The INSEAD MBA: What You Need To Know
When it opened its Singapore campus in 1999, INSEAD became the first business school to have two campuses with permanent faculty staff. It has since added a third, in Abu Dhabi, and in 2019 a fourth in San Francisco, and with a total of 90 nationalities in its two 2019 MBA intakes INSEAD claims that “no other business school offers such a multicultural experience.
Of the last MBA cohort, around 70% of students transferred between campuses. After graduation, over half of MBAs changed country. Two-thirds of students are from outside Europe, and the school has doubled the percentage of women on its MBA course in recent years, to almost 40%.
A school whose main campus is a sleek a modernist building in the forest of Fontainebleau outside Paris might sound bucolic and relaxing, but at just 10 months in length, an INSEAD MBA is an intense experience.
The course is split into five-two-month periods, which starts with fundamentals and becomes more personalized as time goes on, with students taking four of the available 75 electives in periods three and four, and three in the final one. Students are also able, in periods four and five, to spend time at one of INSEAD’s partner schools, Wharton or Kellogg in the US, or CEIBS in China.
A recent overhaul of the MBA saw the introduction of a Personal Leadership Development Program, which aims to complement the analytical skills learned on the course with “learning experiences that necessitate deeper self-reflection”. For example, the core curriculum now includes a cluster of courses called Business and Society, which looks at the social impact of business, and students are assigned personal career advisors. A final, capstone project simulates a business crisis, to test analytical skills and resilience.
INSEAD prides itself on its Career Development Centre, which engages with students about the basics of CV creation and relationship-building even before they arrive on campus, and throughout the course helps them understand their possible future career paths and helps them select electives which will send them in the right direction.
The short time-frame means that students only have to take one year out of work, which appeals for career and monetary reasons, but the flip-side is that students can spend a lot of time dealing with offers of internships and jobs, and a little less dreaming about weird and wonderful career paths than they might on a more leisurely MBA.
What the school says:
“Our goal is to develop value-driven business leaders with a global mind-set. INSEAD’s multi-campus format, unmatched diversity and proven academic excellence contribute to this formula for success. Our highly personalized and comprehensive career services also yield outstanding results, and our global alumni network offers reach and depth beyond any other top business school. We aim to create business leaders who approach issues such as sustainability and social impact head-on, because the only reliable engine for long-term economic growth and sustainable change is innovation.”