Meet Philippe. A current student at INSEAD Business School, who is in his 1st year of studies for his Masters in Business Administration (MBA). And he is a full-time international student from Switzerland.
1. What school do you study in?
INSEAD Business School
2. Do you/others have a nickname for the school?
Not for the school itself but we call the France campus Fonty and the Singapore campus Singy.
3. Why did you choose this school?
I like that it’s a 1-year program that’s international, the two campuses were attractive to me and the school has a good academic reputation.
4. What is a scene that you often see in the school?
It’s not so much a scene but an observation. That the program is intense at the beginning and students are usually diligent then. However, as the program goes forward, there will be fewer classes, and students will be done with recruiting so the partying becomes more frequent.
5. What is one thing that you wish you knew before enrollment?
To know that the learning here comes from not just the professors in terms of academics but also from the people around you.
6. Your school is great, but if you could change one thing, what would it be?
I hope there could be a stronger representation of other industries besides consulting.
7. And if there’s one thing you’d never change?
Its international identity and its mission to serve society through business especially in the times we live in. And I wouldn’t change the fact that everyone is a minority here, there’s not one nation that is overly represented.
8. The unofficial uniform of your school is?
None, although people who started from the Singapore campus usually dress more casually as compared to those who started from the France campus.
9. When you meet a new friend for the first time and you have to describe your school with one word, what would it be?
10. What is one place in the school that you are proud of?
For the Singy campus, it’s the area with the pond and the bar. In the Fonty campus, I would say it’s the Freddie’s bar.
11. If you could swap programs for a day, what would it be?
We only have business programs here.
12. What is a common myth of your school?
That it’s a business school like any other business schools in the United States but fundamentally it’s a different experience.
13. If you ever had to stay in school past 9pm, what would it be because?
14. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in the school?
15. What is your one guilty pleasure you indulge in in school?
They sell cookies at the bar at $1, and I get it at least once a day.
16. If you were given $5 million dollars to revamp the school, what would you do with it?
I would fund some departments that work on specific topics that might be underserved. Invest more into entrepreneurship department. Create venture competition where you can get funding from the school. Create more spaces for students to stay on campus after classes as the fact that it’s relatively restrained in size and warm outside means that students often head home or to town instead of staying on campus.
17. In between classes, where can we find you?
Library or gym in the residences building/ bar.
18. What is the best place to be as one with your laptop and lecture recordings?
Breakout room (BOR) or at the library.
19. In the occasion that the school has to downsize till only ONE food place remains, what will it be?
20. For free electricity in the school, where would you go to?
21. What program are you in?
Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
22. Is this related to your dream job?
Yes, it’s an additional tool kit towards engaging jobs that I would like to do in future. But not only that, the skills we learn now will be relevant even 10-15 years from.
23. Do you know the actual value of your degree?
A little more than $80K Euros.
24. Do you think a degree in your course is cost efficient in terms of the quality of education you are receiving versus what you are paying?
When you think of what you’re receiving, it’s not just the classes or the education or the value of the degree but it’s also a lifetime of connections, network and friendships. I think it’s worth it in terms of experience. Academics wise by virtue of the evolution in learning and how easy it is to access knowledge through advanced technology, I would say not so.
25. In your opinion, how much should a degree in your program cost?
I would have to consider the running cost, what it takes to attract top talents, what the school needs to do to stay relevant before coming to a conclusion but for now I would say leave the price as it is.
26. What is the most unforgettable module you have taken?
AI Strategy for Start-ups. (At Singy Campus)
Your first 100 days (YFCD) – Which is about turning around the company to restore growth. It’s a simulation based on a real company. (Fonty Campus)
27. If you could be exempted from any module in your program, what would it be?
Financial Accounting – It’s a necessary class but it’s difficult to make a topic like that exciting.
28.What advice would you give to future students about module selection and planning?
For the first 4 months, you don’t get to choose, it’s a common base of classes (core courses). After that, I would say pick classes based on interest, career aspiration and relevance of the teaching in the context of today’s business environment. I wouldn’t look too much at timing of class because the year should be about exploring interest and simulating curiosity.
29. If you had to choose one, would you advise a Singapore Junior College (JC) or Polytechnic (poly) student to join your program?
30. In what scenarios will any student be exempted from any modules?
31. Theory vs. Practical. In what ratio would you say your program content is?
4:6 (Even for the very theoretical classes like statistics, the professors tries to anchor the topic into real life situations and business dilemmas that happened so there’s practicality involved as well.)
32. On a scale of 1 – 10, how employable do you think students from your program are?
33. Name 3 job fields people from your program go into.
Leadership training in corporate world
34. Favorite Professor?
Professor Massimo Massa who is an Italian professor based in Singapore who teaches corporate finance and he is very experienced and a reference in his field.
35. What is one thing that most people don’t know about your program?
That it’s a people driven institution. Human interactions is at the core of everything that INSEAD does, be it class setting to encounters beyond academics and friendships.
36. Ideal tutorial class size versus reality?
37. Given a chance to go on exchange, which country would you choose?
Our programme has an embedded exchange opportunity and we can choose to exchange at United States (Kellogg at Northwestern University or Wharton at Philadelphia) or China. If I had to pick, I would probably pick to exchange in China.
38. Common exam formats include:
Mostly it’s group write-ups of case study.
39. Outside of the curriculum, do you have any other commitments in school?
I take part in rugby and the Indevor Club, which is a social impact club that organises treks, company visits and conferences.
40. Would you say that it is difficult to manage both studies and other school activities?
No. You just have to allocate your time accordingly.
41. In your opinion, are there enough clubs & societies in school for students to choose from?
Yes. We have many opportunities to take part in student groups and associations but these are usually centred around common interest or industrial business interest. E.g. Industrial Banking Club, Women in Business club etc. There are also sports club, and rugby for example is popular and successful.
42. How do you think an Extra-Curriculum Activity add value to a student's overall experience?
It adds to the whole experience of this year. Like I said, the learning comes from these peripheral activities as much as from classes.
43. The most memorable school event that you have attended would be:
A reunion event for the 5thand 10th year classes, held at the Château de Fontainebleau. It was impressive to see people who have been part of INSEAD from earlier times, to see them share strong bonds of friendships. In addition, it was in a historically charged and beautiful setting,
44. If you had to pay to NOT attend a particular event in school, what will it be?
There were some events that of course weren’t as fruitful as I would have expected but so far none of it is so drastic that I would pay to not attend.
45. Is the school doing enough to engage students?
Yes, the school is very aware of how central the student experiences is to sustainability of business schools so they regularly ask for feedbacks via questionnaires and surveys. We also have to assess classes and rate professors, give suggestions so there’s no doubt that school is receptive to our feedbacks. In addition, even the high-ranking academics like the dean organizes bi-monthly forums where students can ask questions and debate so I think it’s really commendable.