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.
INSEAD has three campuses—one each in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France (Europe campus); Singapore (Asia campus); and Abu Dhabi, UAE (Middle-east campus).
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.
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 2016 ranking. The Tsinghua-INSEAD Dual Degree Executive MBA and the Single School EMBA program have received the top ranking from FT (2015).
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.
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.
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”).
The MBA tuition fee, to be paid in instalments, is €73,500. In Indian Rupees, the INSEAD MBA fee would be 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 €23,000 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.
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.
The Class of 2016 comprised 93 nationalities, and 30 percent were women. The average age of the Class of 2016 was 29 years, the average work experience 5.5 years, and the average GMAT 703 (range 610-800).
About one-third of the students had a business administration background and an equal number had engineering profiles. Smaller groups had economics (13 percent), sciences (9 percent), and humanities (6 percent), and law and political sciences (6 percent) backgrounds.
Students from Asia Pacific (31 percent) and Western Europe (30 percent) made up the majority of the class, with smaller groups from North America (13 percent), Eastern Europe (10 percent), Latin America (8 percent), Africa, and the Middle East (4 percent each).
Thirty-eight percent of the students were from the corporate sector, 26 percent from consulting, 23 percent from financial services, and 13 percent from technology, media, and communications. Eight percent had up to three years’ experience, 36 percent three to five years, 32 percent five to seven years, and 23 percent over seven years.
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 250 companies attended campus interviews and conducted 4,000 interviews for the December 2014 and July 2015 graduating classes.
In 2015 (December 2014 and July 2015 graduating classes), as many as 293companies 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 27 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.
Thirty-four percent of INSEAD graduates (December 2014 and July 2015 graduating classes) went to work in Western Europe, 28 percent in Asia Pacific, 12 percent in North America, 10 percent in Africa, Near East, and Middle East. Graduates also found jobs in Southern Europe (6 percent), Central and Eastern Europe (3 percent), Northern Europe (2 percent), and Latin America (5 percent).
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 $105,700, graduates enjoy a five-year gain greater than alumni of other top b-schools, according to INSEAD.
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).
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.
Read these related INSEAD blogs:
– INSEAD admit with scholarship for Indian applicant
– INSEAD Singapore vs MBA in India, USA and France
– I got into INSEAD, twice
– INSEAD MBA admissions interview and GMAT experience
– INSEAD MBA grad’s tips on getting management consulting jobs
– How important is international experience for INSEAD MBA application
Resources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5