INSEAD campus visit

When I walked into the INSEAD Singapore campus, I was pleased. When I walked out, I was spellbound.

Never had a few hours changed my mind about an institute so much!

I had signed up for the information session that afternoon, and attended a class (International Political Analysis) afterwards.

While the info session and tour of the campus itself was very good, and Mr. Ezehar handled all the queries to everybody’s satisfaction, it was the class itself (and what followed afterwards) that left me amazed and feeling very good about this b-school.

It was a class where student groups were making presentations, based on topics they had selected. So far, pretty normal.

But the moment the floor was opened for questions from the rest of the students, what happened was absolutely amazing.

The first presentation was on the Walmart-Massmart deal in South Africa. And there was a fellow from Africa who was sitting there, who provided amazing insights into the deal – what was the ground reaction, why was it so, what were the historical reasons why the people felt so – stuff that only someone from that geography could have brought into the picture!

The second presentation was on RIM’s problems with the governments of several countries who wanted to access the people’s secure communication. The presentation itself was good. But then, there was a woman who had been present at the meetings in RIM, where the strategy for handling these problems had been decided. She told us about what the RIM people had been thinking, when they made those decisions, and how they panned out over time.

The third presentation (on Columbian coffee plantations and Starbucks) was similar – a good presentation followed by amazing questions and insightful answers.

And then, the fun started.

I had noticed the Italian flag, the pizzas and the Ducati in the lobby and had figured out that they were celebrating “Italian week”. And when we had come nearer, the guy manning the booth (in white shirt and black trousers) had quickly put on his sunglasses and sat with his arms folded. But even that had not prepared me for this.

“This” being a bunch of guys, all in white shirts, black trousers and sunglasses, blocking all the exits, putting on a video which explained that they were basically “Mafia” sent by the Italian PM to set up an INSEAD in Italy, dancing a choreographed “We don’t speak no Americano” in the middle of the amphitheatre, and then announcing the Italian party later that night, and then throwing italian candy around the room. Lots of it.

Definitely the most awesome fun I have ever had in any MBA school!