Meet INSEAD’s Incoming Class of 2016

Alexander Abasheev-Insead-PoetsAndQuants-Classof2017

Alexander Abasheev


Hometown (City and State): Moscow, Russia

Undergraduate School and Major:Moscow State University of Civil Engineering, Major in HVAC and Gas supply engineering.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: 

  • HVAC design engineering company Termek – Engineer
  • HVAC design engineering company Termek – Senior Engineer
  • Family company – Sales Engineer
  • Family company – Head of Tender Group
  • LLC Storm Properties – Deputy Project Manager
  • LLC Storm Properties – Construction Manager

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? 

  • Take the free-practice GMAT test.
  • Identify the weakest areas and make them your best areas.
  • If you are not a native English speaker, do the verbal section without a dictionary – you may find it difficult but it’ll pay off in the end.
  • Always try to understand why you made a mistake so you can learn from it.
  • Establish a good study discipline and sharp schedule – this is arguable, but it worked for me.
  • Finally, the GMAT is not everything, essays are also very important.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? 

  • Don’t settle for less, but at the same time, look for the school where you can grow and feel comfortable.
  • Look at how each school will meet your specific career and personal perspectives.
  • Go to the school that understands and values your qualities, experiences, and background.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf?

  • Apply when you feel ready. Don’t rush it because of the 1st or 2nd round deadlines.
  • In the essays, be yourself. Ask your friends and colleagues what they respect about your professional qualities and personal traits. Identify your strengths over other qualities. Think about why you are different from other people who are applying to the school. I recommend reading student profiles online as the process will become easier.
  • For the recommendation letters, choose people where there is mutual respect. If this is the case, they will be happy to write you a recommendation letter.
  • I think it is important to be yourself during your interviews too. Tell your story, inner motivations, and doubts. It’s also a chance for you to ask important questions about the school.
  • Finally, if you are rejected from a particular school, this is not always bad. Actually, the rejection might help you realise that the school was not a good fit for you and it will refocus your efforts.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I first began thinking about MBA programmes about four years before I got into INSEAD. Grand names of US schools such as, Harvard, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Columbia, Berkeley were quite appealing at first. However, I did not know much about them or about INSEAD. One year later, I went to visit a couple of US schools and decided to live in the surrounding areas for some time. Unfortunately, the US schools I visited did not feel right for me – even though the projections and advertisements continued to tell me otherwise. Around the same time, I heard about INSEAD from some of my peers. They said it was a top-tier school but they reckoned it was really hard for Russians to get in since they had too many Russian applicants.

I waited to make a decision, and finally, the idea of business school came back again. And here, I believe my judgment was more mature and I really knew what I wanted. This was my short-list of requirements:

  • Top-tier school
  • As much international experience as possible
  • One year program, because of money and time efficiency
  • Cultural fit
  • Exposure to both Europe and Asia.

Taking all these points into account, there was no competition for INSEAD.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? There are a couple of important goals for me. They include:

  • Enriching my inner world through interactions with highly intelligent and talented people from all over the world.
  • Experiencing and excelling in the highly rigorous curriculum of the school in order to gain in-depth knowledge of business fundamentals.
  • Finding my own career path and my own motivation for success.
  • Finding new friends from all over the world.

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