Tag Archives: Insead


Kay moved to Bois-le-Roi, a small town close to INSEAD’s Fontainebleau, in mid December. Already in that first week during the pre-course, he realized he didn’t like being so far away from the school and having to drive everywhere… something I told him would not be fun for partying and socializing, but I left it up for him to find out on his own.

Before our trip to Brazil to spend Christmas with family, I left Zurich for a weekend in “Paris” aka this podunk town to check out Kay’s digs. This studio was only €600 a month with parking and house insurance included, so compared to a lot of student housing for INSEAD, it was pretty cheap! His little studio did have everything he needed. Furnished flat with bed, dressers, desk, kitchen area, and a decent sized bathroom.I was impressed that there was a bathtub, even though I knew Kay would never use it.The flat came with pots and pans and towels and linens, and it had enough storage for everything he needed. It was missing an oven and a freezer though. How do the French make caipirinhas without ice? And frozen pizza for the student life??It even had a balcony to store his mountain bike.The grounds of the property were quite “cute” and French too. I mean, below is where he took his trash out. Only in Europe, right?Just across the street from the property, the Seine runs along the road.How quaint is that? Where do you go running in the morning? Oh, along the Seine, of course. After school officially started in January though, Kay quickly became jealous of those living in town in Fontainebleau who could walk to school or parties. My cute, very Swiss husband, realized that driving a car every morning to school and having to be a designated driver at every chateau party is NOT fun. Haha.

Any American could tell you this, but he wanted the commuting experience, and for about a month, he got it. 🙂 By mid January, he gave notice on his place and moved to a fancy French house in town with 13 rooms at the end of the month, paying then €950 a month for a single room, but gaining roommates and the ability to enjoy drinking at parties again!


Life is pretty weird and wild since Kay started INSEAD. I have spent 12 weekends this year traveling, usually only staying home once a month. On Thursday and Friday nights, I head to a small town in France for the weekend and witness parties like this:Work hard, play hard. The INSEAD motto. And as a weekend partner, I am here to witness it.France is very different from Switzerland and I have to admit, I don’t really care for it. It’s just so not Switzerland. Maybe I am too Swiss at this point, but I miss order and function, something often lacking almost everywhere outside of my little country.

Sometimes it’s also just weird, the way elderly paw at every.single.vegetable in the produce section, for example. Whatever it is, I’m kind of happy I am only visiting. I am so Swiss in fact, that every weekend I bring prepared homemade frozen gluten free meals with me and let them thaw on the drive over, so that Kay doesn’t have to cook for us or worry about finding me gluten free meals.Back at home, my house looks like a mess as I use this opportunity to sort and change furniture around.I am using Kay’s absence to purge lots of unneeded items from our life, but in the meantime, it looks like I am moving and that has been driving me nuts, so for most of March and April, I’ve been trying to work hard during the week to clean up more. This year isn’t quite like I imagined. Being a partner to an INSEADer is not easy, especially when you only visit on the weekend, but I am trying my best.

INSEAD Welcome Weekend

At the end of October, to start our holidays, we left by train to Paris for Kay’s welcome day at INSEAD. Kay was pretty excited and so was I, everything is becoming so real!We spent the whole Saturday touring the campus, listening to sample lectures, attending information sessions, and most importantly, meeting Kay’s future classmates and their partners!Everyone was very friendly and engaging and Kay is really looking forward to what the next twelve months will bring. Only two more weeks until he leaves!

After the cocktail event on Saturday, we took a bus to the station and rode back to Paris with several others. They all got a kick out of our huge backpacking backpacks that we had prepared for Peru. It sure was strange to carry my pack in heels. Not really as comfortable as big hiking boots…

Before we left for France, I had looked up if there were any classmates in Lima, and sure enough there was one living there and another traveling around Peru at the same time as us, so we met the one living in Lima the same night we got into Lima from our 12 hour flight.We were a little tired, maybe Kay more so, but it was a lot of fun to meet and get some local tips on what to eat. We also enjoyed our first pisco sours of the trip.The guy traveling around Peru was too tired to stay up and meet us when we arrived in Lima, but we managed to catch him in Cusco the day we got back from our five-day trek to Machu Picchu. We were also pretty tired then after having trekked for so many days, but we were starting to get used to go-go-going with little energy and a lot of things to see and do.I ended up keeping up the same pace for my trip to Hong Kong afterward, but now back in Zurich, I feel pretty tired out after a month of traveling!

Still, I look forward to visiting Kay next year at school and spending more time with the other students we met in Paris.

Big news for Kay

…next January he is headed to business school at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France! We kept his news under wraps, but it’s been a looong process starting back in 2012. Here’s a summary of his admissions timeline:

2012: Studying for the GMAT with practice books sporadically. Visiting MBA fairs and researching schools.

2013: Dedicated GMAT study 2-3 nights a week with practice books. Narrowing down which schools he wanted to apply to. Fell in love with INSEAD’s program and campus after a visit in December 2013.

December 2013-May 2014: More study for the GMAT with an online class and skype tutoring, including studying through our 3 week holiday in Thailand and our 3 week holiday in Puerto Rico and the US. He wished he just

March 2014: First GMAT: He scored in the 96% for vocab (so proud!!) and had a nice score, but his quant score was much below INSEAD’s recommended score, so he decided to retake the exam.

May 2014: Second GMAT: Brought his quant score up quite a lot, but verbal was much lower this time so it was a little bit lower score than previously. He decided to apply anyway without retaking the test a third time.

June-July: Preparation for the Toefl exam for non-English students

August 2014: Toefl exam: He scored 117 out of 120 possible points. I was very proud of how far his English has come! 🙂

September-October 2014: Preparing his Swiss school documents like transcripts to be translated into English for his application

December 2014: Essay questions are released by INSEAD for the January 2016 intake. Kay started brainstorming while we were on holiday in Australia.

January 2015: Beginning the application and asking for letters of recommendation

February: Pouring his blood, sweat, and even some of my tears into his essays.

March 4: The application was due

April 2: Invited to interview. He was SO excited. Happiest I have ever seen him.

April 3-19: Hardcore prepping for his interviews with daily verbal practice, one-on-one practice with me, filming and reviewing footage,

April 20-21: Two interviews with local alumni in Switzerland

May 11: Kay was waitlisted. We were crushed.  Kay’s last time speaking with his mother was telling her about the waitlist that week. I tried to cheer him up and told him this would not be the worst thing to ever happen in his life, not knowing that his mother would pass away just a week later.

May 12: Kay accepted his “spot” on the waitlist but also explained to his AO that he had a required six month resignation period at work and that he would really need to know by June 29/30 in order to have a day for his resignation to process. She promised they would review his case by then and give him a decision.

May 24: Kay’s mother passed away suddenly. This was a huge blow and between this and the waitlist, we were very, very down.

June 24: Kay was getting antsy because we still hadn’t heard from INSEAD and he wanted to send his resignation letter by registered mail (the standard Swiss method of resignation) by June 29 in order for it to arrive on June 30.

June 25-28: No reaction from the AO to the check-in email. Ahhhh!

June 29: Still no reaction from the AO and Kay wanted to be careful because R2 applicants would be receiving their final decision by the end of the week (July 3) so we knew they were in decision-making mode. I told him to call after lunchtime. He did and the AO asked for him to submit his problem via email for a third time and that maybe he would receive a decision that evening or the next day. We were pulling our hair out and Kay was really stressed because he wouldn’t be able to send his resignation letter by post anymore and his boss was gone so he couldn’t resign in person IF it would happen. So nervous!

June 30: Around lunchtime, Kay finally received the positive phone call. He asked for an email to be sent at the same time to confirm it, because he couldn’t really believe it. Finally in!!

I was SO happy to hear the news from him, but Kay’s initial reaction was pretty sad. He was sad he couldn’t tell his mother and that she wasn’t here to see him get in, because she had been praying for him every day to make it. It was one of the last things we talked about during our mother’s day visit in early May.

We have to believe that we lost her for a reason. Kay went to pay his thanks at her grave and my father said that maybe she had to go to heaven to pull some strings. Whatever the case, I am positive that she would be bursting with joy and unending pride for her son right now.

It will be an interesting year in 2016. I plan to stay in Switzerland working since my French is abominable, but I will visit him. 🙂