Monday, August 6, 2007

Preparation to INSEAD

I was admitted to INSEAD in May, and it's been a couple of crazy month since. There were a lot of things to arrange. Here is the list.

Accept INSEAD's Offer and pay the deposit of 4500 euros (they accept cheques and bank transfers).

Login to NetVestibule – Upload a picture, update my profile, and read all the guides.

Arrange a loan (if you need one) - There is a special loan for Israeli students through Bank Leumi, but the interest is a bit high. Some French banks offer loans for aroung 3% interest rates, but only if you have French underwriters. Check out INSEAD website for more details.

Make the second tuition payment – 29000 euros.

Rent an apartment - There were three sources of information that I used for this:, and NetVestibue Message Board. Bonapart is a website intended to rent a place near INSEAD (in the surrounding villages mostly) by contacting the landlords directly by email. City-junction is an agency which offers some apartments in Fonty (mostly) for a special fee. In NetVistibule Message Board you can contact students from last year who recommend on apartments. Some people flew to Fonty to check the place out, and rented the apartment there - It is a bit costy approach, but safer for sure.

Rent/Buy/Lease a car – I used leasing (there is a tax reduction for students), and it costs 4000-6500 euros for the year. In this option you can get a new car with insurance and garage services for an ok price. You can have diesel and automatic Citroen C3 for 4000 euros. The other option is to buy a used car from one of the students (check out NV Message Board). This option is much cheaper, but you get a used car with potential problems.

Career Leader test – one month before the studies begin you take this computerized test. It should take a couple of hours to fill this (somewhat annoying) questionnaire.

Learn a third language – I chose to study Spanish (because it is easier then French). It is best to study a bit before the school and by that maybe to reduce some of pressure during school. Some students come one week ahead of time and take a full week's course in the third language, and need to take only 2 semesters.

Order the preliminary reading books – I asked alumni and they said it is not worth it. Everything will be covered during term. So I chose not to order them (I will let you know if this was a smart choice).

Pay and come to the Preliminary Week - I asked alumni and they said that for my background (engineering) it would be a waste of time and money. So I passed.

Get health insurance – There is couple of options (through French agencies, and Israeli ones). I chose "Harel" insurance – an Israeli standard insurance for those who live aboad.

Issue a student Visa – for you and your partner.

Order a flight to France – if you need a specific date I suggest you do it well in advance. An open ticket for a year cost me around 560$. If you are flexible you might want to wait for the last minute when you can perhaps get a cheap one-way ticket for around 200$.

Buy a Laptop - this is a must for an MBA student (or so they say). It should cost you 1000-1500$ .

Buy a suit - you will need it for events and job interviews. I bought a nice one in Zara.

Deliver your stuff to France - There are several ways to do it (by air or by sea). You can only carry to the flight 20Kg each (+5Kg handbag). This is obviousely not enough, and overweight is overpriced, so you will have to send your stuff through a mail service. I found EMS, the Israeli Post Office service, very cheap (55$ for 20Kg box, and delivery is in 2-3 business days) - so this is what I will use. In addition I had to buy some suitcases.

Open a bank account in France - You can do it in advance. Simply email the bank with the request, and send a copy of the passport and the attestation form of INSEAD (that can be printed) . This can be done also in France.

Issue an international driving licence - Just in case.

Meet your fellow MBA students - It is nice to know who comes with you to study (and speaks your language). Also, everybody does things a little differently and you might even save time and money by following other's advice.

Disconnect from cable TV, internet, newspapaer and other liabilities.

If I remember something else I will add it here.

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