Archive for January, 2010

3 weeks out and the Insead IT hacks have finally managed to kick every single D09ner out of the MBA intranet portal. Begging was useless; when your turn came it was like getting fired in the worst way:

“Your mbaconnect account has been deactivated. However, you still have access to Careerlink.”

Ah, Careerlink. Ye ol’ faithful job search portal, thin with age, at least until the J10s’ recruitment round begins.

At Insead, 15 seconds really is 15 seconds. You are hot for a year. Cloistered by the forest, coddled by the MBA administration, courted by companies big and small, you feel the world better watch out when you walk outta there with your diploma. Right?


All the cheers and whistles crescendo into nothing but a sigh for those of us unlucky or inept enough not to have landed a plum position in P4. When the curtain falls, you realize you were not on stage but in the audience and it is time to haul your unemployed self out into the blinding sun. The stress of this period is not like the constant stress of time management we experienced during the MBA. It is more insidious, an uncomfortable tingly feeling deep in our gut.

For those, comme moi, who formed romantic attachments with classmates, the weeks before and after graduation are even more fraught with soul-searching. My vision is clouded by all the question marks hanging in the air and still, like any MBA worth her salt, I am cobbling together a new job search strategy, calling up alums and sucking up to old associates and colleagues over lunches that I cannot afford. Meanwhile, my boyfriend has just expanded his geographic criteria to include North America. That means, his job search, like a gap year adventure, could see him alight anywhere from Singapore, overland through the Middle East to Western Europe and across the Atlantic to Canada. What of “us”? Dunno. Get a job first.

By now, I am familiar with the trade-offs that are de rigueur in this phase of life. So many classmates delivered last kisses to perfectly wonderful boys and girls to pursue – not their dream jobs – sensible career choices in livable office locations. The need to make good on our expensive degrees drives us to deny the choices that bloom deep within from true, pithy desire. Except for a brave few, we pick ‘lifestyle’ over ‘life’, ‘prospects’ over ‘love’.

But that is not to say that we aren’t savoring the final days of freedom before the suits and peak hour traffic take them away. The stragglers coming back to town to take up new positions or find some are keeping the INSEAD theme alive. My inbox is filled with invitations to dim sum, karaoke, Attica, water treatment plants, frog farms. Yes, we’re an energetic bunch. A special type of animal. Ever hopeful, ever ready, we emerge from behind our laptops at twilight to gather at the watering hole. Twirling beers on garden furniture, we talk about business, love, the future. Hope is alive. The world is at our feet once again.


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