Meet INSEAD’s Incoming Class of 2016

Members of INSEAD's Class of 2016

Members of INSEAD’s Class of 2016

INSEAD brands itself as the “business school for the world.” When it comes to the Class of 2016, you won’t find a more diverse collection of global-minded professionals anywhere.

How diverse? This August, 490 full-time MBA students arrived on the school’s campuses in France and Singapore (Another group of some 500 students will join the school in January to form the full Class of 2016). This first group of 490 includes students from 77 nationalities who represent 62 different countries. No less impressive, the class isn’t dominated by any single group, with the highest percentage of any nationality being 12%, says Virginie Fougea, the school’s associate director of MBA admissions. Forget any home field advantage: Just 4% of the incoming class hails from France or Singapore.

For students like Marie-Renée B-Lajoie, a Canadian physician hoping to apply business solutions to humanitarian challenges, the INSEAD model – learning international business through immersion in a cross-cultural atmosphere – was impossible to resist. “INSEAD offered the perfect mix for me. An intense, 10-month program, where international doesn’t only translate in a course abroad, but actually means engaging in the classroom everyday with individuals from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. I’ll be able to hit the ground running in a short amount of time, while broadening my perspective in global affairs. It’s an incredible opportunity to engage with students across two, and now three, campuses [Abu Dhabi] in three different regions of the world.”


INSEAD is no Tower of Babel, however. Before being accepted, students must demonstrate mastery of two languages (and be fluent in a third language required before graduation). While English is the prevailing tongue – with courses taught in it – the 2016 Class marks a turning point. For the first time, Mandarin is the second most-spoken language at INSEAD, a barometer of China’s increasingly vital role in global commerce. Similarly, Brazilians now rank among the top five nationalities at INSEAD, a long overdue nod to the largest economy in Latin America. In addition, 30% of the class consists of women, with the average age of the incoming class being 29.

Virginie Fougea of INSEAD

Virginie Fougea of INSEAD

The 2016 Class, which will graduate in July of next year, is equally rich when it comes to their backgrounds. “As usual, we have students coming from all walks of life,” Fougea points out. “They have past experience in a wide range of industries such as media, travel and leisure, healthcare, advertising and publishing as well as those who have ventured into entrepreneurship.” Specifically, 26% of this year’s full-time cohort comes from consulting, followed closely by financial services (22%). Students who worked in consumer and luxury goods (10%), high tech and telecommunications (9%), energy (7%), manufacturing (6%), and public sector social impact (6%) also comprise significant blocs of INSEAD’s 2016 class. Overall, says Fougea, the class’ work experience ranges from two to 12 years, with the average being six years (slightly lower than the previous year).

The full-time class also distinguishes itself academically, bringing a 705 average GMAT to INSEAD, which is slightly higher than previous classes says Fougea. This class also skews more towards quants, with business and administration (32%), engineering (29%), and economics (13%) accounting for nearly three quarters of the class. They were followed by the sciences (8%), law and political science (7%), humanities and arts (5%), and media and communication (2%).

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.