Friday, October 31, 2014

4 weeks in 1 post

I have been so behind in updating my blog and now I am sitting here racking my brains about first of all, what I've been up to for the last few weeks and then about where to start and how. Anyway, here I go.

29 September to 5th October : Week of Ideas and Imagination

The two main events of this week were - one, the Start-up Bootcamp Weekend that my husband attended and the other, a presentation I attended by Caroline Watson, a Social Entrepreneur, 2011 Young Global Leader (WEF) and owner of Hua-Dan. Both these re-fuelled my brain and got me thinking about my own goals - in life including career. There was a sudden burst of energy within and out came tonnes of ideas. I began imagining and visualizing a myriad of possibilities of how I could really make an impact, stay true and motivated to my purpose in life.

Here is a bit more about the two events. First, the Start-up Bootcamp Weekend. It's a 48 hour intensive Bootcamp organised by the INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship. People who are venturing into the world of Entrepreneurship with an idea or would like to get a feel of what it's like are the ones who mainly attend and I guess also benefit the most out of it. It starts out on a Friday evening when the participants who have an idea give a one-min elevator pitch following which teams are formed for ideas that generate most interest. Friday's session lasted till 11 PM. It was the same evening as the Iberian Week Party, so some brave souls, including my husband were off to the party after the session that night. Like any other party, it was absolutely crazy. Hats off to my better half who survived the crazy night and was off early next morning for the intense day that was ahead of him. Saturday and Sunday was all about building a business plan for the idea. The teams were guided by expert investors and Sunday evening was the grand finale during which the teams picthed their business in under 2 minutes to another panel of expert investors and a winner was chosen. Having seen my husband go through one of the most intense yet fulfilling experiences ever, I can say that this has been one of his highlights of P1 (First term at INSEAD).

Second event that I really liked was the Presentation on Hua-Dan - A social enterprise that aims to bring about Social Change through Theatre. Given I am not into theatre at all, I went to attend the presentation to understand the scale of impact something like this can have and of course, the business model.  To say the least - I am glad I went and I was so inspired. The company uses such a creative way to make an impact and at some level it struck a chord. I reached out to Caroline, the founder, after the event to look at potential volunteering opportunities and things got more exciting. More on that some other day. But I highly encourage Partners to attend these presentations (those that are open to Partners) - it's a great way to find something for you to do, get inspired, meet inspiring people or simply learn.

6th October to 12th October: Week of consolidation and calm.

Given that my brain went into hyper active mode and all over the place with some crazy ideas of what I want to do in life, I had to really pause and take a breath. That is exactly what I did that week. Took a deep breath, thought more calmly about the ideas that were really feasible and finally narrowed down to two things I'd want to do - one in the near term and one in the long term. Because things are still in the nascent stage, will share more once I've completed certain milestones I've set myself.

Meanwhile, the same week,  we had another Partner's meeting to schedule activities for the month. Oh and yes, we finally got our residence permit card that week! Very smooth and straightforward process. Took us less than 2 hours if I recollect right.

The highlight of the week though was our trip down to Biarritz. Given I had hardly seen my husband the last weekend and the week, we decided to go on a short break to Biarritz. It's less than one and half hour flight from Paris and is absolutely gorgeous. Highly recommended for a short break.

13th October to 20st October : Week of Action and Activities.

 After the relaxing weekend came an action packed week. The Partners' activities finally kicked off and we had three events that week.

The first, a presentation on "Basics of Brand Marketing - How to market a brand". One of the Partners was a brand manager at P&G, one of the best marketing machines and she took us through the process P&G follows for a brand marketing campaign. This included a case study on Olay's Christmas campaign and was very interesting to learn what happens behind the scenes.

The second, a lunch gathering at La Grand Café followed by a walk in the Chateau Gardens. The plan was to visit Paris initially but because of the weather, we settled for this option. I couldn't join the ladies for lunch but met them for a walk after. I still can't get over the fact that such beautiful gardens are just a mere fifteen minutes walk from home. This is something I will surely miss once I leave Fonty.

And finally, the week concluded with an Indian Cooking Class hosted by two partners. I couldn't attend as my little boy decided to nap then, but the turn out was amazing. They had a fabulous time learning and tasting. They also had a "roti" (Indian bread) making competition in the end and the whole event was a super hit.

21st October to Today : Exams, Holiday and Back to the INSEAD Bubble

Following the exams, majority of the 15J batch were off on a holiday. Italy seemed a popular choice but so was Turkey, Georgia, Morrocco and Greece. It was a much need break after the busy exam week for the students and we chose to unwind in Capri. What can I say about the place. So beautiful, serene and perfect for relaxing with family. It felt good to take a break from the INSEAD bubble. But time flew and we were back early this week.

This week has been a quite one but next week promises to compensate for it. It's Desi National Week and is totally action packed. I will blog about the event in detail the week after. Other than that, Partners' cooking classes continue to be a hit with the next one being "Learn to make Tart Tatin" - yummy french apple tart, hosted by a French Partner and a Ukrainian one scheduled for next Friday. Will blog about these as well in more detail in the following weeks.

That's it for now.

Enjoy the rest of the week and weekend!