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INSEAD Singapore vs MBA in India, USA and France

INSEAD SingaporeBefore getting into INSEAD Singapore, Nihar Prasad tried for several years to get into good MBA colleges in India and abroad. He got a high percentile in the CAT exam, but the IIMs were still out of reach. Instead of settling for a lower ranked MBA in India, he changed his gameplan to target foreign MBA colleges.

He worked with us on for his MBA application strategy (i.e. MBA MAP), and we didn’t hear from him.

Two years later he reached out again to share the good news that he got admits from not one or two, but four top MBA programs in the world – INSEAD MBA in Singapore, HEC Paris, ISB Hyderabad and UCLA Anderson. But not before tackling some hiccups along the way.

Why I chose INSEAD Singapore over an MBA in India / USA / France

by Nihar Prasad

I am a telecom engineer from Mumbai University. Have worked for 3.5 years in L&T in their Corporate Risk Management department and then for a Spanish multinational – Abengoa for past 2.5 years in the Business Development team.

Masters was a must and I didn’t like engineering much – so, MBA was the only option 🙂

I was interested in business part of engineering right from engineering so, wanted to further that through MBA.

I sat for the CAT exam in 2008 and got a good percentile (99.7). I didn’t get IIMA, IIMB or IIMC. So, I decided to try for an international MBA. I took the GMAT exam in 2010 and scored a 740.

Having applied to Cornell MBA, Oxford (UK), MIT Sloan and Indian School of Business (ISB) earlier, I have had my fare share of rejections.

This year my focus was to get into a short program with a good brand value and exposure to the energy markets.

Things that worked for me

1. Good GMAT score.

2. Experience in a comparatively underrepresented field (energy and infrastructure).

3. Four promotions in 6 years (good performance).

4. Great international exposure. I traveled to almost 12 countries (4 continents) for work in the last 2 years.

5. Wrote some technical papers and was part of corporate cricket teams.

Things that are weak in my candidature

1. Less extra-curricular (not much to talk about) and no NGO exposure.

2. No great brand during studies (IIT etc).

3. Good student but not an excellent one.

Three things that I learnt from my MBA application experience

1. Get your story right with the sector, aspirations, likes/dislikes, strengths & weaknesses.

2. If possible, get a tick mark on some areas like international exposure, extra-curricular, studies, promotions.

3. Take the GMAT test preparation seriously.

4. Keep fighting!
MBA MAP figured in at the right moment. I would say that it is a good assessment of one’s abilities, strengths, weaknesses and chances. I would say take the feedback positively and work on your weaknesses (I did that for two years).

The good part is that talking with Sameer gives you the first hand feel of the whole process.

Finally, I am choosing INSEAD Singapore over other options – MBA in India, USA and France – because of these main reasons:

1. The brand value is big, with INSEAD figuring in top schools of the world.

2. Great placement opportunities and an active energy club.

3. Shorter time frame but with the same salaries as the 2 year MBA courses.

– Nihar

Whether it’s the INSEAD Singapore or Paris MBA, or any other top MBA college in India, USA, UK, Canada, the basics don’t change.

Start early, carry out your research, design a good application strategy and adapt the execution plan as you go along.

Good luck with your applications. We hope to see your story published here soon.

Read these related posts:
All about INSEAD (including fees in Indian Rupees)
INSEAD admit with scholarship for Indian applicant
International student life in Singapore
I got into INSEAD, twice
INSEAD MBA admissions interview and GMAT experience
INSEAD MBA grad’s tips on getting management consulting jobs

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

8 thoughts on “INSEAD Singapore vs MBA in India, USA and France”

  1. Hi Nihar,

    With a CAT score of 99.7 it took u 6 years to fulfill your MBA dreams?Even your profile looks excellent to me.I know people studying in IIMC,IIMB and ISB with much weaker profiles than yours.Even the weaknesses you have cited dont seem to be weaknesses at all.
    If you have really faced this ordeal it shows glaringly how weak India still is in providing high quality education.
    Best of luck for your future.

  2. Hi Sameer,

    I had pretty alright acads till high school Xth 75%, XII 80%. However I have scored only 47% in my graduation in BA (Hons) from DU. Further I had to miss giving my exams in a particular year due health reasons (in effect I completed my graduation in 4 Years). Having said that I have 10 years of experience, mostly leading teams, done consulting, high impact Global projects with big organizations helping them save millions.
    I have done alot of social welfare, driven programs with NGOs, worked on delevoping apps for them, have arranged corporate funding etc.
    I am yet to take my GMAT, wanted to check if I score above 700, do I satnd a chance getting into 1 year programs such as INSEAD/ISB?


  3. Hi
    Have 17yrs of exp overall in IT software and had own venture exp. But does not have GMAT OR CAT for the matter.
    Wanted to know for Consulting IT and other practices which are the best INSEAD SG vs ISB vs MIT SLoan EMBEA or Fellowship or Cargnie Mellon Tupper.
    Please guide. Is it really worth to apply for such programs as i think i may be misfit in their batch size of 8-10yrs.
    Appreciate your guidance and cost structures of INSEAD vs ISB .
    I have family and hence i am thinking of doing this a long time back.

  4. Hi Sameer,
    I have about 4.5 years of work experience in Human resources after my mba in India. That said, MBA here didn’t give me the required edge for strategy and business roles cos of which I am planning to get an MBA abroad. Can you pls suggest me a 1 yr mba program with excellent placement track record.. Pls help..ideally I am looking for 2017 admissions.

  5. Hi,
    Im from non IT background. I have completed BSc agri with 8.2 CGPA and MSc agri with 9.1CGPA. Im working in a national bank since 3yrs in agri advances dept.
    Im now looking for MBA through top colleges abroad.
    Will I have an opportunity to get into INSEAD MBA if I have good GMAT SCORE?
    Is GMAT mandatory to enter top ranked universities?


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