IMD Cuts Required Essays In Half

IMD is ranked third among the top 50 business schools outside the U.S. by Poets&Quants.

IMD is ranked third among the top 50 business schools outside the U.S. by Poets&Quants.

IMD is making it substantially easier for people to apply to its prestigious one-year, general management MBA program in Switzerland. The school said it will introduce a new, pared down application on Feb. 14 that will cut in half the required essays for admission to the school.

The changes come in the aftermath of widespread cutbacks in the application requirements of U.S. business schools. Those changes were initially sparked in May of 2012 when Harvard Business School brought its required essays down to a pair from 400 and reduced word limits to 800 from a total of 2,000.  which were sparked when Harvard Business School. Since then, HBS has gone down to a single essay that it has made optional.

The new IMD (Institute for Management Development) application now requires three essays, down from six required essays and an optional essay. The change reduces the word limit to just 800 words from 1,800, not including another 200 words if an applicant chose to write the optional essay. There also will be what the school is describing as “minor” changes to the application itself.

IMD, ranked third among non-U.S. business schools by Poets&Quants, has long been recognized as one of a handful of schools in Europe that are widely counted as among the best in the world. Only London Business School and INSEAD, with MBA classes in France and Singapore, are ranked higher than IMD by Poets&Quants.


Lisa Piguet, associate director of MBA admissions and marketing at IMD, announced the change yesterday (Feb. 2) in an email to prospective applicants. “At IMD we always strive to improve our quality, which requires making continuous changes,” she wrote. “We are applying this spirit to the application process and would like to inform you that on Feb. 14th, 2014, between 10 a.m. and noon, Swiss time, we will roll out a new application.”

The school, which takes in just 90 MBA students a year, is already in its new application cycle. IMD’s round 1 deadline for admission to the program that kicks off in January of 2015 was Feb. 1. Its next deadline is April 1 with the school accepting applications until a final Sept. 1 deadline.

Piguet told potential applicants that if they plan to apply in either April or later in the year, “we strongly suggest you save a copy of what you have been working on up to this point, as yo might be able to use some of the information for the new essays.”


For applicants who want to file under the old application, IMD is extending the admissions deadline. “If you still prefer to apply using the existing essays and application, an extra 10 days will be granted, giving you until Monday, February 10th, 2014 midnight (Swiss time) to submit your application,” added Piguet.

Admission consultants say schools are reducing the required amount of work to apply to a business school to encourage more people to complete  applications. “This is an effort by IMD to better compete for applicants by reducing the ‘cost’ of the application,” said Linda Abraham, founder of, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm. “In this case “cost” means the time involved to prepare an application. It also appears that IMD will be relying much more on an applicant’s job history and resume to discern and evaluate multi-cultural exposure and perspective and leadership. Unless the ‘minor changes’ in the rest of the application ask about goals, IMD will make admissions decision without that information. Again, a change from previous years.”

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