6:30 am-alarm clocks start buzzing for the most courageous ones. Indeed, Theana and Hugo (two counsellors) have volunteered to take the willing students on a very early run. Theana is swiftly leading a group of girls around a clear pathway in the Fontainebleau forest. On the other hand Hugo is trying to lead a group of enthusiastic boys through a few unknown paths. Worse, he realises that he may be the one who will struggle to keep up with these athletes!
Following this morning activity comes a well-deserved breakfast, and at 8:45 is the usual debrief lead by counsellors and Miguel Lobo. The students have well understood the classes from the day before, and have heard the final information on the upcoming talent show.
However, the most important part of the day is most certainly what comes just after; the beginning of YFCD! This acronym means “Your First Hundred Days” (with the letter C referring to the roman numeral 100). For the remainder of the program, students will be facing the very difficult but incredible experience of simulating the acquisition and then the managing of an imagined company, Maywood Cycles. At the heart of this program is Adrian Johnson, teacher at INSEAD. Over the weeks preceding [email protected] he sent the students many documents covering the details of the company, from the history of the company, to the financials or the production route of the bicycles. This will all be very new for the students, who however seem extremely eager to learn. In groups of 5, they have already created themselves a team name, (some very funny ones) and decided which role each member of the group will take on.
During the morning session, Adrian shows the students a couple of videos of the different members of the staff of Maywood Cycles, and also gives quite a bit of information on more precise and specific details of the company. This will prove to be crucial in the following negotiations between students and counsellors, who will be taking on various roles during the process, such as representatives of HSBC.
A little before 11 o’clock, students regrouped and started preparing for the upcoming meetings.
Then follows a series of quick meetings between each group and several entities. The students must negotiate the best possible deal for their new company. The negotiations are intense, as each group is trying very hard to prove how they have the upper hand. The rapid lunch break is used as a way for all to regroup and prepare for the next meeting. The afternoon is thus quite similar; intensity has not dropped, as the students are faced with new difficulties within their firm. Adrian then steps in to reflect on the day and explain the students how they should have approached each situation. This is extremely useful for the students, who will now be able to reflect on these experiences and thus be more prepared on how to react if the same situation were to occur in their lifetime.
Late afternoon, students can now go outside and enjoy the sun. They now face a lighter task of teamwork. Indeed they are put into larger groups and have to prepare for an upcoming kart race. However it is not that simple, they must modify their kart in order for it to gain speed. Smiles can be seen everywhere, as each group discusses the best way to approach the situation. In the end, it can be called a win for everyone, as clearly all have enjoyed it, and students now rush to dinner.
The final activity of the day consists of a movie about a failed attempt to climb Mount Everest. This movie, along with a written story that the students received prior to the program, are meant to prepare for the class of the following day. Indeed, Ludo Van Hayden (former Dean of INSEAD) will deliver a class on teamwork, by using these sources as examples. The students seem to enjoy and engage with the film very much.
They are also extremely pleased because they can enjoy an extra hour before curfew tonight! As usual, some are a little tired and decide to go to bed, some others are outside playing Ping-Pong and a final group are playing the piano/guitar, to the huge delight of the counsellors, still in awe of these talented students. Finally, a little reluctantly, the last students are brought to bed, as the first week of [email protected] comes to an end.
Counsellor at [email protected]