A tale of two campuses

As most of you probably know, INSEAD has two campuses, one located in Fontainebleau, France, and one in Singapore. INSEAD’s full-time MBA program runs in parallel on both campuses, and the program content is the same on both campuses.

This enables a unique opportunity for full-time MBA students – campus exchange. Although many other business school offer campus exchanges through affiliate programs with other institutions around the world, INSEAD’s offering is unique: course offerings, exam schedules and the grading system are completely synchronized across campuses, so students can easily switch without worrying about academic or administrative differences.

As a participant, I really appreciate this opportunity – in fact, I am planning to switch campuses myself and spend some time on the Singapore campus during my year here at INSEAD. It was also one of my reasons for applying to INSEAD in the first place.

However, as I am realizing right now, there is also a downside to this dual-campus system: as students move from one place to the other, it’s hard to keep in touch and maintain friendships among each other. One of my housemates, Samir, is going to Singapore for the next period and will be back in Fontainebleau for his last term in May/June, the term I am planning to spend in Singapore. So, even though he will continue his MBA studies for another four months, I won’t see him before he graduates.

One year is short as it is for networking – which I consider the most important aspect of an MBA program – and campus exchange makes it even more difficult. While it does enable you to meet more students, thus increasing the breadth of your network, campus exchange may negatively affect the depth of your network. Consequently, MBA students at INSEAD should put more effort into networking than their peers at other business schools.

There’s some food for thought.

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