At work today, I listened to two colleagues relating how they spent the past week doing a crash course. It involved situational analysis, defining and categorising the issues, writing and then presenting a proposal. They told me of how they worked past midnight every day. I learned that some of their groupmates came from other parts of the region, and one was even a Belgian who resided in Singapore.
I looked at both of them, and wasn’t greatly impressed. It was not that I was merciless or wanted to put them down - I respect my colleagues. It’s just because this sort of intense work is commonplace at INSEAD. Especially in the first two periods (P1 and P2) - that’s four months, not just 5 working days. And to top it off, we have exams!
It’s just as gruelling if you took the optional INSEAD Business Foundations course prior to P1. In fact I suspect Business Foundations doesn’t just give you a grounding in the basics (for those of us with no business backgrounds) but jolts you into realising, “What have I got myself into??” as you plough through your notes into the wee hours of the night, trying to complete your assignments with your groupmates. It’s not an experience for the faint-hearted.
With crash courses, you don’t just gain vast quantities of insights in a short space of time. Because of the brutal pace of learning, you also bond with your groupmates quickly. One of my colleagues befriended a foreign participant in her group and is meeting up with him tomorrow. And so classmates become friends, across different continents and cultures.
If such international friendships can develop in the space of a working week, with just 18 people, imagine what can happen at an accelerated full-time MBA at INSEAD over a period of 10 months or more, between 450+ students around the world.
Afternote: I have to write a paper involving bilateral relationships (i.e. international relations between countries) within the next day, present and get it approved by senior management by this week, submit it to my Ministry for approval, after which it will be will proposed to the WHO. Is it daunting?? Not quite, because we’ve done this kind of work at INSEAD already.
I look at such challenges through a very difference lens now. And after INSEAD, you will, too.