Category Archives: pictures

Traveling South East Asia

To all my loyal readers out there, I hope you had a relaxing and joyful holiday season, and my best wishes to you and your families for 2007! My year at INSEAD is now over, so I only have a few posts on my blog left describing the final stages of my studies.

The first one is about my weekend trips in Asia. After completing my job search and most of my credits in P4, I had some time in P5, i.e. November and December, to explore South East Asia. If you have the opportunity to spend some time on INSEAD’s Singapore campus, don’t miss out on all the traveling.

For some reason, B turned out to be the name of the game. Besides my trip to Bali, I also spend a few days on Boracay, a beautiful tropical island in the Philippines, and Bangkok, Thailand’s unique and vibrant capital. Oh, and we did hike through Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in the middle of Singapore.

In the middle of November, we took off to the Philippines. Boracay, apparently the most developed holiday destination in the country, is simply amazing. White Beach streches along its south western coast line as far as the eye can see, and the sea is clear and colorful. Don’t miss out on the fruitshakes from Jonas or happy hour cocktails at sunset!

White Beach White Beach again
Boracay sand castle Sunset over White Beach

Hiking through Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is an experience out of this world – a tropical rainforest in the middle of Singapore, the city of fancy cars and skyscrapers. And it’s good for your health, too!

Ready to rumble! Stairway to … well, the top of the hill

For my last weekend in Asia we booked the Lebua, a luxury hotel in Bangkok‘s State Tower. The top floor is home to The Dome, a fancy restaurant, as well the Sky Bar, a place for the bold and the beautiful, with breathtaking views of the Thai capital.

The State Tower The Dome at night
One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster … … the bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free

Bangkok is a city of extremes – tranquil Buddhist monastries next to the bustling temples of modern capitalism (aka. shopping malls), the world’s most expensive sports cars next to rattling tuk-tuks, and European designer clothes next to panhandling beggars. Wat Pho, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple, is home to the Reclining Buddha, a gigantic gold-plated statue – definitely worth a visit.

Great food is available in abundance, although the Thai cuisine is a bit too spicy for my European taste buds. For an excellent surprise menu in an extraordinary setting, try the Bed Supperclub; for original Thai cuisine, head over to Baan Khanita. Thanks to Mickey and Lindsay for those delicious recommendations!

Reclining Buddha Wat Pho
Shopping Temple No, no, it’s not spicy …

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The end is near

Today I am getting nostalgic. After returning from Singapore last Thursday, joining some 150 classmates of mine for our graduation trip in Val Thorens (see photos below) and spending the night at Shangri-La (thanks Will!), I am back on the Fontainebleau campus for the first time after six months. Every step brings back memories, about National Weeks, Vorspiel Friday, as well as 8:30 lectures, endless group meetings and gruelling exams.

Will and me on top of the mountain Val and Will skiing down
Ready to hike Hiking in snowshoes

Tomorrow afternoon is our graduation ceremony at the Palais de Congrès in Versailles for which my parents and my brother will be in town as well. In the evening we have our graduation party, the final event of my MBA program. The end is near.

I have been asked whether my MBA has been worth the investment – and without a doubt, the answer is yes. Not only did I meet exceptional people, learned a lot about subjects of interest to me and visited exotic places all around the world. Most importantly, the MBA program opened my eyes for a range of career options unknown to me before, and gave me the tools and the courage to pursue them. I am looking forward to the road ahead.

Trip to Bali

Last week we flew over to Bali for a long weekend – an incredibly beautiful island! We stayed at the Sienna Villas, a couple of truly spectacular houses in Seminyak. If you are looking for a quiet and relaxing hideout, this is where you want to go. A nice garden with swimming pools, spacious rooms, comfortable beds as well as drinks, food and massages on demand – what else could you ask for?

Deck chairs and pool Pool and barbecue pit
Small villa and pool Main villa

On Friday, we hired a driver to take us around the island – we had lunch with a spectacular view of the volcano, visited the monkey sanctuary in Ubud and enjoyed the sunset at Tanah Lot, one of the Balinese sea temples.

The volcano Matt, myself and Bruno at lunch
A monkey enjoying a banana Another monkey poses for the camera
In sarongs and scarves at the temple Tanah Lot

After a wild party on Friday night – both outside and inside our swimming pool – we spent Saturday on the beach and in our villas, and ended the day with sunset cocktails at Ku De Ta and a delicious buffet dinner back at our place.

Fun at the pool If everybody had an ocean, …

Thanks to Ellen and Turab for organizing this unforgettable escape.

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Halloween Party

As expected, my last period here at INSEAD is much more relaxed than the previous ones – we go out a lot, have dinners together and just generally enjoy life.

Last Tuesday we had our big Halloween party at Lindsay’s place here at Heritage View. Great fun, even though I’m not sure I remember it all :-) Enjoy the pictures!

Marwan and Tamora looking alike The Grim Reaper and the Cleaning Boy
Witches of the World Unite! Custom Pumpkin Carving (notice the INSEAD one on the right)

Air Guitar at Momo’s

Anand and myself celebrating the beginning of P5 at Momo’s last week. Thanks to Tom for the pictures!

Anand and myself at Momos Air guitar at Momos

No news is good news

So you thought this blog is dead right? Yes, I have been a bit quiet around over the past two months, but nothing to worry about. I’m currently enjoying Singapore, and now I’m back to blogging.

Spent the summer in Munich, working on two different projects. First, I interned with Yahoo! Germany, working on forecast models for their page view inventory and advertising revenue. Online advertising is an interesting business, and the market is growing like crazy right now. But despite having the highest number of unique users among all internet sites, Yahoo! is not able to monetize them – in case you missed the past few months of coverage on the subject, see articles on Yahoo’s own Finance site from July 19 and September 19.

In August, I helped a friend of mine to get a startup off the ground – novoCampus, a social network for university students in Germany. The site isn’t up yet, but the guys are working hard to get the first version out in the next few days (in German only). Exciting stuff.

While in Munich, I stayed with my cousin Stefan and his wife Iris in Solln, a beautiful suburb of Munich. They did ask me to put some photos of them online, but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get them on camera over the summer – so I thought I’d include some pictures from the past. Iris and Stefan, do you remember when they were taken?

Iris and Stefan Iris and Stefan

In the end of August I flew to Singapore, where I am spending the remaining two periods of my MBA studies. Life here is very different than at home, but I am slowly getting used to it. Outside it is constantly warm and humid, and inside they love their air conditioning systems like there is no tomorrow. But the food is great – most exotic items I’ve tried so far include original Bejing Duck (you eat the skin, not the meat) and life shrimp (that’s right, it’s still moving while you crack its head!). Very good, I must admit!

Below a few pictures from my flat at Heritage View, an apartment complex close to campus – never lived in an apartment with a swimming pool before, so I am enjoying myself :-)

My room Our living room

School’s Out Forever for Summer

So it finally did happen – we finished P3. I know it’s been only 2 weeks, but somehow it feels like ages ago already. On Thursday, June 29, we had our last core exams (and since most of our electives do not have any exams, these may have been our last exams ever :-), Politics in the morning and Macroeconomics in the afternoon. With all the assignments due to the last minute and those exams to prepare, I didn’t even have time to realize that by Friday morning, I was leaving Fontainebleau for good.

Yes, that’s right – since I will be spending both P4 and P5 in Singapore, I won’t be back at the Camembert this fall. No more champagne parties, no more weekend trips to Paris. Even our graduation in December, for which I will return to France, takes place in Versailles, not Fontainebleau, so I guess I’ll have to wait until my five-year reunion before I get to see Amphi A again.

It’s very sad to know that I won’t be seeing some of my classmates until graduation. As I said before, INSEAD’s 10-month program is short as it is, and the campus exchange with Singapore makes it even shorter.

The E6 pyramid, left side, ... ... and right side (yes, the one behind Dan's pink shirt is me :-)

Of course, we had to celebrate this occasion in style. After a relaxed E6-only BBQ in Arbonne-la-Forêt (thanks to Oren, Karen and the rest of the crew), we headed off to Shangri-La for our biggest champagne party to date. After lots of champagne (not for me, as I was driving), we got into all sorts of section-bonding activities: first, Charles talked us all into forming a human pyramid (above), then we talked Charles into going for a swim (below).

Charles looking forward for a refreshing dip in the pool Charles thanking his classmates for the idea
Splash!

In the end, we followed his example and continued the party in the pool, despite the somewhat chilly weather. The cold the next morning was well worth it.

E6 in the pool

PS: We finally got our E6 T-shirts. Thanks to Pateel’s design, they really are the sixiest thing on campus.

T-shirt front ... ... and back