Applying to INSEAD – Things to Consider

INSEAD’s applications dates are available – the round 1 deadline will be September 21st! So, what do you need to be thinking about if INSEAD is on your list of potentials?

Applying to INSEAD is, in many ways, like applying to other b-schools: you need to blend solid work experience, good test scores, recommendations, and compelling narratives to convince an admissions committee that you’ll represent its institution well for the rest of your life. Pretty straightforward. However, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider as you gear up.

  • Languages – INSEAD courses are in English, but you can’t matriculate until you prove fluency in English + practical fluency in a second language. That can be a big (but not insurmountable!) hurdle for people who don’t speak a second language.
  • Nationality – No more than 10% of an incoming INSEAD class can have the same nationality. For example, in an incoming class of 500, not more than 50 students can come from India. This means there are two levels of admission competition: (1) you vs. all applicants and (2) you vs. applicants from your own country. Practically speaking, this matters because if you’re a dual citizen, there’s a chance that your application will be more competitive if your “primary” nationality is less common. That is, if you’re a citizen of France and Cameroon, you may want to apply as a Cameroonian.
  • International Experience – INSEAD doesn’t require applicants to have lived and worked overseas; yet prior international exposure remains crucially important to “The Business School for the World”. And with classes that often function like multinational boardrooms, it’s important that applicants demonstrate uncommon cultural adaptability.

OK, so that looks intense. What’s the upside?

  • Global Networks – An INSEAD cohort will typically include students from at least 75 countries. Grads then feed into an expansive global network of alumni. INSEAD’s 2015 class profile boasted students from 78 countries, and as of December 1 2015, INSEAD alumni led 8 FT500 companies – second only to HBS.
  • Value – The INSEAD MBA is significantly cheaper than all other top-tier programs because it’s compressed into one single, intense year. And when you consider that in 2016 The Financial Times ranked INSEAD as the best business school in the world – edging out both HBS and GSB – its value proposition is hard to ignore.
  • Classroom Experience – INSEAD is the only top b-school in the world with two full-fledged, parallel tracked campuses – one in France and one in Singapore. The majority of students take courses on both campuses, and some take advantage of exchange programs with Wharton and Kellogg. This global presence underscores INSEAD’s international DNA and prepares graduates very well for an increasingly globalized workplace.

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