Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Afternoon in Monte Carlo, Monaco

On our pre-INSEAD trip this summer to Nice, we took a day trip down the coast to Monaco for a long afternoon. You can easily take the bus from Nice to Monte Carlo and the ride is quite breathtaking as you travel along the winding coastline.

Upon arrival, we walked up to the Prince's Palace and enjoyed some amazing views of Monaco. I mean, can you imagine owning a yacht here? It seems like every building has an ocean view.

Monaco felt more like a quaint tourist town than its own country. We walked around just exploring the streets and and enjoying the views. My friend Liz had her "real" camera (as opposed to my usual iPhone pictures) and took some great candid shots of Neena and I.

We then proceeded to walk around Port Hercule and enjoy the market along the water. We dreamed about getting on one of those yachts! Maybe when we get jobs after business school?

And finally, you can't visit Monaco without seeing the famous Monte Carlo Casino. While we couldn't go inside, we did explore some of the nearby (less fancy) casinos and eventually decided that it wasn't worth gambling our tuition money and settled for lunch at an outdoor cafe instead.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chateau Life

Last week I posted about my first month at INSEAD and wanted to follow up with a little about my awesome home at the Chateau de Tavers. I could have lived in an apartment close to campus but opted to try something a little different instead. When else would I have the chance to live in a chateau in the countryside in France?

Tavers takes up it's own block of land on the banks of the Seine River, which I can see from my room. We have charming common areas, my favorite being the library with a fireplace and piano. One of my roommates serenades us in the evenings.

We have weekly dinners where our "house mom" Paula cooks for us and our guests. There's lots of wine and cheese, as you can imagine. And a little different from running along the lake in Chicago, but there is a pretty good path along the Seine! If only I had time to run more.

Finally, let's not forget the parties! The whole campus gets bussed over to our epic parties. These pics are from the first one during welcome week. The whole group is below, I love these guys!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First month at INSEAD

Two months ago I got on a one-way flight from Chicago and traveled around Europe a bit (read posts on Slovakia, Vienna, and Nice) before starting business school at INSEAD in the lovely Fontainebleau, France (pictured above). I have to admit that the last month has been pretty intense, not just with classes but also with meeting people, traveling, and starting the career search. I haven't had much time to update you all so here's a recap!

There are currently seven (six on the Fontainebleau campus) Purdue alums at INSEAD! We got together for the picture above to show our Boilermaker pride. It's nice to have a piece of home in this very diverse community. There is no dominant nationality but it seems like we all have the same mentality and because of that, I've already found so many close friends. We've all had many different experiences around the world and it's easy to find things in common with other people, be it dual-citizenship or the desire to become an entrepreneur. Read my post on the INSEAD MBA Experience blog about this!

Besides the traveling, partying, and meeting amazing people, there's also the whole education thing. Because INSEAD is a 10-month program (compared to 2-year business schools in the U.S.), the course load has been quite intense and it is difficult to prioritize. The good thing is that I think that Purdue engineering prepared me pretty well for intense classes and grading on a curve. The most difficult part here for me is that I don't have a business or finance background, whereas many of my classmates do. So the classes are review for them while it's the first time I've seen the material in class or at work. 

We are grouped into teams for the first four months of classes and my team (below) is pretty awesome. We are all different in culture and work experience which makes us have a great mix of ideas. I've already learned so much from working with them and trying to function as a team. Although much of the class material is still based on U.S. companies and business practices, I've learned much more from the experiences of my international classmates, which I wouldn't get as much from a U.S. business school.

The first month at INSEAD has been awesome, here's to nine more!