Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thoughts about the MBA Program of INSEAD


"Don't obssess with the grades", told us Dean Fatas last week in the introduction meeting. He said that we all passed the "applications test", so we don't need to worry so much about the tests in INSEAD. This is the moto of the school - grades are not important, and that is why a Z-score policy is apply (the grades are completely relative, in normal distribution). The dean told us that everyone would get good grades and bad grades, simply because no-one is the best in every course. One course you are up, and the other you are down, and that is completely normal (just make sure not to be in the bottom for every course). By the way, the grades are confidential and we are not allowed to reveal them on-campus-recruitment. Some students make it to the dean's list.

This, and the open-door policy at INSEAD, is well reflected in most of the courses. The professors demand highly of us - we can't be late (and we often start at 8:30 - traffic can be really annoying near the obelisque in that hours), we must prepare ourselves before each class (and there is simply no time between classes to prepare), and we can't miss any lecture (this may result in a failing grade). For example, we have a professor that don't let people in if they are late - he starts talking, and 10 seconds afterwards people try to enter, he says to them: "You are late, you have to leave", and that is it! Someone calculated that one lecture cost us something like 150$ (pretty big loss).

However, the attitude is very friendly. We call the professors by their first names, we can come to them with any questions and problems, and some of them are really entertaining and encouraging.

In the first semester we study finance, economics, accounting, statistics and leadership. The first 4 I already encountered at some level during my first degree, but the last one is really new and fun - we watch movies in class, play card games and other fun activities with the purpose of allowing us to figure out what leadership is all about.

The more analytical courses are not that hard. The economics is taught really slowly. The finance we should learn from the book (because it is taught quite dryly). The statistics is quite entertaining (and the math is not hard - it was much harder in Advanced Probability at the Technion). Financial Accounting (not the most interesting subject to say the lease) is actually taught very thoroughly and the professor keeps us occupied and "cold-calls" us - quite bizarre that this way the course is actually digestible.

There is a lot of stuff to read between the classes, and my group found it best to solve exercises together (I like it). You don't have time to breathe (hence why I did not post much lately), but you can figure out what is important from the rest. The thing is that you must prepare for the class BEFORE it actually happens, because the professor might pick on you. Like in first grade, everybody must sit in the same location in all classes (of course I was selected to sit in the front row), and we need to put a sign with our names before us.

As a December 07 student told me: The life at INSEAD is spread across four axes: Academic, Social, Career, and Clubs. You can put the weight only in academics, but you may choose to spread your time in all of those four axes, and might even benefit from it. This is an advice that I intend to keep in mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I really appreciate your blog entries. It gives me a good overview about the MBA activities at INSEAD. Keep posting and good luck for the rest.