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INSEAD France vs Singapore campus: Differences and similarities

INSEAD France vs Singapore Campus

1957 saw the origin of one of the most influential Business Schools in the world, Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (French for European Institute of Business Administration), or INSEAD.

The flagship institute, in France, and its newer campus in Singapore, has since been a reigning champion in global business education. In the past years, INSEAD has been climbing to the top of Financial Times Global MBA Rankings, coveting the throne in 2016 & 2017.

Year Financial Times Global MBA Ranking
2005, 2006, 2008, 2012 & 2013 6
2007 7
2009, 2010 & 2014 5
2011 & 2015 4
2016 & 2017 1


With a redoubtable reputation and an excellent MBA brand, INSEAD MBA has well over 50,000 alumni with 47 Alumni Associations. INSEAD graduates are placed all over the globe in well recognized corporations like McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Company, Amazon, Accenture, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and all the big wigs.

On an average, graduates make close to $103,700 annual salary with a 95% increase in wages from pre to post MBA. If you want more information on the goodliness of INSEAD, we will refer the following links to feed your curiosity.


INSEAD France vs Singapore Campus: Differences and Similarities

So decidedly, INSEAD is indeed an excellent business school. But is there a difference between the two renowned campuses of INSEAD – the older European campus, in France, and the younger Asian campus, in Singapore? We would be exploring the similarities and differences that each have to offer their brilliant student body – the facilities, resources, brand value, faculty, career services, and of course business networking.

The discussion, for each feature, will be a qualitative compilation of opinions offered by INSEAD alumni on online forums. In the recent past INSEAD has opened up another branch in the Middle East. For the purposes of this article, we will stick to INSEAD’s France and Singapore lairs.

The Similarities between INSEAD Fontainebleau and INSEAD Singapore

Facilities, Resources and Education

The way INSEAD functions is an amalgamation of resources offered on both campuses. The total body of the eminent faculty is 145, representing 40 nations. They are supported by research staff, and many have scholar awards, multiple journal articles, and best selling books that are highly regarded in business training. This body of faculty is shared between the two campuses.

Students, as well, can avail of the training in either campus. In 2016, 70% students transferred between the campuses in one year. All the other resources like libraries and subscriptions are shared.


Career Services are common between the two campuses as well. It is ONE facility that looks to global employment opportunities for INSEAD students. A name that is that widely recognized, brings in recruiting companies from all over the world. While the Asian campus tends to pull in local Asian placements more than Europe and vice versa, a lot of global companies manage to reach out equally well in either.

INSEAD has strong bonds with nearly 600 companies. The European location gets a bit more attention to career fairs and large scale events, but these are open to students from both (as well as the Abu Dhabi) campuses.

Nearly 90% students, from both Fontainebleau (France) and Singapore, got placed within 3 months of graduation, according to INSEAD’s 2016 Employment Statistics. 53% of all graduates found their job using the Career Development Centre or Alumni Network.

Moral of the story being that you can be placed in a Wall Street job whether you have been freezing in the French winter or feeling Singapore’s tropical heat.

The Differences between INSEAD Singapore and France


Networking Opportunities

The alumni network is very strong enabling students to network far and wide. However, there is a subtle difference between the local networking opportunities in the two campuses. Singapore being a city, and the campus being located in the city/state/country with strong economic standing, exposes the local Singapore INSEAD students to mingle well with professionals outside their alumni network.

Fontainebleau, on the other hand, with its idyllic surroundings and the somewhat uneasily accessible city scene, narrows professional networking to within the community or through online means. Its proximity to London, however, does open up avenues that are not so reachable if you are sitting in Singapore.

This difference becomes more than subtle, according to an alumnus, if you intend to take on an enterprising role after your MBA. 6% of the 2016 graduates started their own companies and 11% got employed through their own contacts. The French location being so out of the way, and of course being limited by the local language, makes it a little bit hard for startup entrepreneurs to access useful resources and knowledge, outside the INSEAD circle.

However, INSEAD graduates are able to skillfully employ their on campus resources, alumni network, and their business training to gain a foothold, and enhance their career, quite expertly.

Socializing and Traveling

The European campus is a great location to study and travel around in the Schengen countries, soaking in the beauty of Europe. The Singapore campus is equally good to travel around in the exotic locales of Asia. So life is envious in both. But Singapore being multicultural, multi-cuisine friendly, and being an all round cosmopolitan makes it more accessible.

Also the Fontainebleau campus is about a hundred kilometers away from Charles de Gaulle airport, while the Asian campus is only 30kms from Singapore’s Changi airport. For a program that takes its students back and forth, between the campuses, apart from the student travels involved as part of their job placements or personal trips, clearly the Asian campus is more suitably located.
INSEAD’s approach is remarkably different and refreshing. The coherent, yet dynamic, program structure allows its candidates to choose what’s best for them. Even with seemingly different locations, spanning multiple continents, the end result is essentially the same – excellent quality and a universally respected brand capable of creating a stir without border.
Also read:
Best MBA application consultant for INSEAD
Sources:1,2,3,4,5,6,7 | Image credit: INSEAD

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9 thoughts on “INSEAD France vs Singapore campus: Differences and similarities”

  1. Hi Sameer,
    I am quite delighted with your selflessness & Such Informative Support which shall help to Carve the Career course of Young India !
    Sameer,I have a 15 years Education with 3 years of Work Experience combining India Equity & Real Estates Brokerage Industry.I am Currently 23 years of Age & Planning to Pursue my MBA
    I have a couple of Points I would like to discuss
    1.Is Abroad MBA Better than India MBA.
    2.Which country Shall I focus for Marketing MBA.
    3.Which Universities you Recommend in USA & Canada.
    4.One-year Full time MBA V/S two-year Full time MBA.
    5.Does Work Experience gain me a Leverage over getting a seat at Top Universities.

  2. Hello sir,
    I am currently pursuing computer engineering and and will complete my UG in 2019. I have a 8.4 CGPA and am not much interested to work in the corporate world. My question is which exam should I aim at: CAT or GMAT. If I give CAT in 2018 I won’t be having any work experience and since as you said having a work experience is better. And if I choose GMAT I can have 5 years experience and then use the same score. But I am not willing to study abroad. So will giving GMAT and having a 1-2 year experience get me admission in top Indian mba schools? Or giving CAT and getting admission would be easy(in terms of score,criteria as well as toughness and pattern of both exams as I am more of a logical person and have less GK). Also I want to appear for the exam in 2018 only as once I enter into corporate world it would be difficult for me to study for any of the exams and appear.
    To be clear, I want to gain some experience and interested in having a job in the HR team of some good company in future. Please guide me for the same.
    Thank you.

  3. Sir & Madam,

    Currently I am working in a not for profit motive PSU (Govt of India) in capacity of incharge & Marketing Officer, prior to this my experience is in networks & security. My total experience is 7 + years out of which technical experience is 5 years and the rest is in marketing and administration.
    Now I want to go for executive MBA and change to IT management or General Management.
    Kindly suggest is it safe to take a break and complete my MBA. As my current organization will not allow this.
    My current qualification is B.E (ECE).

  4. Hi everyone

    I am sulata, I have completed MBA with HR specialization after completion of BA ( bachelor in art’s). I have work experience in finance.almost five I want to do some financial course.kindly suggest me which one is suitable for me.

  5. hello Siddhesh here..
    Hi m from india with bachelors in computer science but with 15 year education & want to apply for masters in us so what can i do for that?

  6. @Dhaval: Choose your bschool based on the country you want to work in. A 2-year MBA would work well with your current experience. Having quality experience surely helps. We’ve shared tips on choosing bschools here:

    @Pragati: I’ll admit that your query was quite confusing for me. To make things simple, I’d say stop worrying about what’s going to happen 5 years after you graduate. Focus on getting good grades, and a good job. Most folks prepare for the GMAT along with their job.

    @Ankush: There’ll always be a risk in leaving a current job and heading back into a classroom. If you aren’t ready to handle that risk, it may be better to continue in your current job.

    @Sulata: There are plenty of options you can choose from on sites like Coursera. Check it out to see if anything interests you.

    @Siddhesh: We’ve covered this topic here:

  7. Dear Sameer,

    I have worked across the media and entertainment sector (from Local news channels to International channels such as FOX, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and DISCOVERY CHANNEL). Totalling the number of years (of experience) to more than 10 years. I am 34 right now.
    Was wondering if I would be eligible for INSEAD. I don’t have that much of a budget and INSEAD falls within what I can afford right now. Apart from being eligible, do you think it would be worth it. Considering I would want to continue in the Media industry.
    I don’t the best grades and was always an average student. I have a graduation and Masters from Delhi and Chennai.

    Awaiting your reply.


  8. Hi Sameer,
    I am having work experience of 5+ years, started as a BDE and currently holding a position of SR. Manager BDM in an IT Company. I am 25 years of age. The problem is I am having educational qualification of 10+2 (HSC) only. I know it is very difficult to crack into Insead’s MBA program but is it possible? am I qualified? if yes I assume my GMAT score will have to be very very strong and assuming that, I’ve set the GMAT Target of 710+. Am I moving in the right direction and what should I do? Please Help! Thank You.

  9. Hi Sameer,

    I am serving in Indian Navy as a commissioned officer(technical branch), aged 30, I have 9 years of work experience so far, but because of my bond with navy, I have to work for another 3 years (mandatory,making overall exp 12years) or 5 years more (the additional 2 years is optional, but that will give me another promotion and a remarkable jump in salary and retirement benefits)
    Well my question is,

    1. Does insead prefer students from background such as defence.

    2. Does leaving with 12 year experience or 14 year experience have an impact on admission at insead. Am I compromising my chances by extending for two more years..

    3. Will insead accept all GMAT scores which are within 5years validity or will it give weightage for applicants with newer GMAT scores..

    Thank you and regards.


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