• abhinavravi

MBA Spotlight Series: INSEAD

In today’s article of the MBA Spotlight Series, we take a trip across the seas over to Europe, as we look at INSEAD: The Business School for the World.

The Basics


Founded in 1957, INSEAD has grown in stature and reputation over the past 60 years and is widely regarded today as one of the best business schools on the planet.


The MBA program is 10 months long, which is targeted towards more experiences candidates as compared to typical 2 year MBA programs in the US. This is reflected in the fact that the average full time work experience of the current batch is 5.6 years, and the average age is 29. INSEAD also attracts an incredibly diverse and global cohort, with 88 nationalities being represented in its current batch.


The MBA program has two separate intakes, in September (Class on July) and in January (Class of December) and each intake has four separate application rounds. Details for the latest application deadlines can be found here.


The program was ranked 3rd and 4th in the FT Global MBA rankings for 2019 and 2020 respectively.


Key Program Details


  • Multiple Campuses: In line with its global outlook, INSEAD offers its students the choice of two campuses, in Fontainebleau, France (near Paris) and in Singapore. The location of these campuses in the business hubs of Europe and Asia provides students with the world of professional opportunities.

  • Catalyst for Change: The career outcomes for INSEAD students are a reflection of the program’s ability to offer students the best opportunity to change their career trajectory. 79% of graduates change their sector, function, or country and they are employed in 61 countries worldwide post-graduation.

  • Academic Experience: Despite being less than one year in duration, INSEAD does not compromise of the quality and variety of academic experiences in offers its students. The MBA program consists of 14 core courses, the choice of over 75 electives, a Capstone course, and the opportunity for campus exchanges with Wharton, Kellogg, and CEIBS.


Admission Criteria


The MBA application for INSEAD is one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive amongst top global programs. It consists of academic performance, test scores, professional experiences, recommendations, and seven mandatory written essays, along with 4 video essays.


INSEAD also clearly defines the four qualities it looks for in successful applicants,

  • Ability to Contribute: The school wants students who can share insights and knowledge that they have gathered from their past experiences. It emphasizes that a large part of the MBA experience is the peer-to-peer learning and they look for candidates who can contribute to it.

  • Academic Capacity: With such a rigorous program, Insead requires its students to have the highest caliber of academic potential, which is assessed through their undergraduate performance and GMAT/GRE scores.

  • International Motivation: The school looks for candidates with a strong international focus, and as such most students have studied or worked outside their home country for some duration of time. They may also show their international motivation in other ways, such as speaking foreign languages, working with multinational teams etc.

  • Leadership Potential: As with any top MBA program, Insead looks for leaders. They identify a candidate’s potential and proof of leadership through their past experiences and professional achievements.


Essay Questions


As mention earlier, the INSEAD MBA application includes seven essay questions, making it a very challenging process. The essays cover a range of topics, from personal to professional, and seek to understand the candidate in complete detail. The essay topics are subdivided into 2 parts - Job Description essays and Motivation Essays.


Job Description Essays


Through these essays, INSEAD aims to clearly understand the professional development journey of its candidates. The questions seek to clarify the professional responsibilities, growth and expectations of the candidates in the form of short answer questions. The essay questions are listed below.

  • Briefly summarize your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (200 words)

  • What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (200 words)

  • Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words)

  • Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (100 words)


Motivation Essays


The motivation essays play a significant role in helping INSEAD understand a candidate's personal values, and motivation for pursuing an MBA. The essays explore how candidates have introspected and understood what motivates them in life and which values do they hold dear. These questions have a higher word limit than the Job Description Essays, and provide ample space for the candidates to give the school a peek into their lives.


  • Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (500 words)

  • Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words)

  • Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words)


Career Outcomes


INSEAD is one of the best pathways to a challenging and rewarding global career. The career outcomes of Class of 2019 to highlight this are,

  • 92% of graduates seeking employment received an offer within 3 months of graduation.

  • The average base salary was $105,900 and the average expected performance bonus was $23,500.

  • 39% of the class were employed in Europe and 27% in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • A massive 51% of the class were employed in management consulting roles, with 18% joining roles in technology and 12% in finance.


The INSEAD MBA is an incredibly fast-paced, rigorous, and challenging B-school experiences in the world, which is also what makes it one of the best. For any MBA aspirants slightly higher up on the experience ladder, INSEAD should definitely be at the top of your list.


Abhinav is a commerce graduate of H.R. College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai currently pursing a career in finance at Deloitte. He is an avid sports lover, particularly of badminton, cricket and football, and also enjoys playing the guitar.


He has an admit to the ISB PGP for the Class of 2022 through the YLP program.

Management Masters is a boutique admissions consulting firm for the top MBA and MIM programs in the world. We have helped our candidates get admits from the world's best business schools such as Wharton, Kellogg, Cambridge Judge, HEC Paris, Indian School of Business and others.


If you would like to work with us for your applications, drop us an email at contact@managementmasters.in

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