Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bushed, Beat, and Broke

I'm so tired. I'm so tired from reading. There's so much to prepare before a class, and it really frustrates me no end that some folks DO NOT actually prepare their work and can breeze through class. Its so not me: back in the great NU of S, I've never read my textbooks, worked on my tutorials, nor even folded the pages of my notes (you know, like when they're stapled in the corner and you flip the first page over?). In the INS of EAD, I'm suddenly a superman - reading, digesting, working, spreadsheeting away... till the wee hours of the morning at times.

I'm beat.

To give you an idea of a typical week (not that there is one anyhow - each week is an entire adventure!), here's my Outlook calendar:

timetable 23-27 Jan

Click on the image to view the fine print.

Confused? Let me explain what some of the items mean.

French class means French class (Voulez vous couche avec moi, c'est soir?). So far, I haven't learnt much French. The teacher hasn't done a good job of livening the class up and the French lessons I did about a year ago didn't help a bit. The whole experience feels like being a plush toy - someone squeezes you and so you make a noise. Whether or not that noise sounds intelligible doesn't matter. As long as phonetically, you make a noise akin to 'something frenchy'. Looking forward to the next boring lesson - let's hope things liven up a bit.

The blocks that start with Career Svcs refer to activities organised by Career Management Services (CMS). Things at INSEAD happen on mainly 3 fronts: the academic aspect, the social aspect, and the career aspect. CMS organises events to cater to the career aspect of the MBA student: this means getting companies to come recruit on campus, workshops to brush up interviewing skills, info sessions on various after-MBA careers and the like. For some of the MBAs, I know this is one of the reasons why they come to a premier business school: that after-school thingy.

There were a couple of items that started with the word 'Brazilian'. Those events refer to the current National Week event. Here's another lengthy FAQ: National Week is some INSEAD tradition whereby a country's students will organise activities throughout the designated week to showcase the culture, food and general gaiety of their country. Brazilian Week played host to meaty Brazilian dishes, a dance workshop for a uniquely Brazilian martial art Capoiera, a visit by the diplomats from the Brazilian embassy (well, you never get enough visitors it appears) and movie screenings of popular fare such as City of God.

The stuff that sound really academic are the courses themselves. For the nerdy folks, this IS INSEAD. For most of us though, these are the pain-in-the-ass lessons that we have to sit through to get that brand / badge / accolade (actual phrasing depends on your point of view). However, business school is already taxing enough without imposing the additional burden of boring lessons, so most professors try to liven things up a bit. The stats lecturer (the course is, bombastically, titled 'Uncertainty, Data and Judgement') makes lessons somewhat fun by betting with us. The problem though is that he knows the real odds, while we tended to perceive our odds to be better. Try this at a party next time: In a room of 50 people, bet that there are at least 2 people with the same birthday, and dare anyone to counter. The odds? 0.97 in your favour.

Sighs - in the time I took to wrote this post, I could have done the readings for tomorrow's class. Guess it's back to burrowing in my notes again.

P.S.: Keep the comments coming! It's great to know people are reading my ramblings. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006


There is this big secret about the INSEAD experience that I so want to blog about... but I can't. The title is the biggest clue I can let out about what has happened over the past week or so - beyond that, little else can be said. Sighs - it would have made a great entry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Some Learning Experience

I've learnt recently that if it's square, it's a cushion. If it's rectangular, it's most likely a pillow. If it's too rectangular (like too long on the long side, and too short on the short side), and it's kind of small, it's a cushion, the long and huggable kind. If its cylindrical, its a bolster (no brainer, that one). And if its big and square, its still a cushion. If it has leather or suede, doesn't matter if it's square or rectangular, it's a cushion. Pillows aren't cushions, and the same applies the other way around. You may hug bolsters, pillows and cushions, but you may not place your head to sleep on a cushion (not unless you're unlucky enough to get the couch).

I've also learnt recently that regular hunky Europeans feel no shame carrying a foldable umbrella. You know - the kind that my mum stuffs into her handbag, with telescopic extenders that snaps together when you pull it out (it's kind of like having an erection: you yank at the bulky part of the brolly, where the 'skin' flaps over itself, stretching it out; and when you're done, it has grown to an unnaturally bigger size).

Apparently, the foldable little umbrella counts as a 'functional' thing, and not a fashion accessory. And when I show up with my golf umbrella feeling like Anakin Skywalker with a vengeance, I'm apparently faced with a 'problem' of where to stash the umbrella (eh... under the seat?). Still, you can't wield those auntie brollies like my golf umbrella (Take that you little phallic underachiever!).

Another thing that I've learnt recently is that John Nash is right. Well, at least the John Nash as played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. John Nash (of the movie) had this flash of an inspiration when he saw all the guys at a bar instinctively drawn to the hot blonde. Unfortunately, when all the guys go for the blonde, they 'cancel' out each other, and none of them ends up with the blonde. Also, it was then not good settling for the brunettes, cos they don't want to be second choice.

The same thing happens when you have too many guys in a course, and too few girls (3:1). The hot gal (a Chinese babe with that Girl-Next-Door-bring-home-to-mum face) had so many guys hitting on her that she's going to have a real good year ahead (as in many guys doing real nice things to her, and not the tyre).

Hmm... and what was I supposed to be learning at INSEAD? I forgot - the 3 lessons above have been too much more fun. :)