Posted by: vlibrizzi | December 18, 2009

It started with snow, it ended with snow: C. graduates from INSEAD

Yesterday we woke up with the same reaction we had on our very first morning here in Fontainebleau, “What the heck!?!?! I think it’s snowing outside!!!”

Apparently, it never snows here in France. The last major snowstorm they had here in Fontainebleau, according to the locals, was 7 years ago (before last January, that is!).

Well, hah! 

It started snowing here yesterday morning and now, at 10 am on the day after the graduation….it’s still snowing!!!!

So, suffice it to say, all of the snow made for quite an interesting graduation day. But in the end, everyone who was flying from Singapore to attend the event arrived (except for the Dean of the MBA program who was too sick to fly), and the graduation went off without a hitch. 

After the ceremonies, we joined all of the other MBAs and their families for cocktails at the Camembert and at the INSEAD bar. It was a really nice opportunity to  say goodbye and good luck to so many of the people we’ve met this year. 

Then, we had graduation dinner at Denise’s (our French neighbor) house where she served us a “traditional French meal” of:  frogs legs (which tasted like chicken), escargot (yum!), a filet du boeuf, a wonderful cheese course of rocamador, livarot, and brie de meaux, and for dessert, a bottle of 1994 Sauterne with a decadent Paris-Brest cake (a thin cake filled with hazelnut cream). The meal was absolutely delicious! And, as we left, Denise told me that all of the recipes she made for the dinner are in her cookbook, which she gave me a copy of, so I think I have a lot of work to do when I get back to the U.S.—it won’t be easy to replicate that meal, for sure 🙂


Although C. was the man in the spotlight yesterday, I felt a bit like I was graduating too. We both had to say goodbye to dear friends that we made this year, and also say goodbye to France, a country that we really have fallen in love with. Not such easy things to do, but as I reassured C. last night…we’ll keep in touch, and we’ll be back to France sometime soon.

I’ve included some photos from the graduation ceremonies below:

The graduate standing in front of the hotel where his parents were staying, posing for a quick photo before his last squash game at INSEAD yesterday morning. 

The INSEAD dean giving his welcoming address. The graduation was in a tent outside….in the snow! But, rest assured, it was quite warm in there, and it was nice to be able to look out the plastic windows to see the snow falling.

C. after receiving his diploma

Some friends having champagne at the cocktail

The INSEAD Partners….what a great group of friends from all over the world! 

C. posing for a photo with some of his MBA friends

And, a final photo of the graduate with his diploma in front of the INSEAD sign


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