This is actually a backdated post, which I should of published months ago. In the last few months of the year, I attended a few open days & evenings and wanted to share my thoughts. i visited INSEAD back in September and attended one of their open days.
By the time it had come to September, I knew INSEAD was one of my top choices mainly due to the structure of the MBA programme, the multiple locations and the international alumni network. Not wanting to waste anymore time, I made the commitment to visit the school. Thankfully living in London, a Eurostar to Paris is not only cost effective (about £60 return) but time efficient. Plus with a good friend of mine living in Paris, staying with them helped ease the accommodation costs and accompanied me to the open day.
Anyone interested in attending INSEAD and dreaming of having lunch breaks by the Eiffel Tower and creating study groups on the Champs-Élysées will sadly be disappointed. INSEAD is about a hour and half out of the centre of Paris. We took a train from the busy station of Gare Du Lyon to the quiet town of Fontainebleu. From there we caught a bus which swirled around the picturesque town and arrived just a stones throw outside of the European campus.
Due to some timetables and missing our train at Gare Du Lyon, we arrived slightly later than planned. The campus was quite peaceful, maybe because it was a Saturday and only a few brand led talks and receptions were going on. I saw signs indicating to a L’oreal champagne reception. Swanky!
Us visitors were seated in a large lecture style theatre and we walked in towards the end of a professor going through a typical business case and complete financial analysis. I was assured by my neighbour, that we didn’t miss much…thankfully. The programme swiftly moved on to a panel of 5 current INSEAD students, 3 females and 2 males. A Israeli Canadian, an American, a Canadian with Asian heritage and two Europeans. I appreciated the mix and diverse backgrounds, but it would of been great to see one black person at least! Alas the panel begun with each candidate giving us a brief overview of their profile and how they arrived at INSEAD. Then the questions started. With close to 100 visitors, the questions came thick and fast, which probably wasn’t expected, but each candidate answer well and gave full useful answers.
They described the importance of the network, the diversity of the multiple campuses and the sacrifices they had made to get to INSEAD – one of them even sold their house and their business to pay for B school and be debt free once graduated! They delved into the lengthy application form and their top tips, which was most useful. The panel portion was definitely active and impressed me with their honest and transparent answers, which made me fall in love with the school even more.
The programme ended with the admissions team throughly going through the application process, stressing the importance of their proven criteria for applicants, including knowing TWO languages to business level and learning a THIRD as apart of the graduation process.
We then left the theatre and had drinks and nibbles with more current students and each other. The informal reception allowed me to reconnect with the one of the INSEAD admissions team that I met in London a few weeks previously, as well as exchange details and discuss in length with the students.
Overall I was throughly impressed, felt welcomed and eager to join the INSEAD fold. Investing in the open day helped me make the decision about which class I wanted to apply to (Dec Vs July) , comforted me about my profile particularly as a black female and sparked the daydreams about the day I am accepted.
– One year programme
– Can include a opportunity for an internship
– Well connected globally, with partnerships with Wharton, Kellogg and Sorbonne and campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi
– Opportunity to study across campuses, experiencing life in different countries
– Strong consulting, technology and retail connections
– Friendly atmosphere, emphasis on building friends instead of networks.
– Small number of black alumni, like very small. Talking about 10 in a class of a 1000!
– The application portion which has 7 – YES SEVEN – essay questions
– The ability to know three languages proficiently before you can graduate
– Not sure how INSEAD is viewed in the states, but often times overlooked by those who don’t know the in’s and out’s of top MBA school. Doesn’t hold the same status to the everyday person as a Harvard or a Oxford.
Have you visited INSEAD before or is it on your school picks? If so what are your thoughts?