What You Need To Know To Gain Acceptance To INSEAD

INSEAD Admissions Tips

INSEAD is ranked among the top business schools in the world year after year. What does it take to be admitted to INSEAD? How do you need to present yourself in your MBA application to get noticed? How do we advise our clients who are applying to INSEAD?

Here are the four things INSEAD is looking for in its MBA applicants.

1. The ability to contribute

This criterion includes making a positive difference as someone of quality and substance.  At INSEAD students interface with students, alumni, and faculty from around the world. INSEAD is seeking students who can articulate not only what they’ve done and what they plan to do – but who have the ability to communicate what they have learned from their experiences, how those experiences have molded their perspective, and how they can continue to grow in the future. Where does contribution fit into this picture? Students must be prepared to share their learning and growth with fellow students and others.

INSEAD wants to see long-term participation. How has an applicant been formally or informally active in their communities, work, school, social group, etc.? Be sure to highlight these activities on your application. They show your track record of involvement.

This criterion is made up of the following qualities:

  • Mature: This can be exhibited in many ways including honest self-evaluation, readiness to listen to and accept others’ opinions, the ability to ask for assistance, etc.
  • Energetic: This is exhibited by being engaged and curious. You can show this initiative by looking for new things to learn about, starting relationships and conversations, asking questions, etc.
  • Highly motivated: You can demonstrate this quality by revealing a need to explore ideas, places, things that are of interest or of concern to you.
  • Well-rounded: Show you have a variety of interests, abilities, and associates. Your life includes work, socialization, and pursuit of your interests.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: These skills are reflected in how you describe your contribution. Do you share credit with others? Accept responsibility? You must hone these skills and use them well to both achieve and get your points across.

2. International motivation

According to the INSEAD website, this means having “perceptive insights into the complexities of business in an international setting,” and includes “adaptability and flexibility in multicultural environments,” as well as goals with global dimensions.

In addition to having international work experience or multi-cultural experience, the successful INSEAD applicants need to have an international component to their focus, reflection, and growth.

The 3 qualities that make up this criterion are:

  • “Perceptive insights” regarding international business: Give rich, thorough insights from your experiences.
  • Adaptability across cultures: Using examples and stories, show your cultural flexibility, understanding, and what you gained from these experiences.
  • Global goals: Demonstrate cognizance of global trends for your target industry and how your goals fit in with these trends. Reveal goals that extend beyond your home or adopted country.

3. Academic capacity

INSEAD looks at how an applicant can grow, accomplish, and succeed academically in the future. The only way they can judge this is by looking at your academic record. Your undergrad record is evaluated in terms of your grades, rigor, and the competitiveness of the undergraduate school you graduated from.

Other considerations include:

  • What was the trend of your GPA? Showing a drop in GPA in the last year or semester is not a good indicator for academic capacity. However, an increasing GPA – even if the overall GPA is not stellar – can be seen positively.
  • How were your quant grades? These grades need to be consistently good.
  • Did you have a job while attending school? Be sure to include this on your application. The ability to perform well while working is a good indicator of academic capacity.
  • Do you have a graduate degree? Getting a graduate degree and performing well in that program demonstrates academic capacity.
  • How are your standardized test scores? The GMAT is required by INSEAD and there are minimum scores in both verbal and quant: 70-75% each.

4. Leadership potential

Leadership, for INSEAD, includes experiences that demonstrate leadership, as well as the values, nature, and foresight.

How do you demonstrate leadership potential?

  • Use examples and your resume to show leadership to this point. These can be both formal and informal leadership roles. Quantify if possible both the nature of your responsibility and the impact you had.
  • Whether in your essay, resume, interview, etc., use experiences that show elements of leadership. These are incidents that show qualities of leadership – courage, moral compass, ability to motivate people, set vision, listen carefully, organize in ambiguous situations, etc.
  • Talk about a leader you admire and whose example you learned from. This shows that you think about leadership and gain understanding from others that you can use it in your own situation.

Review these criteria and follow the recommended steps to show that you should be in INSEAD’s next class.

Do you need help crafting an application that highlights these four criteria? Are you applying to INSEAD or another top MBA program? The consultants at Accepted have helped thousands of MBA applicants gain admission to their top choice programs, and can help you too. Explore Accepted’s MBA Admissions Consulting & Editing Services for more information on how we can help you get ACCEPTED.

Cindy Tokumitsu has advised hundreds of successful applicants, helping them gain acceptance to top MBA, EMBA and other business programs in her 15+ years with Accepted. She looks forward to helping you too!

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