Sunday, December 18, 2005

INSEAD gets a new Dean

December 16, 2005

Global Business Executive to Head Leading International School of Management

INSEAD has appointed J. Frank Brown as its next Dean. Brown, currently the Global Leader of Advisory Services for PricewaterhouseCoopers, will bring to INSEAD over 26 years of experience working in international markets, building leadership programs and heading client service-oriented businesses. Brown will serve as the school’s second American Dean since its creation 45 years ago, succeeding Gabriel Hawawini, the Dean since 2000. The appointment of an external business executive as Dean marks a major change for INSEAD which has traditionally filled the position internally, from its own faculty.

“Taking advantage of the worldwide market is no longer a luxury for companies, it is a necessity,” said Brown. “I have spent the better part of my career working with business units, colleagues and clients based in Europe, Asia and beyond, where the paradigms for doing business differ dramatically from one region to the next. INSEAD’s international perspective and multicultural environment is what first attracted me to become involved in the school. The fact that it has so fully and uniquely embraced the needs of a diverse and global marketplace is why I am so excited to be INSEAD’s next Dean.” Brown has been a part of the broader INSEAD community since 2000, serving most recently as a member of the INSEAD Board and as Chairman of the school’s U.S. Council. As Dean, he will be charged with leading an institution with a rapidly expanding global footprint. Under the tenure of Gabriel Hawawini, the school expanded beyond its European roots developing a comprehensive, fully connected campus in Asia in 2000. In addition to the dual-campus model, the school’s alliance with Wharton, formed in 2001, has enabled faculty to conduct research, and students to take courses, across three continents.

“Dean Hawawini made the concept of a business school for the world a reality,” continued Brown. “As Dean, I will continue to champion that vision and the unique value it provides to organisations that recognize the importance of developing the world’s next generation of leaders: skilled transcultural executives.”

Brown’s tenure as Dean will begin in July 2006. He retires at the end of June from PricewaterhouseCoopers where, during his 26 year career, he led the firm’s Assurance and Business Advisory Services, Transactions Services and Corporate Development practices. Most recently, he headed the firm’s $3.5 billion Advisory Services operating unit.

“We chose Frank Brown to lead INSEAD because he embodies the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of this school,” said Cees J.A. van Lede, Chairman, INSEAD Board of Directors. "Frank’s long career is indicative of someone willing to take risks and pioneer initiatives that span many geographies. His tenure at PricewaterhouseCoopers is also a testament to his fundamental belief in the value of developing the next generation of world business leaders. He will be a great advocate for our model, a critical bridge to the business community and, like Dean Hawawini, a strong visionary for our future.”

“INSEAD is the one true business school for the world,” said Gabriel Hawawini, Dean of INSEAD. "That belief is as much shaped by our student body and faculty as by our global locations. Our vision is a school with no dominant culture - where students and faculty contribute different perspectives to help shape the kind of dialogue sparked only by true diversity. Having worked with Frank over the last few years, I know that he will add yet another important perspective to that dialogue.”

Brown is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut State Societies of Certified Public Accountants. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New York and member of both the Iona College Board of Trustees and Bucknell University Business Advisory Board. Brown received his B.S.B.A. from Bucknell University and attended the Wharton Business School's Advanced Management Program.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Olay Daily Facial Cleansing Cloth

The first three exams are over. Thursday we started with Corporate Financial Policy with lots of questions about raising equity, share repurchases, convertible bonds and option pricing. I like theses topics and think I did pretty well in the exam.
That afternoon we had a 4 hour group exam in Organizational Behavior. Oh man, I was really not looking forward to that. In retrospect, it wasn't even that bad. Group work went fine (looks like we actually learnt something) and we delivered a pretty ok report. It's always a bit of a lottery when you get your grade back from courses like this, but I feel much better about it then in P1.
Yesterday: Marketing. I enjoyed the course and the cases, but the exam was a bit different. Not question like, but very much when it came to the topic. We had to write a marketing plan for Olay Daily Cleansing Cloth. You of course know that this products are dry textured, soap-free cloths that combine lathering cleansers and conditioners to remove dirt and makeup and at the same time exfoliate and smooth the skin's texture. Also, it was quite obvious that 28.4% uses toners or astringents in their total facial routine and that the overall fragrance and if lather rinses from the cloth easily are important features of these products. No idea what I'm talking about? You're not alone, so didn't 80% of the people that did the exam... After having done all kinds of cases about televisions, cars, camera's or cokes, this subject was kind of a surprise. You could hear the whole class thinking: "what the f*** is this case all about???". Anyway, it's sometimes a good thing that INSEAD uses the z-curve to grade. Talking about one hell of a lottery...

This is again a weekend full of studying. I was planning to start at about 10 this morning, but since I yesterday left the bar with more alcohol inside me and less cash on me than I had in mind at the beginning of the evening, I actually woke up at 1pm. That's a nice start. At about 2pm I staggered into INSEAD, had a liter of coffee and began studying my Strategy. I'm really wondering if I will make my exam the way it should (=the way it works in real life) or in the crappy, impractical, nonsense way the professor taught us. Do you hear the slightly cynical undertone there? Most courses at INSEAD really are excellent, but unfortunately you'll always have some exceptions. Since I actually happen to know what I'm talking about when it comes to strategy and I cannot control the urge to correct every error that I hear the professor making, I'll probably will get screwed over big time anyway. We'll see how this works out.
Good thing we also have some fun stuff going on. I just came back from a nice BBQ with about 100 other students. It was already some sort of goodbye party, as we will spread out over the world in the next 6 months; some go to Fonty for 1 or more periods, some do the exchange with Wharton (US) and some stay in Singapore. It's really strange when you think about it. One the one hand it feels like we just started, but on the other hand we already experienced so much that it feels like ages.

Anyway, since I didn't really do enough today, I'll have to get back to studying Process & Operations...

Monday, December 12, 2005

So simple even an MBA can do it

Still studying, so nothing really interesting happens all day. In order to post at least something, here's a link to a funny video about MBA's a fellow classmate sent me.

Another classmate also thinks studying all day is no fun, so this afternoon he sent out this email to all students:

Topic: ... to everyone in the library right now...

What about a communitarian break? …

…let’s awfully “break the rules” and let some music play in here for 5 minutes…

… in this sacred place of studying and meditation

… I can’t stand this silence any more ;-p

What do you think?
Who dares?




Bleh, my life is so boring at the moment, that they only way to post something about what's happening is to copy stuff from other people...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Break-Out Room (a.k.a. BOR)

It's weekend and very sunny outside. Still, INSEAD is packed with people studying for the exams next week. It's not the most fun way to spend your 'free' Saturday, but there's not much choice. So I decided to take a little break and share this with all you blog-readers. On the picture you see the break-out room where I'm currently working in. I took it with my phone, so I'm afraid it's not the best picture ever.

Ok, enough talk, back to work :(

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What a week!

It’s been a week since my last post and what a week this was! Extremely busy with all kind of stuff, both serious and fun. Since this will be a long post so I will put it in 3 parts:

1. Fun stuff
2. Serious stuff
3. More fun stuff (what I heard in class)

1. Fun stuff

Lots of activities. It all began last Thursday with a band formed by INSEAD students: “Sing ‘n Pour”. They arranged a performance in a bar downtown. About 100 students showed up, making a bar a crowded, damp, but oh so good place to be. The band played about 15 songs and did a very good job. A few of the highlights: Hey Jude (everybody singing along) and Smells Like Teen Spirit (the crowd went nuts). The owner of the bar stopped by and sent a message to the band leader the next day. His exact words: "When I looked around and saw the crowd going nuts, I remember why it was that I wanted to be in this business; absolutely amazing!" The fact that the liquor consumption was probably at an all time high at that bar, might had something to do with it as well :) And yes, it was on a Thursday so we had class the next morning at 8.30. It was not a pretty sight, and then I don’t even mention the smell…

Next event: Sinterklaas! The Dutch (including me as I am also from the flattest country in the world) organized a traditional festivity on Friday after class. Once a year Sinterklaas (comparable to Santa Claus) to The Netherlands with his assistants, Black Petes, to give presents to the children. It’s a bit of a long story to really explain how this works in Holland, but anyway, it was a lot of fun. All students could ‘put their shoe’ the evening before and they received a nice present from the Sint. For the day itself Sinterklaas and 3 Black Petes showed up to reward the good students and punish the bad. We prepared a presentation about 16 people that had to come to the Sint to explain why they did what they did. Fun stuff and we had some good reviews about it as well.

This week: the German/Swiss week. Each couple of weeks the students one or two countries organize a whole week with all kinds of traditional activities. Some examples of those activities: Monday was the Swiss cheese night (cheese fondue), yesterday there were 2 movies, tomorrow there is beer tasting, and this Friday will be the final party with free and unlimited German beer. As can be expected, the whole week is organized very well.

I’ll try to post some pictures about these events soon.

2. Serious stuff

Exams will start in 8 days and we definitely feel it. Everyone is working their butt off and you can see people looking like zombies all over the place. To make it even worse, last week was also the deadline for a number of group assignments. Working in a team should be more efficient that doing things on your own, but it practice it usually is a big, tiresome struggle. The next week will certainly only be worse when it comes to workload. The INSEAD library will be packed at 11pm each night. That’s what you get when you put a two-year program in just one year.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel: after the exams we will have our first real break (two and a half week!) and I’m sure ready for one. After that: Fonty!

And now, the periodically ranking of classes.
1. Management Accounting (amazing prof and interesting, practical topics)
2. Finance (remember the comments of the finance prof of the first part of the course?)
3. Marketing (lot’s of funny commercials)
4. Process and Operations Management (the best of the ‘not so good’)
5. Organizational Behavior (do I actually learn anything here?)
6. Strategy (I strongly disagree with the concepts discussed and the way the course is taught. The prof is fully aware of that, so I guess I can kiss my class participation grade goodbye on this one)

3. More fun stuff (what I heard in class)

Management Accounting 1
Prof: “You just answered the question I was going to ask? How did you read my mind? Well, I guess that is outside the scope of this course…”

Management Accounting 2
Prof: “In competitive markets you are automatically protected to extreme stupidity in pricing issues.”

Process and Operations Management (POM)
Students are talking in class when prof wants to say something. Some other students make the ‘Shhhhh’ sound.
Prof: “I can yell even louder, don’t worry”

Organizational Behavior
Prof: “If you can’t here me, that’s probably because you all went deaf again after your POM class”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Welcome to INSEAD 'Le Optimiste'!

One of the long-time readers of this blog is going to INSEAD as well. A very good choice I must say. Welcome 'Le Optimiste'!!!

Check out his blog at:

Monday, November 28, 2005

Winter Ball in hot Singapore

Semi-annually, each campus organizes a major party (ball). Despite the lack of winter in Singapore, this ball was named 'The Winter Ball' as it is the season for cold weather on the other side of the globe (like Fonty). About 300-350 people (students, alumni, faculty and staff) put themselves in their best suit or tuxedo (dress for women of course) and headed for the most luxurious hotel in Singapore: The Fullerton. And I can tell you something: it was one hell of a party!

Free champagne (or other drink) all evening sure has it's effect. When we were all ready for dinner, there were some people around that might have had enough to drink already. Some short speeches during dinner (Accounting prof:"Good stuff", P&M prof:"I'll take care of the jackets tonight", Dean:"So where's that winter anyway?", P5 student:"I feel all emotional now"), some crazy slideshows and it was time to hit the dance floor. In no-time the floor was packed by a huge mob of party-people. Ties came of, shirts were unbuttoned and we were ready to roll. Nobody really seems to remember when and how the party ended, so it must have been good :)

Thanks a lot to all of you who made this great and memorable (at least parts of it) event possible! I can't wait till the Summer Ball in Fonty in half a year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Some more facts

Some quick answers to the questions in the comment to my last post.

Q: How;s the M:F ratio in Singapore? If you can't generalise, then your batch? What would you say about the diversity of the people in Singapore vs. Fonty?

The people in Singapore and Fonty are the same. There are two campusses, but since almost everyone travels between them it is essentialy only one group of students. The diversity among them is huge. The students in our current intake of 450 come from 71 nationalities. Futhermore, there is no dominant nationality in the program. From the top of my head: I think the largest group are the Indians with about 13% of total, followed by the French with about 10%. This diversity in people is the same in Fonty as in Singapore (by the way, it is also not true that there are relatively more people from Asian countries in Singapore than in Fonty).
As for the M:F ratio, the student body normally consists for about 20-25% of female students. This is somewhat lower than most of the US schools (they have about 30%). The probable explanation for this is the diversity of the students with respect to nationality; pursueing an MBA is not equally normal for women as for men in some countries. As a result INSEAD receives less applications from women than it wants. The US schools generally have about 80-90% American students (some students are called international, but they might only be born outside the US) and since it is more normal for women from the US to apply, they have a higher percentage of women.

Q: What would you say are your favourite subjects?

Favourite subject depends greatly on the professor that teaches them. Some of the professor are absolutely awesome and are able to even make accounting a very dynamic topic, and some of them are less awesome. In that respect, my favourite subjects so far:
P1: Prices & Markets, Financial Accounting
P2: Corporate Financial Policy, Managerial Accounting (and maybe also Marketing)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Facts about my life at INSEAD in Singapore

Some facts about my life at INSEAD in Singapore:

Academic structure:






Party and relaxation


That should do it for now. If anyone wants to know some other / more specific stuff, just drop me a comment. I like comments :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Short movie about INSEAD's Asia campus

If you want to see a short movie about INSEAD's Asia campus, check out the following link

For all of you in Fonty at the moment: pay close attention to the outside shots and the nice weather (don't worry, I will join you guys in P3).

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