Tips for INSEAD’s Career Essay Prompts

Tips for INSEAD’s Career Essay Prompts

Growth is everything at INSEAD. The “Business school for the world” specifically seeks out students who can demonstrate a fearless nature in overcoming challenges and have a strong understanding of how they will reach their goals.

To find these students, INSEAD’s 2021-2022 MBA application asks applicants to answer not one or two essay questions, but seven total short-answer essay prompts that are designed to act similar to job descriptions. The seven essays collectively round out to a 2,000-word limit and are broken into two sections: career questions and motivation questions.


The first essay prompt in the career section asks applicants the following:

Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved. (200 words maximum)

Experts say this first question should give admissions officers an idea of where you currently are in your career.

“In this question, be sure to mention your title, organization, location and major responsibilities,” Cassandra Pittman, an MBA admissions coach at Fortuna Admissions and  former member of admissions teams at London Business School and INSEAD, writes. “Do feel free to list a couple accomplishments if space allows, though don’t repeat the accomplishment you use in your accomplishment essay later in the application. If relevant, also include leadership and teamwork, and any international projects or work that has an international scope. Quantify as much as possible throughout.”


The second career essay prompt asks applicants:

What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (200 words max)

In this essay, Pittman recommends that applicants clearly convey where they are now within their company and industry and where they see their career trajectory going from this point forward.

“It’s best to be as straightforward with your answer as possible,” Pittman writes. “Say what your next promotion or title would be like to be and list any new responsibilities you may have and /or management of others under this new role.”


The third career essay prompt asks applicants:

Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words maximum)

The best way to approach the third career essay prompt is to see it as an exercise of going deeper into the journey that’s summarized on your resume.

“This is a critical part of your overall narrative as an applicant, so do be sure to give it the attention it deserves,” Pittman writes. “A wonderful feature of this essay is that it allows you to explain the value-add of career choices that may not be obvious from a read of your CV.”

The goal is to lead readers from where you started to where you are now.

“Approach this essay in chronological order, starting with your first role after university until present day,” Pittman writes. “Remember that you will have space to detail your accomplishments in your CV and in a later essay.”


The last required career essay asks applicants to do the following:

Discuss your short and long term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (100 words max)

With the tightest word limit among the career essay prompts, the fourth career essay is all about clarity and brevity. Pittman recommends that applicants highlight their immediate post-MBA career goal and their goals 10 to 15 years down the line.

“Try to get as specific as possible (even though it’s hard to know) with sample company names and ideas of certain titles of the jobs you seek,” Pittman writes. “You can even include geographic location. Ideally, try to include one or two sentences about why you are passionate about this career trajectory.”

Read tips for the INSEAD motivation essays here.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Fortuna Admissions, P&Q

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