Georges Frederic Doriot (1899-1987), who earned the sobriquet of “Father of venture capitalism” for establishing the American Research and Development Corporation, founded INSEAD, an acronym for the French name for the “European Institute of Business Administration,” in 1957.
The “Business School for the World,” as INSEAD likes to call itself, strives to cross national boundaries and cultures to innovate and teach new ways of building organizations.
[Editor’s Note: Article updated in September 2021]
16 things every international student should know about INSEAD
INSEAD has three campuses—one each in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France (Europe campus); Singapore (Asia campus); and Abu Dhabi, UAE (Middle-east campus). The latest San Francisco Hub, the first ever INSEAD permanent facility in North America tailored for executive development education.
The Europe campus is located on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, near the town center. In 20 acres, it accommodates 29 lecture halls, two restaurants and a bar, a bookshop, and a gym.
Students have a variety of houses, studios, and flats to choose from, and search assistance from rental agencies is available. The Asia campus is situated in Singapore’s Knowledge Hub district, 30 minutes from Changi airport.
Apartments and houses can be rented with help from real-estate agents. The Middle East campus in Abu Dhabi does not offer onsite accommodation but the university has negotiated special rates for students in hotels nearby.
2. High ranking
INSEAD consistently finds a place among the world’s top five MBA programs by Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes.
The INSEAD MBA program was placed first in the FT’s 2021 ranking. The Tsinghua-INSEAD Dual Degree Executive MBA and the Global EMBA program have been among the top ten on FT (2020).
As can be expected, INSEAD boasts an array of distinguished professors who are also world-class researchers. They come from many countries, including India. Business case studies prepared by INSEAD professors are the second-most widely used in the world, after those authored by Harvard Business School professors. Ilian Mihov, Professor of Economics, is the Dean.
INSEAD’s master’s programs include MBA, Global Executive MBA, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change, Executive Master in Finance, and Tsinghua-INSEAD Executive MBA.
Its executive education programs include General Management, Corporate Governance, Top Management, Leadership, Strategy, Digital Transformation and Innovation, Finance, Marketing & Sales, R&D and Operations Management, and Entrepreneurship and Family Business. A PhD in Management program is also available.
INSEAD’s MBA (two intakes—every September and January) is an accelerated ten-month program split into five periods, each lasting eight weeks and ending with an assessment. It offers 75 electives and 13 core courses (English is the medium of instruction), with students joining one of five- or six-member study groups diverse in age, nationality, and professional background.
The MBA program ensures that there is no gap between the classroom exercises and employers’ requirements. The faculty has the freedom to use their own teaching styles and techniques including case studies, computer simulation, role play, projects, and study tours. INSEAD has forged partnerships with Wharton and Kellogg, and with the CEIBS in China.
6. Admission Process
INSEAD evaluates applicants to its MBA program on the criteria of ability to contribute, academic capacity, motivation, and leadership potential.
The application process has seven stages starting with the submission of online applications and supporting documents, followed by video interviews and interview/s in the candidate’s home country by INSEAD alumni, review by the admissions committee, and notification of the decision. The process usually takes up to ten weeks.
7. Applicant requirements
There is no minimum GPA/GMAT requirement; nor is an undergraduate degree mandatory for candidates with an excellent career record and high GMAT score. There is also no minimum work experience, though “exceptional maturity and outstanding leadership” are appreciated.
For enrolment, candidates with English as their native language need to have practical knowledge of a second language (“entry language”). Other candidates are required to submit a certificate of English proficiency. For graduation, students need to know a third language (“exit language”).
8. INSEAD MBA Fee in Euros and Indian Currency (Rupees) | Plus other expenses
The MBA tuition fee, to be paid in instalments, is about €89,000. In Indian Rupees, the INSEAD MBA fee would be well over 50 lakh rupees. This would vary depending on the prevailing exchange rate. However, this isn’t the only cost. There are other expenses that you need to factor in as well.
The living expenses may come to €27,000 on average, depending on lifestyle, both in Fontainebleau and in Singapore, including €10,000 for accommodation, €5,400 for meals, €3,500 for local transport, and €2,000 for travel for exchange and job search (optional). In Indian Rupees, that’s another INR 30+ lakhs.
The cost of doing an MBA from INSEAD Singapore in Indian rupees (INR) is comparable, except that the additional costs (rentals, food, commuting) in will be relatively lower in Asia than in Europe.
9. Scholarships, aid
INSEAD scholarships are the most popular, though they are limited and competition is tough. There are two criteria for scholarship decisions: (1) a student’s financial position and need, and (2) a student’s merit, nationality, gender, professional background, etc.
About one-quarter of students receive scholarships between €8,000 and €35,000. Admitted students can apply for loans from Prodigy Finance, which was started by three members of the INSEAD alumni in 2006 to ease students’ problem of funding. On an average the scholarship amount is about €20,000.
10. Admission statistics
The classes are diverse with an average of students from nearly 90 nationalities and more than 30 percent women. The average age is about 29 years, the average work experience nearly 6 years, and the average GMAT is in the neighborhood of 710 (range 670-750).
A majority have a business administration background or engineering profiles. Smaller groups have economics, sciences, and humanities, and law and political sciences backgrounds.
Most students are from Europe and Asia Pacific, with smaller groups from North America, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
Over thirty-five percent of the students come from the corporate sector, a quarter from consulting and financial services, and about 15 percent from technology, media, and communications. About 5-10 percent have up to three years’ experience, 35-40 percent three to five years and five to seven years each, and about 25 percent over seven years.
11. Career development
The 40-member Career Development Team on the three campuses advises students on planning their careers as soon as they start their MBA program. During the five-period program, the team organizes workshops, panel discussions, and counselling sessions.
The Career Development Program starts with a CV online course and touches topics such as career vision, LinkedIn profile review, sector briefings, interview essentials, cover letter, mock interviews, and salary negotiation.
Each student is assigned a career coach who supports and monitors career development. As many as nearly 300 companies attend campus interviews and conduct interviews (in the thousands) for the graduating classes.
12. Jobs after MBA
In recent years, as many as over 300 companies recruited INSEAD graduates, and over 90 percent of the students found jobs three months after graduating.
Eighty percent were able to change their function, sector, or country, and over a quarter percent managed to change all three, according to INSEAD. At least 50 percent of graduates run or own companies at some time during their careers, and launch 50 to 80 startups every year, the school website says.
Among the major recruiters are Accenture, Apple, AT Kearney, Bain, BCG, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Google, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, McKinsey, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nissan, Samsung, Shell, and Wipro.
A large proportion (nearly 35%) of INSEAD graduates move on to work in Western Europe, followed by Asia Pacific, then North America, Africa, Near East, and Middle East. Graduates also find jobs in Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and Latin America.
14. Salaries, ROI
US b-schools may have an edge in salaries compared with INSEAD, but the ten-month duration of the INSEAD MBA program minimizes the career break for students.
With an average salary of $104,000, graduates enjoy a five-year gain greater than alumni of other top b-schools, according to INSEAD.
15. Notable alumni
INSEAD boasts a network of 50,000 alumni in 170 countries. According to the INSEAD website, the school has produced more CEOs of FT500 companies than any of its European or Asian rivals.
Among the school’s famous alumni are Linsday Owen Jones (ex-L’Oréal), Henry Engelhardt (Admiral Insurance), Meera Sanyal (ex-Royal Bank of Scotland, India), Rajiv Shah (ex-USAID), William Hague (Conservative politician), and Jusuf Kalla (Indonesian Vice President).
16. What’s unique
INSEAD’s ten-month curriculum (which gives graduates a faster and higher ROI), its three campuses (which makes it a truly diverse institution), and its consistent performance on the ranking lists of top rating agencies make INSEAD the institution of choice for many MBA aspirants around the world.
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