The Pros and Cons of INSEAD

So here we go: first school to break down on the list is the first school I actually visited (was in Singapore for business this Spring and coincidentally, was able to attend a Friday evening informational session):

INSEAD aka Innovative, eNtrepreneurship, Sexy (and Socially Impactful), European, globAl, Diverse


  • Truly a global business school in terms of curriculum, diverse student body, companies that recruit,
  • Highly ranked and great reputation (outside of the US would be stronger than within the US)
  • Heavily recruited by management consulting, send many graduates into consulting, but also have strong entrepreneurial ties
  • Visited the campus and expressed interest, love that you can study on both the Singapore and Fontainbleu, France, campuses
  • Will only be forgoing one year of salary, though on the other hand, I’m not sure I can get all I want out of an MBA experience in just one year.
  • #28 on Beyond Grey Pinstripes for social impact

I love Singapore as a city and living in a French chateau for part of a year could be really freaking charming.  *Pardon my French, literally, because it is non-existent and I’m pretty sure any attempt will butcher the language and result in me inadvertently uttering an expletive.  Case in point: I love the word pamplemousse, and when I first learned the word in High School, I repeated it incessantly,  just because I liked the sound.  Little did I know it is also a slang term/insult, and learned that the hard way when I told a native French co-worker of my favorite phrase…good thing they understood my intentions..!

As much as Insead may fit my interests on paper, I’m not sure the “chemistry” is there.  I didn’t quite feel the “click” I was looking for when I attended the presentation, albeit I didn’t get a chance to look around the campus or speak individually with many students (talked with a few).  If I may make another one of my far-out stretchy analogies that I am prone to doing, Insead in many ways is like Viggo Mortensen, who embodies what many might consider a “perfect” renaissance man.

You are probably wondering who Viggo is.  Recognize him now?

Much like Insead, he’s got humor, charm, intelligence (he writes books! he paints! he photographs!), is socially conscious (started a publishing house for non-traditional authors), is bold (Aragon! Fight Scene in Eastern Promises!), plus is fluent in 5+ languages (you need to know how to speak 3 languages as a student at Insead), and is undeniably European too, Danish to be exact (cultural differences keeps things exciting!)

But chemistry-wise?  Yep, as dreamy as Aragon is, realistically Viggo is probably (and by probably, I mean definitely) not the guy for me.  There’s also that whole age thing, aka he is twice my age (average age of Insead students entering in is 29, I’d matriculate at age 25) aaaand I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t even know I exist :). Insead on the other hand – I hope they do – I made sure to RSVP and sign in!

From my visit and looking around at the prospective students around me, and the student panel in the front, my immediate feeling in the room was; I feel SUPER American and SO young – which might not necessarily be a bad thing. Is adjusting to living abroad going to be difficult at the same time as I’m learning 2 years worth of MBA curriculum in one jam-packed year?  Plus a European MBA may be very different than an American one in terms of the doors it opens and connections to students who will probably go on to work globally.  As much as I would love to be an expat for a short period of time, I don’t think I would want to live internationally the rest of my life….

In other news, I am now aiming for Round 2.  When I initially started, I thought I would submit to schools for R1, but after spending so much time on the GMAT and traveling for work, things have gotten pushed back.  I don’t think it will hurt my chances as much since I’ve read that many R1 applicants are typically the “traditional” candidates such as Management Consultants or I-Bankers who have others helping coach them through the process, they have everything in top-shape early on.  Hopefully my profile, despite being in “consulting” as the broader industry, would be considered more “nontraditional” or “atypical” and I can still get by with R2.  Plus that will give me enough time to build solid essays and enhance my work/community experiences.

Okay. Time to snooze.  I can’t believe my GMAT re-take is just a few days away…and this time, I really hope it will be my last!

Au Revoir, (one of the only other french phrases I know…)  Somehow I have a feeling I’ll be dreaming of Joey learning French from Phoebe..


Bucket List Continued:

28. Work and/or study in a different country for at least a few months.  Soak up the language, culture and grub.  Challenge myself outside of my comfort zone so that I can be truly adaptable to all situations.  Come away with a better understanding of how I fit into the global fabric and how I can contribute.

Mango is a consultant in the Pacific Northwest who is applying to business schools so she would graduate in the Class of 2014. This report is adapted from her blog posts at Por qué MBA? One Girl’s MBA Application Journey!

Her previous posts on Poets&Quants:

Introducing Mango and her pursuit of a seat in the Class of 2014

Why I’m Applying to Business School

Applying to B-School Is a Marathon–Not a Sprint

Making a Date with GMAT

Breaking 700 on the Third GMAT Practice Test

The GMAT Test Is a Beast!

A Happy Dance After Scoring 750 on a GMAT Practice Test

After a 690 Score, The Big Question: Should I Retake the GMAT?

After A Disappointing GMAT Score: Decompression and Detox in Vegas


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