The INSEAD MBA interview is a dynamic interview. INSEAD relies on a select group of alumni interviewees around the world to help assess applicants. The interviewers are given a great deal of field of view, which means there is a lot of variance in terms of format, style, and tempo. It makes it hard to know what to expect.
For example, in an INSEAD interview, you cannot assume whether or not the interviewer has read your file. It’s a sharp contrast to programs like Harvard Business School, where you’re paired with someone from the admissions office who has read your entire profile and crafted specific questions for you (in order to Insights about the HBS interview, View this last article of my Accept Fortuna College Carla Cohen). By enabling alumni to support candidate assessment, the school sends a clear signal of how much it values the perspective its alumni can bring – both in the interview process itself and to you as a candidate.
As an expert Fortuna Admissions Instructor, and former Associate Director of the INSEAD MBA Program in France, I have advised countless MBA aspirants about the idiosyncrasies of the admissions process, from How to process all 7 INSEAD articles to Preparing for your INSEAD interview. Here’s what you need to know about the INSEAD interview to prepare for successful admissions.
What to expect at the INSEAD MBA interview:
Expect to be matched with two interviewers in your city of residence. INSEAD is trying to pair you up with one guy who has a similar profile to yours, and for diversity, another guy with a completely different background. Do your homework by learning more about the interviewees before appearing. At the very least, do a Google search and browse his LinkedIn profile. Consider what they may have in common, which can be useful for an icebreaker.
Depending on your location, some MBA interviews will take place in person, although many interviews are conducted roughly. If your interview is virtual, you’ll want to Get ready to shine in the video (See this related article by Judith Silverman Hodara of Fortuna for 7 essential tips.)
Many formal interviews are contained within a 30-minute window, while others last up to two hours. And while it’s unusual, I’ve had clients with interviews that spanned into four-hour conversation sessions due to shared interests and personal chemistry (this was before the pandemic and in person, which could make room for longer conversation time but didn’t get out of the realm of possibility). The point is to create a buffer in your schedule and prepare to be flexible.
Much depends on the personality of the interviewees and what they do professionally, though by design, an INSEAD interview is a conversational interview. In my experience, the more experienced and senior the interviewer, the more formal the interview and specific questions, while younger graduates tend to veer informally. If you are invited to meet in person, the location may also be a guide: a coffee shop interview can lend a casual feel while meeting the interviewer in their office giving the setting a bit more formality.
As the “business school of the world”, one of INSEAD’s main criteria is international motivation. The program is geared towards ambitious individuals with expertise and experience in a global environment and/or a deep ambition to pursue an international career. Researchers will look to assess your adaptation to this diverse and globally focused environment, as well as your cross-cultural awareness and career advancement. It is essential to show that you have thought about your career goals and intertwine with the international perspective.
As Fortuna’s Cassandra Bateman emphasized in her recent article on Poets & QuantsAnd What you need to know to get into INSEADAnd “Not everyone at INSEAD has a lot of international experience. But you must be able to demonstrate that you can get along well in an incredibly diverse environment, with qualities such as openness, flexibility, curiosity about other cultures, interpersonal skills and maturity – all of these help” .
Often the first question relates to your current occupation and what you have done in the past. You may be asked, “Show me your resume,” or “Tell me about yourself,” which will give you the opportunity to share the different roles you have and the choices you have made along the way. You’ll want to be well-versed in discussing your responsibilities, your accomplishments, and, as mentioned, any international perspectives, experiences, and exposure. Be prepared to answer the “Why MBA” and “Why INSEAD” questions. – These two questions are almost always asked.
While INSEAD is not mandatory about specific questions, all INSEAD interviewees are required to inform the admissions team of specific criteria within 48 hours. In addition to your career advancement, leadership potential, international outlook and motivation, interviewers are asked to comment on your communication and interpersonal skills, and traits such as team orientation. Although alumni are not the final gatekeepers at the time of the decision, their insights have a huge impact on the admissions committee as your file is considered comprehensively.
Melissa Jones He is an expert trainer in MBA Admission Training Company Accept Fortuna Former Associate Director of the INSEAD MBA Program. Fortuna is made up of former admissions directors and business school insiders from 12 of the 15 best business schools.