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The INSEAD 2013-2014 Application
INSEAD has released its application for the 2013-2014 admissions cycle. While the INSEAD application has remained fairly consistent from the previous year, there are several notable changes that have been made within the past few years that differentiate the INSEAD application from other top business schools. Below you will find details on deadlines, essay requirements, and other application information.
Application Deadlines for 2014 Intake
The application deadlines for the 2013-2014 cycle will be as follows:
Round 1: Applications due October 2, 2013
Round 2: Applications due November 27, 2013
Round 3: Applications due March 5, 2014
INSEAD Essay Requirements
Completing the INSEAD application is, for most, a lengthy and time-consuming task. Although the writing requirements of the INSEAD application are extensive in process, the INSEAD admissions board has voiced its belief in being able to sort out the truly well-rounded candidates through the eight separate essay questions – three of which address current and previous employment, and five of which address motivation, successes, and goals.
The first three essay questions that pertain to applicant’s work experience will appear on the application as they do below:
INSEAD Job Essay 1. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/ products and results achieved. (250 words maximum)
INSEAD Job Essay 2. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. If you were to remain with your present employer, what would be your next step in terms of position? (250 words maximum)
INSEAD Job Essay 3. (Additional essay – applicable if you are currently unemployed) If you are currently not working, what are you doing and what do you plan to do until you start the MBA programme? (250 words maximum)
The first two essay questions have become a traditional requirement for the INSEAD application, seeking to understand your current position and where you see yourself moving. The third essay was added in the 2011-2012 application cycle and is relatively new to the INSEAD application. Given the economic downturn, INSEAD decided to add the third essay question to address a portion of the population that may be gifted candidates for business school, but struggling in the economic climate. If this essay is applicable to your situation, the focus of the essay should not be to make excuses for your current lack of employment, but instead to explain how you continue to productively use your time. Additionally, it is important to note that each of these essay prompts is 250 words maximum — that’s approximately two to three paragraphs of writing, so be sure to gauge your timing and words well.
The final five essay questions required by the INSEAD application stress motivation, successes (both personal and professional), and goals. These essays have remained consistent from the 2012-2013 application cycle, with a slight rearranging of the order. There is also a sixth optional essay question to address extenuating circumstances or anything not previously covered under the required essay prompts, and a separate seventh prompt for reapplicants. The personal essay questions will appear on the INSEAD application as they do below:
INSEAD Personal Essay 1. Give a candid description of yourself, stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors, which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words maximum)
INSEAD Personal Essay 2. Describe what you believe to be your two most substantial accomplishments to date (if possible specify one personal and one professional), explaining why you view them as such. (400 words maximum)
INSEAD Personal Essay 3. Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed. Discuss what you learned. (400 words maximum)
INSEAD Personal Essay 4. Please choose one of the following two essay topics:
a) Have you ever experienced culture shock? What insights did you gain? (250 words maximum)
b) Describe the ways in which a foreigner in your country might experience culture shock. (250 words maximum)
INSEAD Personal Essay 5. a) Discuss your short and long term career goals. (300 words maximum) and b) How will studying at INSEAD help you achieve your vision? (250 words maximum)
INSEAD Optional Essay. Is there anything that you have not mentioned in the above essays that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? (350 words maximum)
INSEAD Personal Reapplicant Essay. In case of reapplication, please provide an update on any new aspects of your professional, international, academic or personal profile that would not have been included in your previous application. Please also explain your motivation for re-applying to INSEAD. (400 words maximum)
Although the above essay prompts will require a lot of time and work to complete, the INSEAD application amply provides space for you to give a full and complete picture of your experiences and an argument for your candidacy. Many of the personal essay prompts are streamlined and open-ended, giving applicants flexibility in how to approach and build on the topic. The first essay, which is also the longest with a maximum 600-word allowance, allows candidates to summarize their personal story and explain which characteristics make them stand out from others. The second and third essays parallel each other, one addressing successes and the other addressing failures. This might provide a unique opportunity for applicants to present themselves with complimenting characteristics, bouncing one accomplishment off another failure, or leading into how one guided the other. The fourth essay is one of the most unique of INSEAD’s, specifically addressing adaptability – one trait that is essential to understand given INSEAD’s international culture and diverse setting. Lastly, the fifth and final essay prompt addresses your typical MBA admissions goals and Why INSEAD? question. As you trek through these essay questions, remember to manage your time well – as many MBA programs are cutting applicant’s word allowance, INSEAD gives applicants the opportunity to take full advantage of their generous allotted space.
Other Application Requirements
The remainder of the INSEAD application is equally time-consuming, requiring a professional photograph, a very detailed resume filled out through the online application, two professional letters of recommendation speaking to managerial and leadership skills (one of which should come from a current supervisor), an unofficial transcript, and a TOEFL score that meets INSEAD’s minimum required scores (if applicable). Note also that all applicants must send all GMAT and GRE scores (i.e. all scores must be reported – not just the highest score – and scores from both tests must be reported if the applicant has taken both tests).
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA Admit.com