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Fridays from the Frontline: A Day in the Life of an INSEAD MBA Student

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INSEAD is definitely riding high these days, having topped the Financial Times’ annual ranking of leading global MBA programs for the second year running. Calling itself “the business school for the world,” it features campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi and more than 90 nationalities represented in its student body. Students complete an accelerated 10-month program, which has helped the school rank especially high in terms of return on investment, since both tuition and the opportunity cost of being out of the workforce is lower for INSEAD students than those in two-year MBA programs.

What’s it actually like to be a student at INSEAD? A recent post on the school’s student blog sheds some light on this question. Chenting Zou, who will complete her MBA in December 2017, is a native of China but has spent most of her life in the United Kingdom. Before coming to INSEAD, she spent four years working in the healthcare sector, most recently at a mobile health app that delivers online doctor consultations. Read on to follow Zou through a recent day at INSEAD from start to finish. As Zou herself stresses, her routine is not representative of all INSEAD students, but it nonetheless provides an inside look at daily life that could be valuable for those considering its MBA program. Our thanks to INSEAD and Zou for agreeing to let us share the post with Clear Admit’s audience.

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the “INSEAD Student Experience” blog.

A Day in the Life of an INSEAD MBA Student

by Chenting Zou

As the end of P1 is nigh, I thought it’s about time I start recording my INSEAD experience. Overall, this first term has been chaotic, thrilling, perplexing, and a lot of fun. I suppose it was €14,700 well spent.

INSEAD MBA student
Chenting Zou, INSEAD MBA ’17D

Inspired by a recent company presentation called, “Day in the life of [prestigious consulting firm] employee,” I had the urge to capture a snapshot of a recent (and typical) day in P1. Before I applied to INSEAD, I didn’t know much about what I would do on a day-to-day basis, so I hope this is useful for people who are thinking about coming here and those who have been admitted but aren’t yet quite sure what a daily MBA life entails.

[Please note that this is only my daily routine, which is certainly not representative of all INSEAD students.]

7:30 a.m. – Wake up and leave for campus within 20 mins. I chose to rent a studio that’s halfway between the train station and INSEAD, so it’s a zombie-like 30 minute walk every morning.

8:20 a.m. – Arrive on campus, rush to get a cup of free coffee at Freddy’s bar. Down one cup, and fill it up again for the lecture.

8:30 a.m. – First lecture of the day was Prices and Markets. After discussing microeconomic theory about pricing pharmaceutical drugs, the whole class plays a game theory exercise.

10:00 a.m. – Play a quick game of Foosball in Freddy’s. Get another coffee in the 15 minute break before the next lecture.

10:15 a.m. – Financial Markets Valuation class. My favourite

12:00 p.m. – Skip the optional Uncertainty, Data, and Judgment tutorial for a presentation on Amazon job interviews.

1 p.m. – Speedy lunch with section-mates. We chat about last night’s Robin Hood Valentine’s auction, and the various students and staff who were “sold” for charity.

2 p.m. – Coffee chat with fellow 17D’s and a 17J about his pre-INSEAD consulting job.

3 p.m. – Waste two hours walking to the bank in Fontainebleau centre and trying to explain for the third time that my bank card has still not arrived. Nothing :/

6 p.m. – Work on a group assignment with my five group mates. We’re getting better at splitting the questions so this one took much less time than the previous assignments.

7:30 p.m. – Enjoy the tapas, sangria and live music at Freddy’s as part of Iberian week.

10 p.m. – Get home and catch up on emails.

Receive email reminder about the P2 Managerial Accounting exemption exam.  After spending the next hour reading through textbook chapter summaries, I come to the realisation that spending four hours trying to cram the content for an exam I had a low chance of passing wasn’t worth it. Decide to prepare on imminent summer internship job interview instead.

Receive email about the upcoming bidding process for campus exchange. Mild panic. Book appointment with career coach to figure out my employability in Asia.

12 a.m. – Skype a friend from London and we arrange a trip to Lisbon, along with other INSEAD-ers, between P1 and P2.

1 a.m. – Collapse in bed.

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