Sunday, February 21, 2010

INSEAD, Week 7

Socializing is an integral part of life at INSEAD, although the students I'm sharing the library with this Sunday might debate that. Partaking students call it "networking". I can be on board with that. I've been doing a whole lot of networking recently.
The workload has been lower the past week, perhaps to give us more time to focus on career identification. Sometimes the school, vaunted as it is, resembles an exalted careers placement service on steroids based on the emphasis that is put on job finding in the form of on-campus events, CV reviews, and industry info sessions. Of course the school is excellent, and I'm not just saying that to promote the brand. The professors are tops, the students are engaged and serious, and the alumni network is far reaching. I'm confident that given the diligence I'm supplying, the school will enable me to find, earn, and accept the position that is best suited to my growth as an individual while also satisfying material needs (in spades, hopefully). I thought I'd illustrate the socializing-career connection through the attached images. First image (grainy, above) is a recent party near campus. Remember, this is network-building. Second image (below) came from my tooling on the two alumni network databases to which I have access. It is a listing of number of school alums by work country, filtering for a few randomly-thought-of nations. Yes, some countries still aren't making either list, but I thought this was a reasonable illustration of network breadth. So when you're trying to set up that all-important business deal or emerging market entry into Cambodia, you know who to talk to. Well, this is an anonymous blog after all - if you don't know me, you'll have to exercise the 'Comments' feature. In fact though, just because someone shows up in a database doesn't mean a lot can come from reaching them. In my limited experience with this, connecting with people via an alumni database simply removes one or two layers of unfamiliarity, but you still have to 'prove yourself' to the person to whom you're reaching out. The partying from the first photo? Maybe it serves to strip off a few more layers . . . of unfamiliarity. And to have a really, really good time while we're all trying to learn the nuts and bolts of modern business.

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