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Departure day

Dec-28th 2009: So I am sitting here in the boarding area of Munich Airport, ready for a 15 hour trip to Singapore with a stop over Paris. All that goodbye-saying of the past weeks is accomplished, most of mom’s wonderful Christmas cookies are eaten, all the best wishes and some clearly jealous remarks were happily accepted with a wide grin in my face and now I am ready to go. The 20 kilo weight limit was challenging indeed, because the next months will be as diverse as my apparel: Business attire for formal receptions, dinners and meetings with external speakers. “Smart casual” outfits for average school days and of course casual/outdoors/trekking outfit for exciting weekend getaways some where in South-East Asia. Everyone so far warned me about Air France, but this check-in lady was nice and ignored my 3 kilos overweight with a smile – maybe she saw the sparks of excitement in my eyes. Well, it might also be the fact that I looked quite exhausted after my 2 hours run this afternoon. I have made it a good habit to run a longer distance before long-haul flights because it helps me sleep and my legs can rather accomodate to sit for many hours.

Without ever having visited the school or met most of my future peers, vivid online conversations (internal bulletin boards, facebook groups) have already created some first-hand impressions. First, INSEAD seems to me like a well-lubricated and good-working big machine, processing those 500 students in my intake without any major flaws. One of my previous concerns was that a mass-institution will be of disadvantage, but so far I am positively impressed. Well-designed online resources and responsive & smart staff were a very pleasant surprise. In that matter, INSEAD is clearly the most professional school that I have dealt with. My crowd is also very active, looking at those hundreds of emails & discussion threads. Some people are doing a great job in researching the next year and helping others. I contributed some Google Spreadsheets for contacts and apartment sharing and people accepted it right away and adapted it to their specific needs – web 2.0, here we go. Even before we wear the official INSEAD name tag, people are clearly self-organizing, take initiative and team up for such tasks as visa applications, apartment hunt, building study-groups for the language requirements and of course organizing first get-togethers and trips. Maybe I am over-enthusiastic or just slept over , but it’s a good way to set a benchmark for everything that’s coming over the next months.

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The road towards bschool admission is long and tedious. During my application preparation, I did a LOT of online research throughout all stages of application: Bschool market analysis, GMAT, essays, interviews, admission confirmation. For all these purposes, I found many websites helpful that I would like to share in this post:

Rankings are neither the single source of all wisdom nor should they be used as the only criterion for school selection. They do provide though a good overview of the bschool market and definitely helped me to create a long-list of interesting schools.

The GMAT is one of the first hurdles to pass. GMAT preparation forums are a good way to get in touch with peers and ask questions. Oh, and reading posts from crazy guys doing their GMAT for the fifth time in a row definitely helps to get motivated.

Maybe everyone starts off sort of clueless with all these essay questions. Well, I did. Some sites out there give some good advice on how to write meaningful essays. They contain lots of info about essay questions, interviews logs with adcoms, sample essays, etc.

General discussion forums are out there to answer all remaining questions. People share their stats, discuss about school pros & cons, share interview preparation tips, etc. Of course, there’s also a lot of spamming, but underneath a big pile of exhibitionism and image complexes, one can often find sparks of good information. Besides, if it’s not valuable, it’s entertaining!

To all readers who are working on their application and stumbled upon this post: Hope this helps you just as much as other blogs helped me. Good luck.

Hello world!

Welcome dear reader! I am a prospective MBA student at INSEAD and my journey is about to kick off in Singapore January 2010. My professional background is IT Consulting in the German speaking area and I am looking forward to a year that broadens my mind in every possible dimension. Can’t wait to get out there and see the world! I want to share in this blog a glimpse on my student life, stuff that I do, places that I see and of course all kinds of general thoughts. No need for being narcist or exhibitionist, but I feel it can be interesting and beneficial for a lot of people, so why not share? If that sounds interesting to you, stay tuned and follow me …