Monday, November 19, 2007

What is an MBA? What is INSEAD? Where is Fontainebleau?

Yess!!! As from January, I’ll be surrounded by people who know the answer to all these questions! And what a relief this will be!
I’m getting so tired of explaining all this over and over and over again.
Also because there’s no “right way” to explain it.
You can go for the “modest version”, and say that INSEAD is a business school in France, near Paris, and that’s it. But then the questions/remarks already start:

“What’s a business school / MBA?” (
“INSEAD? What’s that?” ( or )
“Why do it France? You have MBA’s in Belgium!”
“Why stop working for one year?! There are MBA’s you can do in evening school!”
“What does P’s employer say about this?” (euhm, well, they totally support him)
“But if you stop working as well, you don’t have an income?!” (yes, correct. We’ll live on bread and water for 6 months. Sponsoring is welcome :-)

All the above leaves you no other option but to switch to the “very hard to get in, one of the leading b-schools in the world – version”. And than you sound like you’re bragging and showing off! Which was really not your intention – you just wanted people to understand!

It keeps amazing me how little is known about MBA’s in general. People stare at you, completely baffled, when you say your partner stops working for one year “as an investment in the future” …And by this I’m really not looking down on all the people who have asked me one of the above questions or made similar remarks! I had to do some research myself when P announced for the first time he wanted to do an MBA….
This posting is simply a cry for help to all the PR/Communication people working for business schools. (Because I’m through with fulfilling this role for INSEAD, unless they start paying me)
- get the title “protected” in some way (because now you can almost get an MBA on every street corner)
- explain to the world outside “high-potential-land” what an MBA is, and why people do it in general. (I mean nobody still wonders what a university is, right? Why can’t the same be true for MBA’s?)

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