Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The days you wonder if the MBA was worth it..

This past weekend, we were travelling in Athens with my other classmates, since we didn't have class on Friday. While in Athens, we were trying to use our student status as much as possible, including getting tickets to the Parthenon, which is EUR6 for students in the EU, or EUR12 for everybody else.

Unfortunately, some of us (including myself) didn't have our INSEAD ID cards with us, but we had our business cards and passports. The following conversation took place between my friend and the guy at the ticket office

Friend: We're students at INSEAD in France, we don't have our student cards, but we have cards from the school

Ticket Officer: "Where does it say that you're a student?"

Friend: "The name of the school, INSEAD is on the back. On the front, it says MBA Candidate, that's what we're studying for"

Ticket Officer: "
What is this MBA? This means nothing to me"

We all had a great laugh out of that one... As you can imagine, we didn't get the student discount.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Two new galleries posted

Life at INSEAD Singapore, including pictures of the campus and my little apartment, and pictures from a recent weekend whirlwind tour of Netherlands and Belgium.. It was wierd being in a hostel again, but I can't argue for 15EUR per night!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Life in France...

It's been two weeks now since I've moved to INSEAD Fontainebleau, and it's been a 180 degree change from living in Singapore. Good part is the weather is nice, bad part is that nothing is nearly as efficient, and things are a lot more expensive.

My roommate and I nearly had our first disaster within the first week. We have a car that we're using from the student that we swapped apartments with. After class, we wanted to go back home, and I needed to email an assignment out at 7pm. Around 5:30pm, we go back to the car, and for some reason, the key doesn't even turn! Checked all the normal things, battery seemed OK, etc, so we decided to get some help. I was starting to panic, because it was close to 6pm, and I hadn't done my reading required for the assigment due at 7pm.

When we went for help - the secretary was not exactly helpful. She said she couldn't help us call the service line (we were looking for a French speaker), and referred us to some other staff. We went to the other staff, and she said it's not her responsibility either. Luckily, we found somebody else in another office that was much more willing to help. She calls up the service line, asks a bunch of questions, then the technician asked "did you turn the steering wheel?" - then she realizes that we made a simple mistake.

There's a steering wheel key lock!!! I've NEVER heard of this before. Granted, I have a French Citroen, so everything is kinda weird. With this lock, you have to turn the wheel and the key at the same time. I guess it's to prevent kids from starting the car, but it's wierd that it only disables the key sometimes - defeating the purpose of being a safety lock. Ever since that day, I"ve noticed it 'locking' the key only once. (We drive 2x per day). How frustrating - and a nice start to my time here.

Otherwise, it's been nice, each campus has its own student culture, and it's interesting to see the differences. We live in a little old village called Bourron-Marlotte, complete with small streets, gray-stone cottages, etc. It's kinda cute - very quiet, and reminds me of Wooster on the weekends. More photos to come later..

Photo of the Chateau de Fontainebleau via Wikipedia