I walked into my Shaping Consumer Behavior class the other morning, and I recognized this song within 2 seconds. It happens to be a remix of the classic “Singing in the Rain”, played in one of VW's television advertisments. It also happens to be one of my favorite ads, one that never aired where I lived, but saw on the wonder world of Internet. It features the excellent break dancing of Elsewhere, and the ridiculously catchy and uplifting remix. If you haven't seen it yet, do it.
Turns out that the professor was prepping for class, and tested the clips that he planned on showing for class. We had seen a series of VW ads for the course. This one didn't really follow the topic we were covering, but the prof just liked it. He was amazed that I had identified the video (without seeing it) so quickly. Needless to say, I lavishly heaped on my praises for the video clip. Not that I was kissing up, but he was pleased.
This marketing mini course also features one of my favorite books, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. I haven't had the opportunity to review it, but I will do you a favor and recommend that you read it, regardless of your profession, life goals, alignment of the stars, whatever. After reading it, you will never look at the world of advertising and sales and what they do to influence you again.
It's not everyday you get to enjoy a weekend on a private island with 25 of your friends. The only drawback is coming back. I look out the window from the 18th floor of my Singaporean high rise only to see the gloomy rain drizzle down, and with Roxette playing in the background, I think about the beautiful Pangkil island in Indonesia. We had such an amazing time, joking with the friendly staff, snorkeling, getting massaged, eating, singing and merry making. I'll never forget watching the stars as I drifted into slumber on the sandy beach, and then seeing those same stars when I opened my eyes a few hours later. But what made up the my best part of my experiences were the people; I can say confidently that with our gang, we would've had an equally memorable experience even in a less idyllic destination.
10 days into P4, I finally post after getting dominated by last period. Even though it lasted only 7 weeks, it was the most intense period for me from an academic perspective. Not because grades matter; at this point I only care about learning. Being the first time electives were offered, the period gave us some of the most intriguing and intense courses to date. And there was no way to get value out of them unless you poured in some serious effort.
On top of the last set of core courses (3 courses, 2.5 credits, which I am so happy to be done with), I signed up for 4 electives (3.5 credits). The half credits are mini's, with fewer sessions. My fun electives were Social Psychology of Management, Venture Opportunities and Business Models, Social Entrepreneurship, and Strategies for Asia Pacific, all excellently taught and fully engaging. Although the professors didn't require us to take finals, for 3 of them we had large scale team projects as final deliverables. My big takeaway for the period was the balance of different subjects and their level of quality. These courses come closest to my expectations of what I wanted to get out of an MBA program just a year ago.
I mentioned before that many people traveled throughout the period; I didn't, at all. I did not step foot off this island, but not fully by design. Several trips were cancelled either due to weather or mis-coordination, but I easily filled those weekends with studying and working on the L'Oreal E-strat Challenge. (Unfortunately we didn't make it to the semi-finals.) Oh, and recovering from a nasty flu over Chinese New Years weekend covers the long weekend I missed out on. No, I'm not bitter.
Looking back, I find P3 one of my most valuable periods at INSEAD, enjoying the weather, urban lifestyle, and stellar learning opportunities. If I could change one thing, I would make it last longer so we could better digest all that content. Then again, we all signed up for the 10-month program for its short duration.