Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions
Insead Business School – Introduction
When it comes to rankings, INSEAD is on a roll. Insead Business School kills it when it came to “international course experience,”. INSEAD offers one of the shortest MBA programs available: students graduate in less than a year. Having a strong global mentality, Insead Business School prefers applicants who intend to work in a multi-national, multi-cultural environment. More than half of all students have already worked outside of their native country.
Insead Business School program is a rigorous that draws motivated, determined students from around the world. Insead Business School sees this vast cultural mix as a vital learning experience. The international environment makes for many opportunities for students to share and learn from one another about different cultures and business practices.
- It is a 1 year MBA and costs only 84K Euros. You can get the brand name and an amazing alumni network at half the cost and time of any Ivey league US B-schools.
- More than 40% of MBA end up in consulting world with an average salary of $103K.
- INSEAD prides itself on diversity of the batch and on average students have 2 years of international exp.
Things to Consider:
- Of course being at the top of the ladder, puts INSEAD out of reach and makes it tough to crack, and ofcourse it boast a very low conversion rate of 10-15%.
- INSEAD focuses a lot on diversity and international exp. Unless you have either of these, better save yourself and your recommender the effort of going thru 9 personal essays and 12 recommendation essays.
INSEAD Class Profile
INSEAD Placement Report
WINNING SAMPLE ESSAY
Briefly summarise 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. (short answer) *
After graduating from UNIVERSITY I began working as a manager in a unique cultural and geographic setting: interfacing with industry, the military and the Inuit community in the Arctic. At COMPANY I led large-scale environmental remediation and clean-up activities.
Every year I spent four to six weeks on site, where I worked twelve hours per day, seven days per week. My team’s end results were quantifiable and straight forward: Cleaning up 6k tons of soil polluted with petrol or 300k litres of water tainted with lead for the CLIENT 1, CLIENT 2, Mining Industries and Inuit communities. Yet managing these projects was more art than exact science – I often found myself improvising solutions as challenges arose from the physical environment, local employees and the Inuit community. For example, after some scheduling misunderstandings I ensured that Inuit employees’ cultural traditions were respected, scheduling the projects around important dates such as the Arctic Winter Games.
When at COMPANY headquarters in LOCATION, my focus was on new business generation. Over the course of my tenure I’ve worked alongside COMPANY’s COO and with colleagues on bids valued up to $100 million. Early on I was put in charge of the budgeting section for COMPANY’s largest proposal to date and afterwards I was invited to take a team leadership role on other major bids in excess of $10 million. For smaller contracts, up to $500k, I’ve been the team lead in charge of tendering, scheduling, client relationships, as well as on-site supervision of the work, reporting and budget management. Overall 50% of the bids I’ve worked on have been successful – a track record I’m proud of considering that there are usually 6 or more competing firms.
Were I to remain at COMPANY rather than pursue an MBA, I would continue as a project manager, gradually taking on more leadership opportunities and eventually being promoted to Team Leader. Given my penchant for big picture thinking and global work, my next step would be to get involved in one of COMPANY’s international projects in COUNTRY or COUNTRY.
Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer) *
Upon graduating I wanted a position working in the environmental remediation field which would allow me to challenge myself mentally, physically and culturally. The opportunity at COMPANY fit the bill with remediation activities in the Arctic! After all, how many engineers can tell stories of polar bear attacks and hail storms in summer?!
When I began at COMPANY my department was in difficulty. By the end of my first year all but one of my seven team members had left the company. This situation presented me with an opportunity to take on more senior-level responsibilities than someone in my position had in the past. I was able to shine professionally by demonstrating maturity and resilience to my supervisors. After a year, they asked me to oversee a million dollar proposal which I presented to COMPANY’s CEO and CFO. Soon afterwards, that proposal was accepted by the CLIENT. After just twelve months, I received positive feedback and a substantial pay raise in recognition of my increased level of responsibility within the department.
After gaining a solid foundation in headquarters LOCATION and the Arctic for two years, I accepted a position with COMPANY affiliate in COUNTRY. I wanted exposure to the different working style and technologies prevalent in the COUNTRY. While there, I gained experience in the management of hazardous waste material, notably asbestos. It also allowed me to gain an appreciation of the UK team’s unique risk management approach, which is still being developed in home COUNTRY.
Post-MBA my goal is to impact environmental problems on a large scale. Companies such as COMPANY X and COMPANY Y are at the forefront of the industry in terms of their cutting-edge technology and working methodology. Future industry leaders must be mindful of balancing economic and environmental interests if they are to achieve long-term sustainability. An MBA would mean a broad understanding of business coupled with the solid leadership skills I’ll need as I transition to a role as an Internal Consultant or Senior Project Manager in a global environmental consulting or operational firm.
Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with an mba from insead. (short answer) *
In the future I see myself playing a leadership role shaping the internet revolution. With the long-term ambition to found my own global internet company, in the immediate-term I plan to leverage my passion, drive and business acumen to make an impact as a team member of a Technology Practice Group at a global consulting firm like Bain or BCG. I am especially interested in advising businesses on online strategies to reach consumers, reduce costs or expand their market share. Gaining practical exposure to international businesses through consulting would help me to reach my entrepreneurial goals later in my career.
I believe that success in life as well as business, is built three foundational pillars: the analytical, creative, and social.
Analyzing and solving complex business problems with INSEAD classmates from a diverse set of backgrounds, I hope to both share and grow in my ability to analyze business decisions from a multi-faceted point of view.
My genuine desire to apply my creativity is most evidenced through my founding of .COM COMPANY, but I have likewise endeavored to bring a fresh perspective to issues like childhood poverty, in response to which I created the charity CHARITY NAME. I believe that I will further develop my ability to generate creative solutions alongside practitioners, professors and the alumni in the INSEAD community.
Finally, success is a result of the relationships we build and our awareness of the world. I am excited at the unparalleled opportunity to mingle with people from 80+ nations at INSEAD. Working, studying, and socializing with INSEAD classmates who bring a unique perspective to the table, by virtue of their origin and experience, I will be challenged to think beyond my current horizon, cultivate trans-cultural leadership skills and build an international network of life-long friendships.
I faced challenges in discovering the right marketing techniques, correct price points and managing financial matters at .COM COMPANY, I also became aware of several gaps in my skill-set. To grow professionally and achieve my career aspirations, I need first-rate business skills in the areas of sales, marketing and finance. INSEAD’s flexible curriculum appeals to my desire to build a portfolio of courses tailored to my needs and interests. [email protected] is of special interest to me as I endeavor to deeply understand value creation and competitive advantages in the digital economy.
I am convinced that INSEAD is an excellent fit for me and that a year within your community would mean the opportunity to continue to develop myself analytically, socially and culturally to achieve my goals of consulting and eventually building a global e-business.
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 (maximum 500 words). *
Growing up, an only child in a family of entrepreneurs, immersed in COUNTRY’s nature, my mother often pointed out my self-reliance and confidence – two characteristics that have helped me develop a strong internal compass, a sense of what I want to achieve as well as the drive to follow through on my objectives.
I’ve always been one for setting objectives. I believe that natural inclination allowed me to challenge myself socially, culturally and professionally. For example, having set a goal to work internationally, I took positions outside my comfort zone in both the Arctic and COUNTRY. At 18, I dreamed of travelling the world, in recent years I pursued opportunities to do so, visiting ten countries on three continents in the last two years. A more everyday example might mean taking the initiative to improve my excel skills by adapting a spreadsheet to reduce the time my colleagues spend recording budget information every week. In my personal life I set myself a goal of learning to balance on a tightrope and juggle.
I was greatly influenced by my father, a very even-keeled man I respect, who encouraged me to be more competitive with myself than with others. While some look for affirmation externally, I tend to look internally – using personal goals as a means of one-upping myself or topping my personal best. Rather than competing with others, I’m much more interested in a slow and steady race against myself: most recently I’ve been training to run my first marathon after completing two half-marathons last year.
Is it possible to be overly efficient? In theory the answer should be no, but in practice I’ve found that my penchant for productivity has been problematic on occasion. While it is a great strength when working on my own, when leading a team, I’ve learned to redefine the question of ‘what constitutes efficiency’. When volunteering with the Boy Scouts or while at work I’ve often run up against the following scenario: I’m trying to lead a group to consensus. The discussion is sidetracked by a team member. My impulse is to quickly move the conversation back on topic…but I’ve learned that what might seem like ‘lost time’ is actually necessary for group cohesion. Allowing individuals to contribute their opinions is important to their own self-esteem and promotes out-of-the-box thinking. I’m constantly trying to improve on my ability to facilitate individuals expressing their ideas while simultaneously moving the group towards our end goal.
I feel that my involvement in the Boy Scouts organization, my travels and work in remote areas have instilled in me an extremely adaptive and creative approach to problem solving. At COMPANY 1 my creativity was recognized by management when I developed new tools to simplify the regular tasks my team performs. This included the introduction of free drafting software to easily estimate surface area of plan and shorten our proposal work from one or two hours down to 15 minutes.
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(maximum 400 words). *
Picture it: Situated in the Arctic wilderness, at the Canadian Armed Forces’ relay station. Our protagonist doesn’t suspect that over the course of his sojourn: The client site supervisor will quit. He will battle days and days of fog which dash any possibility of moving equipment. Renegade shipping companies will lose critical samples. 300 metric tons of water will be discovered frozen solid. But the final coup de grace will come when the on-site team is attacked by a polar bear with an appetite.
Is this a) a trailer for the next Hollywood blockbuster or b) the most complex project I’ve ever encountered?
You guessed b? That’s correct! An end to the string of disasters came when I identified a common thread among the issues we encountered: Bad communication. I realized that good communication would be critical to preventing problems and low morale. During the project, I manned the phone from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm when I concluded my daily call with the client. On-site, I led daily stand-up meetings ensuring the team shared what they were working on. As a result everyone had an understanding of the project’s progression.
Clear communication and dedication from every team member, resulted in the project coming in on time and helped us secure three additional contracts with the same client! My boss was over the moon to have a new partnership with CLIENT, one of the biggest service providers in the Canadian Arctic!
John, the Boy Scout, was a complicated case. He rebelled against authority and had difficulty controlling his emotions. Recently he had insulted other teenagers and I felt that he no longer had a place in the troop. After much discussion, my team agreed to let him go – a decision that engendered tension among the troop leaders. One troop leader reluctantly agreed with us but harbored resentment because he felt he might calm down as time went on.
In retrospect I regret not exploring alternative solutions and feel that I pressured my colleague to go along with what I and the other leaders wanted. Later on I spoke with other troop leaders who had been in similar situations and learned of resources we could have leveraged. It was too late and I realize now that instead of remaining cool-headed I had allowed myself to make a decision under emotional duress. I continue to work on separating my feelings from my decision making both as a troop leader and in my professional life.
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? (maximum 300 words) *
While at UNIVERSITY I was involved in several clubs and activities. I was a student government member at large for the ASSOCIATION and co-President of my department’s delegation at the REGIONAL COMPETITION for two years.
However, the organization I’ve been most deeply involved with has been the Boy Scouts. At the age of eight I began with the organization as a Scout and continue to actively work with the Scouts to this day. I’ve been in a leadership role since YEAR, leading the guide troop, which consists of a group of 12 to 14 year-old boys with a group size varying from 12 to 16.
With weekly meetings, camping weekends, various fund raising endeavors, leadership training and other social activities, the Scout movement has been personally fulfilling. I estimate that in each of the three years I’ve led a Scout troop I’ve dedicated more than 600 hours of my time.
Throughout my years with the Scouts I’ve had the chance to work with many other NGOs: organizing blood drives, collecting food for the needy, cleaning the river shore and many other social engagements.
Leading a scout troop has been a way to give back to the community and the movement which taught me so much about teamwork, individual accountability and self-discipline. As a leader it’s been my privilege to pass along these core values to the next generation of Scouts. After all, how many 13 years old boys can claim they survived for 24 hours in the woods with nothing but a few matches, a rope and a tarp? Or that they slept outside in igloos when it was -30 degrees Celsius?
INSEAD Application Tips
INSEAD, “the business school of the world,” is a dynamic, diverse and highly international MBA option. Along with the basic MBA questions most other schools ask, Insead Business School is looking for significant exploration of your career goals and background. Along with career aspirations and leadership experience, an international focus is important to Insead Business School.
This year Insead Business School has added a required video interview component to the application process, which will be completed shortly after you submit your application.
JOB DESCRIPTION ESSAYS
Job Essay 1: Briefly summarise 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. (short answer)
This question should focus entirely on your current (or most recent) work situation. Though you will want to provide relevant context for your current role, make sure you are devoting most of the essay to describing the details of your day-to-day responsibilities and oversight. If you are lighter on supervising others or managing a budget, you have the opportunity to highlight some key responsibilities and results. When you are composing this essay make sure you focus on what you uniquely have contributed to the role, rather than reciting the job description. What have you done that is above and beyond?
Job Essay 2: What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)
Once you have described what you do at work currently, Insead Business School asks for you to imagine what you will do in the future. Because you are ambitious enough to be applying to Insead Business School, you are likely on a serious career track in your current company. If your boss has already talked to you about the next step this is an easy question to answer.
If you have not explicitly discussed promotion at work, what would be the next role you would ideally pursue? If you are pursuing an MBA because you want to make a career change or because the next step at your current company is undesirable for other reasons, this may be a place to describe what that next step would be and why you do not wish to pursue it (with more context provided in the long term goal section).
Job Essay 3: Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)
With this essay Insead Business School is seeking to understand your career trajectory and how you have grown and progressed through your career. Think about the choices you have made in your career, and how your past experiences have combined to provide you with your current skill set. If you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take this opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position to create the story of your past, present and future plans.
Job Essay 4: Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)
Since you have covered your current role at work, your hypothetical next step at your company and how you arrived at this place, now you can bring the story together to explain what you are pursuing an MBA from Insead Business School. While the best candidates for an MBA might be able to succeed without one, typically a top tier MBA like Insead Business School is an accelerator for your career – introducing you to a broader network than you would otherwise have, expanding your skillset into new functional areas and exposing you to people from around the world.
Think about how you plan to use your MBA to accelerate your career (or change paths entirely). If you did not attend Insead Business School, how would you achieve your goals otherwise? Think of this essay as a thought experiment to show that you can plan two routes to one goal, while perhaps demonstrating the superiority of the MBA path.
Optional: If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.
If you are not employed at the moment, you will want to answer this question to show how you are utilizing your time without full time employment. Ideally you are currently involved in an activity that is going to further your career or personal goals at this time. The best answer is one that shows you are self-motivated and do not need paid work to continue developing yourself.
For example, perhaps you are volunteering in a non-profit that is related to your career goals. Maybe you are working with a friend on a start-up. Or you are consulting and building contacts in your industry. If you are out of work only briefly, it’s also perfectly reasonable to be pursuing travel or other activities that develop your international awareness and perspective. However, make sure that your activities can tie back to your long-term goals or other key aspects of your application strategy.
Motivation Essay 1: 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 (approximately 500 words).
Strengths and weaknesses are a common topic for MBA applications and seek to understand your level of maturity and self-awareness. This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your skills and attributes that demonstrate leadership, teamwork or other qualities that will drive your future career success. Examples aren’t explicitly required, but consider that the admissions committee is reading a vast number of essays and concrete examples are both easy to understand and can help you stand out.
When describing weaknesses you will want to focus on those weaknesses that you have taken concrete steps to address, or that have been a route to learning more about yourself. Often strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin, in which case you can even tie your key weaknesses to your key strengths. Because it is often difficult to write about one’s weaknesses this is an especially important essay to share with others to seek feedback on tone and impact.
Motivation Essay 2: 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 (approximately 400 words).
This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great, but you will want to pay equal attention to explaining why these accomplishments are valuable to you. If you concisely explain the accomplishment and how you were able to bring it to fruition, you will have room to provide the context for your personal pride in the accomplishment. If you don’t have an achievement that you think is incredibly impressive on its face, consider an example that demonstrates the activities you value. Remember, not everyone has sold a company or won an Olympic medal prior to business school!
The flip side of achievement is failure, and Insead Business School wants to understand how you view both. When approaching any failure essay it’s important to use a real failure that has emotional resonance for you. An accomplishment framed as a failure will be easy to see through and will not demonstrate anything about your maturity or ability to grow. Your failure should be real, and also something that led you to grow or learn. If you can describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure that is an excellent outcome.
The third part of the essay deals with how these experiences impacted the others around you and what you learned. Whether you were part of a team or the main impact was on a loved one, this part of the essay encourages you to step outside your own narrative of success and failure and think about how you have impacted other people through your actions.
Most obviously a success led to happiness from a team or a manager, while a failure was disappointing to those around you. However, your particular achievement or failure could have led to a learning experience for your team, an opportunity for someone else, or a chance for you to be closer to another person through a team challenge. Think creatively about this aspect. Note that your application to Insead Business School ideally covers both the personal and professional. This essay could be an opportunity in this essay set to bring in a new angle on your profile through describing one of your most substantial accomplishments outside of work.
Motivation Essay 3: 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, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (approximately 300 words)
Nothing is more personal than what you choose to do outside of school or work. What are the most meaningful pursuits you have spent your time on? You should both describe the main interests you have outside of your professional pursuits and explain why they are meaningful to you and why you spend time on them. Ideally you can also explain how you will continue your involvement while at Insead Business School and cite some specific clubs or groups where you see your interests contributing to the community.
Optional Motivation Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approximately 300 words)
This essay is 300 words you can use for anything you would like to showcase and that you were unable to work into the rest of your application. Because Insead Business School’s questions are quite thorough you may have covered all aspects of your candidacy and personal qualities in the other five essay questions, in which case you can feel comfortable skipping this question (it IS optional). If you did not have a place for an interesting hobby, new aspect of your background to describe, or key accomplishment, it may be appropriate to use this space to tell that story.
It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. If you have any challenging aspects to your candidacy like a low GPA or a failing grade in college, this is the correct place to address those concerns. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue.
For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue, and relentlessly show why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.