MBA a poor excuse since OBVIOUSLY you can get the same degree part-time in just a few more years.

Then I was asked to please be honest in my exit interview since my feedback could help management improve in the future and to please call as soon as I graduated to see if they could set me up in my dream job with the company... Hmmmm...

For the record, they already have all of my feedback and recommendations for improvements if only they cared to recall it, and they already determined that none of it was valid (See above where I'm a "problem" in their system). The show is practically in sindication at this point, and I don't like reruns that much :)

Maybe the idea is starting to hit home that the retention rate is only 5% (equals 1 person)? Or maybe it's that as the last girl standing, my departure might hurt someone's bonus for diversity? (This is all pure speculation with no basis, by the way.)

The question is, though, how should I approach my exit interview?

A. Bring documentation of INSEAD's global ranking and average salary at graduation in an atempt to "justify" my choice.
B. Explain my actual career goals, which don't align with the CEO's vision, but it's possible HR won't realize this in case I actually do find myself unemployed and extremely desperate after graduation.
C. Tell them I really always wanted to study abroad and thought now was an appropriate time.
D. Some combination of the above.

Any thoughts? :)

P.S. I guess what was most surprising to me is that I always assumed HR's job is to handle things, like resignations, professionlly. My boss took it much better, and he's the one I actually work for :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Maybe I spoke too soon about my anxiety level... I found out tonight that it looks like I'll only have 3 weekends to packup and move instead of the 5 I'd planned. It's not like I have a ton of stuff to go through and organize. In fact, every time I move, the movers laugh as they ask "this is it????"

But I'm not sure how I'm going to manage, when I was planning to be drinking all of those weekends and actually pack the last two!! (FYI I love to procrastinate...) Maybe I should take some comfort in the fact that it only takes movers an hour to pack up all my earthly belongings. How many days could it possibly take me?

To cope with this new anxiety inducing realization, I spent about 10 min cleaning tonight! Ahhh... much better :)

On my to do list for tomorrow: 1. Resign again!

Anyone have thoughts on luggage?

My Identity

Ok, so I've never been to Kansas and my name isn't Dorothy in case anyone was wondering... ;)

I'm not going to be able to pull off an anonymous blog as some try to do, so this blog is going to be "anonymous." People will probably figure out who I am, but I'm not publishing names, etc.

So if you do figure out who I am, pinky swear to keep it to yourself :P

(I do find it funny that I feel the need to post this the day I start the blog...)