[I needed inspiration. I needed that biting wry sense of humor bitching away about life served up straight and strong. I needed that no-nonsense attitude to make it’s mark once again. In short, I needed her back. Without any further delay folks, join me in welcoming the famous MBA/MRS out of her self-imposed exile (if you still haven’t checked out her blog, where the hell have you been?!)]
When OMJ asked me to write a guest post, I hesitated, thinking that I haven’t been able to write the final post for my own blog despite many tries. But this is somehow easier – and doesn’t need to be nearly as conclusive. And the occasion of your Summer Ball gives me plenty to reminisce about.
So, kiddies, was it the best night of your life? You and your best friends spent the night dancing away, taking endless photos of yourselves leaning forward in a circle with the camera placed on the floor? Aren’t you sick of that Black Eyed Peas song yet? What about the one by The Killers? Or do you now collectively adore something new and equally repetitive that I’ve missed out on while listening exclusively to classical radio since graduation?
I was tempted to go, but then things got… how should I put it?… disappointing… with one of your classmates. So I opted to witness it on facebook instead. I know it’s not where you are, but who you’re with, but our summer ball was in the Chateau. You know, that humble little hunting lodge of the kings you drive by every morning? The one with the weird mishmash of styles where a succession of Louises, Philips and Charleses sent the furniture that was going out of style at Versailles? Yep, that one.
Oh, you youguns, how many things are still going to change! The P3 BFFs – the ones you love to death now – might not be the ones you will keep in touch with after INSEAD. That dream job you take over the summer might turn out to be completely boring or intense and miserable. But in the meantime you’ll discover what you are really meant to be doing. Or you’ll just end up drinking lots of pints and cursing at London bus drivers instead. Either way, it won’t be how you think it’s going to be.
You’ll probably regret not going on the Silicon Valley trip. And if you go, you’ll regret not going to Stanford GSB. You’ll change your P4 and P5 campus three times. And three more times after that. The waiting list will flip and you’ll have endless fights with your new P4 BFFs about whether you should stay or go. You’ll probably choose to go where your friends are, not where it makes the most sense for your career/education. (Hint: your relationship won’t last. Go to whichever campus has Kevin Kaiser teaching VCCR in P5). You’ll live each moment as precious and unique, and your Italian week will be better than any national week the campus has ever seen, and your section dress up day will be the most fun and clever one in history. Except that the collective memory of INSEAD is 10 months long.
In the fall, you’ll chase the consulting firms, shake lots of hands, fake lots of smiles, try to find the balance between drinking enough to be friendly and not drinking too much to embarrass yourself. (Hint 1: always carry ibuprofen with you. Hint 2: your real BFFs are the ones who’ll tell you when you have parsley stuck in your teeth at a company cocktail) First you’ll court the big ones, then the second and third tier ones (then the no-name ones who like to call themselves “boutique”), even though you said you wouldn’t do that. You might have a few fights with your friends who insist that you should think about Plan B. In a moment of desperation, you might even interview with a tobacco company, or three. Or, like me, you’ll stand and watch the madness from the sidelines, edit countless obsequious cover letters, and wonder if you’re not joining in the McKinsey lovefest because you’re a contrarian, or because consulting really isn’t for you. You’ll find validation in your choices when four months out your friends are complaining about their golden handcuffs, and you’re being a content housewife with your fancy freelance gig that allows you to spend time wondering in the British Museum while everyone else is at work.
In P5 you might go to Singapore to see about a boy, even though you swore you’re not going to Singapore. Except by the time you get there, you’ll no longer be on speaking terms. But it’ll be fun anyways, and you’ll eat Chicken Rice daily to justify being in sweaty, boring Singapore. The grad trip will be sloppy and fun, and after you’ll be happy to avoid all INSEAD functions for the next three months. Chances are you’ll go back to being a normal person, with a normal job. You’ll pick up the hobbies you’ve abandoned before – cooking, painting, opera-going. You’ll probably get back with your ex because your INSEAD relationship didn’t make any sense anywhere but at INSEAD. But beyond that, my predictive abilities fall apart. Most likely, you’ll look back at that year and wonder if it really happened.
Since the life of an INSEADer can be counted in dog years, the remaining 6 months might as well last 4 years. Go forth and live out your unique INSEAD experience. And I’ll watch this blog to see how my prophecies bear out. That is, if OMJ finds any time to write.