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Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

One of my housemates got engaged to his girlfriend during a break between periods. According to him, three things can happen to couples at INSEAD: you get engaged, you break up, you cheat. Mind you, the three are not mutually exclusive. There are rumors of people who have come here with their fiancés, broken up and left INSEAD engaged to someone else. There are rumors of the promiscuous partners who have gotten around while their husbands were spending time in the library. And then there’s reality: people ending 3 or 4 year relationships after being at INSEAD for just 2 Ps. I doubt it’s unique to INSEAD, but it might be something special to do with the changes an MBA brings.

This blog was titled MBA/MRS initially as a joke. When I was leaving my job, I sent a good-bye e-mail to the folks at work saying that I was off to travel the world, learn Spanish, seek a meaningful form of self-expression, but that I would eventually reintegrate myself into society and appease my immigrant parents by going for a dual MBA/MRS degree. It used to be that colleges like Wellesley and Barnard were thought of as finishing schools where girls went to get a History/MRS or a Literature/MRS dual degrees. But today the MBA is the new finishing school for those of us who have failed to get married until now. It was mostly facetiously that I named my blog MBA/MRS.

Shortly after I started the blog, my ex and I got back together for the 5th time in three years and the title of the blog started to feel kind of tacky. So I renamed it to Rant & Ramble while the URL remained the same.

They say… or rather, the boyf was fond of saying, ‘you can put your shoes in the oven, but it don’t make ’em biscuits.’ Yet our fifth attempt at making biscuits was going wonderfully – and we were even managing to see each other nearly every two weeks – looking at real estate together, discussing parenting strategy, and generally ignoring deeper issues of incompatibility that would eventually percolate to the top. But then I let the stress of P2 and he let the stress of his new job fuck the whole thing. Facebook is a bitch and adds a new dimension to breakups I haven’t yet experienced. This afternoon I saw a newsfeed that informed me that he went from being ‘in a wonderful, fulfilling, lovely relationship’ to being ‘single.’ Ugh. To add insult to injury, I’ve invested the last 4 months into networking, hobnobbing and researching an ndustry of interest in the city where he lives and spent 1300 EUR to start the visa process to move there. Sunk costs…

It’s all quite sad, though the most sad part might be that this is the right thing for both of us.

To make myself feel better I wrote a list of things I want out of life, blew off studying in favor of career strategy reformulation and pinned up my INSEAD Rugby calendar. I hear the ripped and hairless Mr. April has recently become available.

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The partners of INSEAD

I continue my travels on the bus with internet!

I’m spending the 4.5 hour trip browsing blogs, neurotically checking www.fivethirtyeight.com to make sure John McCain’s chances of winning the election haven’t gone up by another 0.2% to 4.8%, reading every Op/Ed piece in the NYT, and taking an online test to see if I’m racially biased (I am).

Usually, if I spend an entire day obsessively reading gossip on Sarah Palin (there’s really no end to how ridiculously vapid she is), I start feeling a bit lousy.  I start thinking that maybe I should do something positive – like pick up the phone and call some voters instead, or maybe just get off my ass and go for a run.  But right now I’m stuck here on the bus of the future, and this time is delightfully justified.    

I also browsed over to the blogs of some INSEAD partners.  These blogs offer an interesting glimpse into INSEAD life as well.  Or more like, life in Fontainebleau (and Singapore) that is tangentially related to INSEAD.  Because some of these partner bloggers have nothing but time, as compared to the student bloggers, their blogs are so detailed. 

I’m sort of wishing that I myself were an INSEAD partner instead of an INSEADer.  I can cook, load the dishwasher, go to the market to pick out the cheeses or spend hours browsing in the wine shop.  Or I could take trips to Paris and spend hours at the Musée d’Orsay and later make delightful dinner-time conversation that would help my partner take his mind off the rigorous studies.  I won’t iron though.  I hate ironing.  In return, I would get romantic weekend excursions to Provence and a signing bonus spent on a lovely engagement ring in P5 presented on top of the Eiffel Tower – or something equally cliché.  

One can dream.  At the very least, I wish I had a partner coming along to set up my internet, iron my interview clothes, cook for me and be a peppy, uplifting presence in my life.  Anyone?

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I dated this guy in grad school.  Let’s call him Jon the Pervert.  That’s what all my friends would call him to distinguish him from Jon the Douche who was an uber-smooth HBS grad and Married John who was… well… married.   

Jon the Pervert got his name after I found out that for the 6 months that we were together he had been trawling for sex on Craigslist.  Something to the tune of “I have seats in such-and-such section for the playoffs.  I want a girl with DD breasts to go with me.  Send pictures.”  You can’t make shit like this up.  It’s no wonder his lab work wasn’t going anywhere.

One thing that absolutely drove me crazy was that Jon the Pervert was always talking about money.  Money he spent on rent, money he could save by moving somewhere else, his graduate student stipend, money he paid for a bottle of wine, money he was expecting from a tax refund.  Money money money.  We were students, living on $1500/month stipend, more than half of which went to rent.  I was also constantly stressed about money.  It was poverty-level, but doable.  It meant that I didn’t go out to eat often.  It meant that I didn’t spend my spare time shopping.  It meant that I didn’t go on vacation or travel.  But whenever Jon the Pervert would talk about money, I never knew what to say.  It felt so awkward.   

Jon the Pervert and I parted ways shortly before graduation.  He kept trawling Craigslist for sex and I got a real job.  And eventually came to enjoy having a real salary, eating out most of the week, setting off on a frivolous weekend trip, never thinking twice about a shoe purchase.

Now that I’m about to pay a 30K EUR tuition installment, I’m once again feeling the stress of being a broke-ass student.  While I could just rack up the loans, I’m nervous about not being able to pay them back.  Just like in grad school, the prospect of looking for a job in a recession is daunting.  There are July 08 grads still looking for jobs!  

I did lots of frustrated window shopping this weekend.  Sometimes there’s an entire season where I just hate all the styles.  Last fall had very little to offer and I was happy to shop for home decor at Scandinavian design stores.  To my chagrin, this season, I am drooling over all the t-strap shoes, the short jackets with balloon sleeves, the skinny belts, the jersey dresses a la Dior.  [Sigh]

Not talking about money with INSEAD students has proven difficult.  There’s visa fees totalling 200 USD, there’s housing deposits of one months rent, there’s the business foundations at 1500 EUR course (that Columbia offers for free), there’s 200+ EUR fee to take the test to prove you can habla Español or spreche Deutsch or govorit’ po Russki, and 500 EUR per term of language tuition should your Español not be convincing enough.  It’s quite easy to join in the collective bitching and moaning about the fleecing.  And there’s something of a bonding exercise to it.  Maybe Jon the Pervert was just trying to bond with me over the shared stress of being near-broke.  And being brought up not to talk about money I didn’t give him the satisfaction, so he turned to Craigslist.  Maybe he wasn’t looking for DD breasts, but for someone who would hear him out about his finances.

Maybe instead of the ropes course and trust falls and egg drops during orientation, we can all just sit in a room and talk about who got what interest rate or who made the mistake of converting money to Euro too early.

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