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Posts Tagged ‘network’

On the plus side

If I’ve been overly harsh on INSEAD lately, it is because of my own anxiety about starting the school year in less than a month. I keep having a dream where I am lost somewhere (though it usually turns out to be the Mexico City metro) with 2 huge, unwieldy suitcases and unable to communicate to find my way around. I wake up nearly hysterical, with a pounding headache.

Instead of stressing about the school year or the recruiting season, I’m chosing to focus on the more immediate and tangible stresses. Should I buy a hairdryer or three ring binders here or in Fonty? Should I purchase a cellphone online now or wait until I get there?

So I’m going to stop the ranting, and do some rambling about what’s going well.

1. Despite being intimidated by the idea of living in France, I’m also anticipating the excitement of trips to the hardware store. What I mean is that everyday life in a foreign language feels so extraordinary. When living abroad and learning Spanish, I found that buying elotes on the zócalo or having a short chat with a papeleria owner when buying a pack of pens was the most rewarding part of my day. That challenge of daily life was a huge motivator for choosing INSEAD in the first place.

2. I’m spending NYE in Paris with the boy! I can’t freaking wait!

3. Another pleasant surprise is that I’m finding the Micro pre-reading much more engaging than I expected. Yeah, I’m being a nerd and doing the pre-reading. (You are being a bigger nerd and spending 1500 EUR to attend business foundations. So please…) I’m finding myself better equipped to understand Marketplace reports on NPR than I was two weeks ago. It’s rewarding to be able to make sense of my world from first principles, rather than nodding along with James Surowiecki because he writes so logically.

4. I’m also starting to discover the power of the network. Today, I had a wonderful chat with an alum about his sector, the recruiting process at INSEAD, and pulling off a career change – someone I found through one of these very blogs! He had some insightful comments. I wanted to share a mix of these insights and my own interpretations:

– Don’t get seduced by JP Morgan and McKinsey unless you’re really interested in banking or consulting. Recruiting for those roles can take up the majority of your time, leaving you with no time to consider alternatives.

– Set a goal for networking: talk to X number of people per week. Always follow up.

– Get together with people interested in your sector and share your contacts.

– Have a crystal clear idea of what you can offer a company. Be able to pitch it in 30 seconds.

– Join a club in your area of interest and take the reins; don’t wait for someone to plan the events that interest you.

– Prioritize. You’ll only be able to do a small fraction of what INSEAD offers – you’ll have to choose between parties, studying, recruiting, traveling, clubs, sleep.

Phew. That was way too positive. Hope I didn’t bore you to tears.

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