Thursday 1 June 2006

MBA Interviews - INSEAD

I was thinking of going for a run this morning but my legs have seized up a fair bit after Tuesday's run... and I'm a bit short of time. I've got to buy a suit, prep for the interview, finalise the videoconference booking for tomorrow, check the details for the interview this evening, phone my grandmother about Friday and call my young uncle Fede and my cousin Guadalupe to meet up.

I should have bought the suit yesterday or the day before and I don't get to the shop I saw yesterday until about 2.30pm. The interview is at 6pm. I should be fine. Except these are decent suits with unfinished trouser legs, at great prices. I look at a few suits and wait for someone to hover. Eventually a man apologises and tells me someone is on his way. When this chap comes over, I tell him I have a job interview (explaining the concept of a business school interview was going to be too laborious) and want to look the part.

He asks me where I'm from. As soon as I say England he takes me over to the pricier suits. These are great superfine wool. At around £300, they're excellent value. Less than half the price of the equivalent in the UK. And they look good. I try on a jacket then another. Yup, that's the one. It's now 3pm. I ask when it can be ready. The sleeves need a little shortening, the waist needs to be brought in (yes, my waist is proportionately small for my torso), and the legs finished. He asks when I need it. In 2.5 hours. No problem. I pick out a tie to go with my shirt and a belt.

Back home, I change into my inteview shirt and head back out. Just before 5.30 I reach the shop. It's all ready. I wasn't expecting it. I try it on. Perfect. I keep it all on and head straight out to the interview, getting there just on time.
I get shown into a meeting room, offered coffee etc and wait for Mario to arrive. He turns out to be a good guy. 41 years old, ex-BCG, INSEAD 93. He has his own business advising acquiring companies on targets and sometimes takes a stake in the process.

He asks me a few simple questions about work experience then asks what I think my odds are. I say I can't be sure. I don't know what the other candidates are like. He tells me he reckons my chances are pretty good, given my score in the GMAT. Of course there are other factors, I point out. Well, he tells me, his job is just to sell the school to me now. Ultimately, he says, LBS, IESE and INSEAD are all pretty much the same and you just have to pick where you want to live. There's also the issue about the length of the course.

I leave feeling pretty good but I know not to count chickens. There's another INSEAD interview to go on Monday.

I go and check my email and find that the conferences manager at the Hilton has sent me an email saying the booking is cancelled because she hasn't received payment details. I panic calmly, go home and make a phone call. She's finished for the day. I insist that I have to speak to someone and fortunately there is a chap there. Yup, the booking is all here and the videocon equipment is in place. And relax.

Next I call Wendy (short for Guadalupe), my cousin, to arrange to meet. It's as though she recognises my voice straight away. I haven't seen or spoken with her for 23 years.

Time for a pizza and I start getting my thoughts together for the videocon tomorrow.