INSEAD – Essays
There are 7 of them, and they cover almost the entire ground. You enter the field, unguarded and apprehensive. You could handle 4, or 5, but 7 is far too many. You look for ways to handle all of them, and then notice the key. They are not of the same shape and sizes. Some are small and stout, others are large but flexible, one of them is huge but manageable. Whom would you rather deal with first ?
You start with the huge one, cos he’s around in all the other fields. In some form or the other, and bad at disguise; you can easily make out he’s the one everywhere. Trying to nail you down. Asking you about your career goals. And what skills do you expect to gain from INSEAD and how will they contribute to your professional career. You know the answer to this one. For INSEAD, its got to align with Consulting, Finance, or Industry. You’ve got to think and speak in terms of ‘the world’. Do this right, and the huge one vanishes. To appear again in another field, another day.
Now that you’ve begun, you want to handle the first 2 short fellows. The first one just wants to know about your job and responsibilities, and you give him what you want. He disappears within minutes. His friend isn’t so friendly. He wants a ‘full description’ of your career since university, in only as many words as you saved for his friend. The only way to do that is to punch him all around, again and again, until you are done, and then de-sensitize him, part by part, to retain the pain of only 250 punches.
Powered by this mayhem, you want to take on another shortie. Mind you, he’s an original, though an old timer on this field. He wants to know if you’ve been ‘culture-shocked’, or how would you shock a foreigner by narrating about your culture! Not so easy, and definitely very INSEAD. Diversity meets adversity. You do manage to hold your ground, but on jumps another shortie. He’s mean and menacious, and its starting to get tougher. Will you have the energy to deal with them all ? He wants to know a situation where you did not meet your personal objectives, and how it affected you. Do you want to tell him about the girl in high school who rejected your proposal? Or about the projector that you didn’t know how to turn on during the meet with the CEO? Like hell, why did you even enter this field ? Will you be able to come out, alive ?
Its beginning to get late, you can see the Sun setting, going further down, as you lift yourself up. The climax is here. He wants to know your 2 most substantial accomplishments. The movie won’t end until you deal with him. Go ahead, tell him how you saved that child from drowning. Yes the one who slipped into the pond over the mess left by you. What ? You can’t think of another accomplishment substantial enough ? Surely, there must be some kind deeds in your otherwise blotted life. Something that gave you more happiness than coming third in that car race game. What ? You chose the EASY mode and there were just three positions in the race?
Good so you’ve got them all. Its the end of the road. The last one smiles at you. Just be candid with him and tell him your strengths and weaknesses, and he’ll let you pass. From this field to another, where he’ll surface again. You think you are done, but think again. How many fields will you cross, how many battles will you fight, how many days will you continue like this ?
Welcome to the show. Things have just begun. You’ll be back in another episode, very soon. You thought you were the hero of your movies. The invincible. Think again. There are actors wherever you look, and they are all heroes. Of their lives.
They are out there looking for you. Don’t be a hero who wins, but a hero who spins. Go spin. And tell your story.