INSEAD 2018-2019 MBA Deadlines

If you want to apply to INSEAD‘s 10-month MBA program, you have two important things to consider.

First off, INSEAD’s application is among the most grueling to complete, with six essay questions–more than any other business school–along with a video interview composed of four random questions that need to be answered within 60 seconds each.

Secondly, with two intakes in January and September and four rounds for each intake cohort, you effectively have eight different MBA application deadlines every year at INSEAD. So there’s always an opportunity apply as soon as you are ready.

For INSEAD’s September, 2019, intake, the round one deadline is a year before the program start on Sept.19th. Those applicants will hear whether they get an interview invite on Oct. 19th, with a decision due on Nov. 23rd. The round two deadline is Nov. 14th, with invitations to interview released a month later on Dec. 14th and decisions out on Jan. 25, 2019. Round three candidates must get their completed applications done by Jan. 9, 2019, for interview decisions on Feb. 8 and admit or deny decisions on March 15. Finally, the fourth round cutoff is March 6, 2019, with interview invites out on April 5 and final decisions due on May 10th.

INSEAD’s MBA Application Deadlines For The September, 2019, Intake

INSEAD Rounds Application Deadline Interview Invites Decisions
Round One September 19, 2018 October 19, 2018 November 23, 2018
Round Two November 14, 2018 December 14, 2018 January 25, 2019
Round Three January 9, 2019 February 8, 2019 March 15, 2019
Round Four March 6, 2019 April 5, 2019 May 10, 2019

For INSEAD’s January, 2019, intake, the round one and two deadlines have already passed. The round three deadline is June 20th, with interview invites out on July 27th and admit/deny decisions due Sept. 7. The round four and final cutoff for the January intake in 2019 is Aug. 1, 2018, with interview invitations out on Aug. 31 and final decisions due Sept. 28.

And for INSEAD’s January, 2020, intake, the round one deadline is Feb. 20, 2019, with interview invites going out on March 22 and admit decisions released on April 26. The round two cutoff is April 17, 2019, with invites to interview due on May 17, and final decisions out June 21. Round three candidates need to complete their applications by June 5 in order to compete for an interview slot by July 5 and decisions on August 9. Finally, the last round for the January, 2020, intake is July 24, with interview invites out on Aug. 23 and admit/deny decisions due Sept. 27, 2019.

INSEAD tries to keep the level of competition for its first three rounds the same but there is often a squeeze in round four applications, especially for common candidate profiles. Shortly after completing your INSEAD MBA online application, applicants will receive an e-mail notification from Kira Talent with a unique link to complete four video interviews. The video interviews do not replace the invitation-only, face-to-face interviews with alumni. INSEAD does not consider an application complete until it receives answers to the video interview so be sure to complete them no later than 48 hours after the deadline to which you are applying.


When it comes to admissions transparency, INSEAD isn’t at the top of any list. It does not share application numbers and acceptance rates. However, the school typically gets more than 3,000 applications a year and enrolls slightly more than 1,000 MBA students in its two intakes. The acceptance rate hovers around 30%, according to insiders, though it’s a self-selecting group due to the language requirement at the school. If English is your native language, you have to demonstrate at least a practical knowledge of a second language before the start of the program by passing a language test for your chosen second language. Once in the program, all students need to demonstrate at least basic knowledge of a third language (referred to as ‘exit language’) in order to graduate.

By the numbers, last year’s fall class is comparable to the previous year’s autumn intake, though numbers rose in several key measures. Notably, GMAT averages climbed for the 500+ student cohort, going from 708 to 712. This places the class four points higher than the London Business School – and 26 points above HEC Paris. By the same token, this average still lags behind the top full-time American programs, falling closest to the University of Virginia’s Darden School at 713. INSEAD, by the way, is almost alone in requiring a GMAT score. The only time the school will consider a GRE score is when the GMAT is not available in one’s home country.


“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of diversity at INSEAD. It is your application and you should express yourself. Do not be afraid to reflect your true self in your application and do not try to fit into a mould. At INSEAD, your classmates will come from different backgrounds and will think differently. Be ready to have debates with them to create innovative ideas. You might be inspired by your Iranian female group mate, while discussing a go-to-market strategy for an e-commerce platform or you might get valuable organizational behavior insights from a medical doctor in your class. In other words, having an ability to work with completely different profiles is a must to be successful at INSEAD.” — Sukru Dagdelin, Class of 2018 graduate now working at Bain & Co.

“I would advise an INSEAD MBA applicant to remain authentic and to value his or her international background, work experience and strong academic records.  I chose INSEAD as it is the only cutting-edge business school offering advanced management skills in a global environment thanks to its presence on three campuses (Fontainebleau, Singapore and Abu Dhabi) and the cultural diversity of its students and faculty, and the whole thing in only one year. This also perfectly meets my employer’s requirement, as I am not allowed to exceed one year of special leave from my position to come back in the Global Fund.” — Fatoumata Sy, Class of 2018 graduate of INSEAD

“Be honest and do not overcomplicate and overthink your essays. The Admissions Committee wants to know the real you, so the best way to do so is to tell it in a straightforward manner. For your GMAT, practice… a lot! Estimate an average of 1-month to fully focus on it, and do not underestimate the English section. Devise a clear and structured daily plan which suits your schedule, and try to get it right from the first time because that 5-hour test and the preparations for it is simply a painful process. For your recommendations, find a mix of successful individuals, who know you, and can give different points of views about you. This means do not choose the senior guy who has only met you a couple of times, but rather opt for your direct manager or junior client who can describe you well. And when you interview, you are almost there, relax and just be yourself!” — Nourhan Farhat, Class of 2018 student at INSEAD

“For schools like INSEAD that have four rounds of applications, there is no need to stress about applying in an earlier round hoping for a higher admittance chance at the cost of lower quality materials. It is important to apply whenever you feel you are submitting your strongest package. Have a strategy for your application as a whole. Think of the complete picture you want to present to the adcom and use every part of the application to deliver your messages. Having this in mind, think which messages you want to include in your essays. Learn about your chosen school wholeheartedly and make sure that you are applying to the right school. The more you learn about the school the better you can write the essays. Moreover, the MBA is a huge investment in terms of time and money, and it’s best that you spend it where you really belong. One of the key checkpoints of the adcom is to see if you are a fit for the school’s culture. So it would be logical to first check for yourself whether the school is a fit for you culturally and whether it meets your desires. Go beyond initial factors such as school’s reputation or concentrations and gain a deeper knowledge of the school’s culture and values.” — Rouzbeh Shirgiri, Class of 2018 student at INSEAD



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