Archive for September, 2009


I had an unexpected heart-to-heart with one of my classmates the other day. What he said about INSEAD is so true: there’s brains but there’s so little beauty. I keep having the same conversation over and over again. All anyone ever talks about is which destinations they plan to check off next on their list, or what slutty outfit they’ve picked out for the Moulin Rouge party at Cheateau de Villecerf, or how you’re a loser for not going to Singapore because Singapore is so amazing.

What of art? What of literature and music? When you read the resume book, you find out that people are interested in politics or 20th century painting or vocal music. Is it just not cool to talk about your passions with your classmates? Or are these random things people put on their resumes to sound interesting? Makes me think of a classmate who has ‘cooking’ as one of his hobbies. Strangely enough, according to the roommates, he hadn’t stepped foot in the kitchen once during three periods to indulge this hobby.

So I went to Paris yesterday in search of beauty. What I found instead was a self-referential, everything-is-about-gender women’s contemporary art exhibit at the Centre Pompidou. It was a bit much. A dress made of meat, a video of a naked woman chopping a head of a chicken and holding its body until it stopped thrashing, a deranged mechanical sculpture of a phallus doing somersaults on parallel bars. If it wasn’t a sex organ then it made some political statement about women in the contemporary art world.

The Centre Pompidou itself is just nuts. An abominable hamster cage in the middle of gorgeous Paris! But the views of the Mansard roofs are just dazzling! I recently met a cousin of a friend of mine lives in Paris. He and his wife ride his little blue vespa across the Alexander bridge on their way home every day. His wife says that every day, he sees tourists and says, ‘Look, they’re seeing it for the first time. I’m so jealous!’

That’s all.


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The freshmen have just completed the pointless half-day exercise of making posters to discourage drunk driving. These posters are all campy, full of sexual innuendo and puns and completely inactionable. Then the same week they went over to the party in Fleury, got stupid drunk and all drove home through the forest full of boars. Not just the freshmen, but the P4s as well. By P4, we’re experts!

Now, Professor Bartolome would just tell me that I’m too uptight. Surely this moralistic perspective is just a result of my rushed potty training, or a product of my overly conservative upbringing. Actually, my moralizing comes from having a college boyfriend whose mother and sister were killed by a drunk driver while he was in the back seat of a car. But of course nothing like that would happen to anyone here. We’re all way too privileged and precious. Oh, wait. It HAS happened to people here. But how soon we forget.

I [can almost] understand how people manage to justify bad decisions when they’re already drunk at a party. But the problem is that these future business leaders can’t seem to make a good decision up front. How about planning ahead and designating a sober driver? Nah, too much planning. Better just grab my keys and head out! The best is when someone volunteers to be a designated driver and then you see them getting wasted. What kind of a selfish asshole do you have to be to care that little about the lives of the people you’ve VOLUNTEERED to drive home? I’m gonna go upstairs now and ask my neighbor this exact question.

Maybe that’s something they should incorporate into Management Decision Making. I’d like to sell 30 contracts for “At least one INSEAD student will get maimed or killed in a drunk driving accident during P4.”

INSEAD is hardly free from blame. When a couple of idiots last year got arrested, rather than actually take any action within their abilities, some admin wrote a completely impotent e-mail reminding students that ‘at INSEAD we do not drink and drive.’ Oh, GOSH! Thanks for the reminder! I was going to funnel 5 beers and then drive home, but I’m glad you e-mailed me to appeal to my ethics. It’s great that you have a bus that makes two trips a night between the party and Fonty. That way, the people in Fonty, most of whom don’t have cars, can get home comfortably. But if you happen to live in Bourron Marlotte, and the party is in Barbizon, well, you can just count on your shit-drunk buddy to get you home. It’s no problem. The pitch-black forest isn’t teeming with boars and deer.

How about some actionable repercussions? Removal from the Dean’s List? How about failure to graduate? Being barred from on-campus recruiting opportunities or a removal from the alumni database?

Put your money where your mouth is, INSEAD.

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P Quatro

I’m happily back in the bubble and life once again moves at breakneck speed. And for the first time in a really long time I find myself being hyper-motivated and really effective. So much so that I haven’t had time to update my three loyal readers (and all of you December 2010 hopefuls who are Googling ‘INSEAD vs HBS’ and ‘INSEAD waitlist’) on the goings on of the penultimate period. Penultimate is a good word; rather underused.

So… what’s going on?

There are freshmen on campus! Today I got to meet quite the awkward lot of them at the club fair. It’s hard not to think of them as so young and naive, even though a good half of them are older than me.
Freshman: “So um… I’m interested in this-and-that.”
Me: “Oh that sounds great! What about this-and-that interests you?”
Freshman: “Um… I dunno. I just wrote my INSEAD essay about it. So… how how will your club help me get a job?”
Me: “Uhh… come again?”

What else…

My classes RAWK! The Brand Management class is so cool. We’re doing cases on Russian Vodka, Steinway Pianos, French Perfumes. Almost all of the cases have been written under the prof who created this class. So totally worth the high bidding points! I’m being a huge nerd and reading ahead in the cases because they’re so interesting.

The Industry Competitive Analysis is slightly less thrilling but also great (thanks, Resipsa, for the rec!). Not reading ahead in this class though. Norddeutsche Affinerie’s energy strategy also interesting though somewhat less spellbinding and will be read once I’m done procrastinating with this blog post.

Realizing Entrepreneurial Potential is amazingly inspiring – the premise being that you don’t have to build a business from scratch to be an entrepreneur. You can buy one. And so during the class you go through the process of acquiring (or… err…. attempting to acquire) a company. I’m steering my group to look at something more exciting than concrete fence posts, lawn equipment and cathode ray tubes. Watch out, Hummus Brothers.

Yes, still obsessed…

Psych Issues in Management is a weird fish. I’m hoping that it will be something like LPG – incredibly frustrating until you have a big a-ha moment at the end and everything falls into place. I just wish the guy would stop cursing.

Among other news, the recruiting circus is in town. I’ve decided to forego the consulting recruiting. I’m not interested in it enough in the job, and not convincing enough to fake it – and can really do without any more rejection in my life. So, it’s a relief to keep the tap dancing shoes in the closet for now. But – not to worry! – I plan on getting filthy drunk and dominating convo with McKinsey on Friday night in the best of traditions.

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