Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More log off emails

If you don't log off your computer and someone finds it, this is what kind of emails you will be sending then:


After a month in Fonty,
I happen to talk to so many strange people every day
that I'm getting confused and troubled...
I decided I want to stay in INSEAD forever, become a proffesor, eventually become Dean of the MBA programme,
and then emeritus teacher and be buried in the Amphi A.
That way I could probably start understanding the relations and behaviors that happen in this institution

PS: I left my Glasses Gucci Case by the computer.


Hi all,

just wanted to let you know that I'll be giving scuba diving lessons at the Heritage swimming pool every Saturday morning at 8am. Everybody is welcome to attend but there are some rules to follow:
- for men, please do not come wearing "Speedo" type swimsuits
- for those of you that don't know how to swim please bring along inflatable support
- you will always have to do as I say, as it can get very dangerous with a lot of people in the swimming pool
- finally, no flippers are allowed

Please reply to this email to let me know if you are interested in joining


Hello everyone,

Sorry for the mass.

Tonight at 20.00, I am throwing a barbeque party to celebrate my catch. Stop by if you feel like a shot of sake and some grilled meat.

By the way, yesterday, on the way back home, I was attacked by a massive lizard. After intense struggling I managed to kill the beast and dragged it home. Tonight I will be the chef and will cook this creature for you to a famous Japanese recipe.

See you by the pool,


PS. Next time I will write about the difference between campuses (for real this time)

We learn really important stuff around here

Some examples of things we learned during the last week:

Prices & Markets (a.k.a. "How do beer and sex work?")
1) I learned that if a bar charges a S$72 entrance fee and then S$2 per beer, the bar can use my personal demand curve for beer to the fullest.
2) Professor:"You can use implicit price discrimination when it comes to unexpected needs - that's why contraceptives in a bar are sold at premium prices. Hmmm, when I think of it, contraceptives and beer are actually substitutes of each other..."

Data, Uncertainty and judgment (a.k.a. "How to catch a cheating wife")
1) If your wife delivers a baby and you haven't seen her for 10 months and 5 days, there is less than 1% chance it's your child
2) Student 1: "A pregnancy usually takes between 8 and 10 months". Student 2: "Unless you're an elephant...."

Financial Accounting (a.k.a. "How to earn money? / how being an alumni works?")
Professor: "When the job market is very good and you all earn 250,000 euro, the probability of you paying INSEAD, and me especially, a bonus is higher."
Class laughing
Professor: "Hmmm, that wasn't supposed to be funny..."

I said it before and I will say it again: this will be a very useful year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Impression of the courses so far

Time to write something about the courses as well...

Prices & Markets

Course content so far: Estimating supply and demand, pricing strategies for different kind of markets, auction strategies
Professor: (India) The best professor in the first period. He has a good deal of humor and really knows how to explain things.
My general opinion so far: I already have quite a background in this field (we will see how I do at the mid-term next Monday...). But still, I must say I like this class. It's cool to see what 'trivial' mistakes even the largest of corporations make when it comes to pricing: very useful!

Data, Uncertainty and judgment

Course content (so far): All kind of statistical calculations but the course is mainly about understanding how you can make decisions based on statistics and how you can influence others (and can be influenced yourself!)
Professor: (Greece) A definite guru in his field. Dry sense of humor and teaches by all kind of gambling games (you can make some money here if you know what you are doing!).
My general opinion so far: As an Actuary (insurance mathematican) I should already know all the statistical theories. However, the real useful thing is not in the theory, but in the practical implementation. By all kinds of exercises it becomes very clear that numbers are not exact and the intepretation can be greatly influenced by the way the numbers are present or the questions are asked. Generally: a lot of fun.

Financial Markets & Valuation

Course content: Discounted cash-flow models, Valuation of projects and companies, bond pricing, equity
Professor: (China) Very knowledgeable and she makes a great efford to teach as good as possible. However, she is fairly inexperienced in teaching when compared to the other professors.
My general opinion (so far): I know, it gets a bit boring, but I also have some previous experience in this field (by the way, this will definately be different in the courses of period 2 to 5). There are not that many real life cases in class, which I find a pity. An MBA is not only about theoretical knowledge, but mainly about the practical implementation. The course content is definately very useful for everyone that aspires a job in Management, Finance or Consulting, but it could do with some more cases.

Leading People and Groups (a.k.a. "OB")

Course content (so far): How to work effectively in teams, how to lead people, how to influence people (generally: the soft skills)
Professor: (US) Totaly in line with what you expect of an Organizational Behavior professor, this guy is a very extrovert and inspiring teacher. He likes to teach by using Dilbert comics (you can't go wrong with that).
My general opinion so far: Totally awesome class. This is the kind of stuff I want to learn during my MBA. I have no previous experience in this field (at least not more than the average MBA student) and there are a lot of things I can improve on. There is ample group work in this class and it's very informative to see some of your group/class mates in action. Observe, listen, and try it yourself. One of the things we had to do as a group was to contruct a group profile and a organizational/operational plan of how to work together. We named our group "The Dry Run" as we want to establish an atmosphere where we can experiment with all kind of styles in an environment "free of fear". Other things we did are watching/analyzing a movie (12 Angry men), building a car that could carry an egg and could be dropped from a height of 15 meters, negotiating and learning all kinds of ways that people can be influenced. One bad point about the class: there is an aweful amount of reading involved (like 150 pages per class)

Financial Accounting

Course content (so far): Calculating and reading of income statements, balance sheets, cash-flow statements and all the interdependecies between them
Professor: (US) He clearly explaines all the reasoning and interdependicies in Financal Accounting. Not afraid to make a harsh comment or two (I like that).
My general opinion so far: Again, previous experience. But, as with most of the other classes, there are ample real life cases involved (Enron, Worldcom, etc.). Understanding of Financial Accounting is an absolute must if you want to get anywhere in life after your MBA.

In general

I work my ass off!!! Eventhough most of the theory in the courses is not especially difficult, the workload is amazing. A normal working day starts at 8.30 in the morning and lasts until midnight. But I still enjoy it! My fellow students are very inspiring and I learn a lot (the parties, diving weekends, etc are also good fun). I had only about 3 weeks of classes now, but it sure feels like a few months.

My next post will be about the Singapore campus and why I think this is the best place to be of both campuses (mind you, I haven't been in Fonty yet so it will all be subject to change).

Friday, September 16, 2005

That was absolutely hilarious!

Yesterday we had the traditional Heritage Dash. We run, dressed up in all kind of costumes, from the Heritage apartment complex to the INSEAD campus. It was awesome. The way bystanders were looking at us was priceless. Here are some pictures (I hope to provide a link to the video soon).

Part of the crew that did the Dash

MeRunning across a junction

I'm off now; I'm going to spend my weekend diving in Malaysia :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

When you forget to log off

There are a lot of computers at the INSEAD campus. When you want to use them you need to log in and you'll have access to your email as well then. However, when you forget to log off it is kind of a tradition that the next person sends an email to the entire INSEAD community. Luckely, I haven't forgotten to log off yet. Here are some of the emails that were sent:


Dear All

Sorry for the mass, but it appears my beloved teddy has gone missing.

Life really isn't the same without him. I can't sleep, I have no one to talk to, no shoulder to cry on.... who will help me with my finance cases? And what about OB? And who will log me off now that he's gone?

Maybe he's in a better place now, enjoying himself somewhere along the N7 perhaps, or with a ladyboy in Sinagpore....

If you see him, please let him know that I'm sorry, I still love him and I want him back


Hi all,

I'm organazing an Asian-theme dinner at my place tonight (commencing at 9pm). Please, let me know at your earliest conveniece whether you want to attend.



Hi All
I am really confused in life. I think I will skip on campus recruitment this year and instead try out the following

Please vote and help me

1. Become a Dean-o-Boy by end of P4

2. Become an actor by end of P5. ( Preview below )

3. Go for P6 to "THE ISLAND"


Hi all. Is there a club for those people who don't even log off from the computers in the bar area? If not I would like to start one! Please reply to me if you are interested.


Hi All,

Me'z a Dean'O Boy thanks to my name on the Dean's list. However, I feel that all is not well with me and that I could do with some improvement in my class participation.

How can go about it? Please respond!

a.) Me'z a dean-o-boy so everything is allright
b.) Me has gone nuts so perhaps bringing a guitar to the class might help
c.) Me should come to the class dressed like Elvis and start singing Opera

Now Me does remember my stats course from P1 so to get a wider sample of opinions, Me'z sending this email to Singapore folks too. Help Please!!

Some interesting things from class

Statistics class:

Quote professor: "We are not rational, but in a very consistent way"

A bidding game we played (we gamble a lot in Stats class, even though it's actually illigal in Singapore):
Auction S$100
- The highest bidder will pay the amount bid and win S$100
- The second highest bidder must also pay the amount that he or she bid
- Call out bids in multiples of S$10
Try this and see what happens :)

Prices and Markets class:

An alternaltive proposed by the professor to the amount of money the EU spends on Agricultural subsidies:
"You can send every cow in Europe around the world on a business class ticket with US$2000 dollars in pocket money each to spend on duty-free shops."

Leading People & Groups class

For those that know a bit about the Myers Briggs personality test, these are the most common profiles among INSEAD students:

ENTP 15%
ESTJ 14%
ISTJ 13%
ENTP 13%

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Google Earth images of INSEAD and Heritage

Google Earth is an amazing tool. You can zoom in on most of the places in the world and see the satelite pictures.

On the first picture you can see how close the INSEAD campus is to Heritage View (that's where I live). It takes about 10 minutes to walk from one to the other. You can reach it in less time, but it's just too hot here too walk to fast. By the way, the Dover Parkview complex is just north of Heritage.

The second one shows the Heritage View apartment complex. If you look closely, you can see the pools. I live at tower B.

Pictures of INSEAD, apartment and pool

Some pictures of the most important spots (made by my roommate, thanx).

This is the living room of the apartment.

The Heritage apartment buidling, one of the pools and the BBQ spot next to one of the pools.

The front view of the INSEAD campus

A food court (we usually eat at one of these)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Prices & Markets Course: buying paint

(Taken from the Prices & Markets Course)


CUSTOMER: Hi. How much is your paint?
CLERK: Well we have regular quality for $12 a gallon and premium for $18. How many gallons would you like?
CUSTOMER: Five gallons of regular quality,please.
CLERK: Great. That will be $60 plus tax.



CUSTOMER: Hi, how much is your paint?
CLERK: Well, sir, that all depends.
CUSTOMER: Depends on what?
CLERK: Actually, a lot of things.
CUSTOMER: How about giving me an average price?
CLERK: Wow, that's too hard a question. The lowest price is $9 a gallon, and we have 150 different prices up to $200 a gallon.
CUSTOMER: What's the difference in the paint?
CLERK: Oh, there is ABSOLUTELY no difference; it's all the same paint.
CUSTOMER: Well, then, I'd like some of that $9 paint.
CLERK: Well, first I need to ask you a few questions. When do you intend to use it?
CUSTOMER: I want to paint tomorrow, on my day off.
CLERK: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.
CUSTOMER: What? When would I have to paint in order to get the $9 version?
CLERK: That would be three weeks, but you will also have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.
CUSTOMER: You've got to be kidding!
CLERK: Sir, we don't kid around here. Of course, I'll have to check to see if we have any of that paint available before I can sell it to you.
CUSTOMER: What do you mean check to see if you can sell it to me? You have shelves full of
that stuff; I can see it right there.
CLERK: Just because you can see it doesn't mean that we have it. It may be the same paint, but we sell only a certain number of gallons on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, the price just went to $12.
CUSTOMER: You mean the price went up while we were talking!
CLERK: Yes, sir. You see, we change prices and rules thousands of times a day, and since you haven't actually walked out of the store with your paint yet, we just decided to change. Unless you want the same thing to happen again, I would suggest that you get on with your purchase. How many gallons do you want?
CUSTOMER: I don't know exactly. Maybe five gallons. Maybe I should buy six gallons just to
make sure I have enough.
CLERK: Oh, no sir, you can't do that. If you buy the paint and then don't use it, you will be liable for penalties and possible confiscation of the paint you already have.
CLERK: That's right. We can sell you enough paint to do your kitchen, bathroom, hall and north bedroom, but if you stop painting before you do the bedroom, you will be in violation of our tariffs.
CUSTOMER: But what does it matter to you whether I use all the paint? I already paid you
for it!
CLERK: Sir, there's no point in getting upset; that's just the way it is. We make plans based upon the idea that you will use all the paint, and when you don't, it just causes us all sorts of problems.
CUSTOMER: This is crazy! I suppose something terrible will happen if I don't keep painting until after Saturday night!
CLERK: Yes, sir, it will.
CUSTOMER: Well, that does it! I'm going somewhere else to buy my paint.
CLERK: That won't do you any good, sir. We all have the same rules. Thanks for painting with our airline.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Heard in class and wanted to mention it

In Ethics class:
Student: "What I'm trying to say is...."
Professor (interupts student): "Yeah, try to say it."

Class about Asian cultures
Quote on one of the slides about culture: "The last thing a fish will discover is water: it finds out only once in the fisherman's basket!"

Class about Asian cultures
About false predictions: in 1980 it was expected that Sylvester Stallone would soon have a higher GDP than Thailand

Heritage Dash

New post. Otherwise my post become to long and nobody will read them.

Had a presentation from the Student Council today. The explained how all the good stuff at INSEAD is arranged (parties, national weeks, and all kinds of more serious stuff). One of the things I especially liked is the Heritage Dash.

At the Heritage Dash a bunch of people gather at the Heritage View apartment complex and then run to the campus (about 1 km). The good thing is that they do this in all kind of silly costumes. Some examples: as a duck, 2 guys inside a horse suit, as sumo wrestlers and as a frog. They showed us a movie about it. It was absolutely hilarious! About 30 people running through the streets, all looking like idiots. I will try to get my hands on the video and post a link here. Anyway, next week there will again be a Heritage Dash and I need to think of something outrageous to wear for the run.

President of Singapore in Statistics Class

Last week has been a very good one. During the introduction week we've had a number of interesting one-time classes (General Management, Ethics and a class about the main countries in SE Asia), the outward bound program at one of the Islands of Singapore (all kind of stuff for team building), club presentations (I joined the Rugby club named "The Barbarians", which is partly about playing rugby and partly about drinking...), a national diner and a good final party. However, on the party I had a bit of mixed feelings. The party, and the whole of the introduction week, was sponsored by a not further to be named Consultancy (not the one I worked at) and I kinda expected it to be free drinks etc. I was glad I took along some money, as I soon found out that we only got 2 drinks for free. Also, we expected that the club was exclusively for INSEAD students, but after about 2 hours all could enter. I don't want to sound spoiled or something, but you either sponsor a party and do it all the way or you don't sponsor the party. No good marketing in my opinion. I furthermore took the German language test last week. To my surprise I today heard that I passed the test and now officially am able to speak German in a business setting (to be honest, I think I was very lucky as there is no way that I am able to do that).

This week the real courses started:
So far no real challenges yet (only on the Leading class), but that will change once we get classes like Marketing and Operations Management.

Monday, the Asia Campus of INSEAD was visited by the president of Singapore. He also took a peak at the Data class as we were just reviewing data about the starting salaries of INSEAD MBA's, which were ranging from EUR 40,000 to EUR 180,000. Might have changed his ideas about the school :)

PS. I found out that there are currently 71 nationalities present at the MBA program (both campuses and both the December and July classes). The diversity in people really astonishes me.

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