I had my first interview with a lady Alumnus. We met at a coffee place near our homes and hit off straight away. She was quite friendly and helpful as she shared a lot of information about INSEAD.
She told me plenty of anecdotes which proved that you had to go into business school with the right spirit - see it as a means to an end, and not an end in itself (i.e. a piece of paper with which you expect to earn big bucks).
One that amused me was how a Chinese classmate saw INSEAD as a means to getting more money, and read a book on interviews instead of paying attention in class. He tried to copy answers, saying that’s how it’s done in China, but she told him that’s now how it’s done in HER culture! He spent all his time surfing the web instead of doing his homework. Needless to say he failed everything and spent an extra month resitting.
So it seemed like she had accepted me and had moved on to giving me tips on how to survive in INSEAD. I wanted to ensure that she knew enough about me, but she said she’s read my main blog :) and that she was satisfied with my involvement in activities outside of work. She said INSEAD didn’t want people who only kept their noses to the grindstone and I definitely wasn’t one of them. (Which reminds me to continue seeking my work-life balance!)
At the end, she added that there were jazz bands in Fontainebleau - there was even a band called “Funk And Blue” which I thought was a very clever name. I told her about how I saw playing in a jazz band was like working today in teams. We aren’t spoon-fed and made to stick exactly to the script (as with Classical music) but now we’re given a framework and we take turns to improvise, sharing the limelight not hogging it. She agreed with that metaphor.