INSEAD is a great program and the experience there will be very globally-focused. It is of course VERY difficult to characterize the student and academic culture at the different programs without resorting to stereotypes to a certain degree, and plus things change year-to-year. My biggest recommendation is to get in touch with current students and recent alum (the admissions committee will be happy to put you in touch with some if you aren't already) and ask THEM what the program is like, how they'd describe their classmates and attitudes, what people are into, how competitive it is, any other questions you can think of. Also good to read blogs and messageboards of current students. We do have Insider Guides of the US schools you mentioned on our website with more info to consider, at http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
(about $25 each), and there are many guides online and in print about the various schools.
A few things about the schools on your list off the top of my head.... all are in urban settings, so similar in that way. Class sizes are fairly similar, with INSEAD and Wharton probably the largest class sizes. One big difference with INSEAD is that it's a shorter program, which has pros and cons (for example, less time out of the workplace, but less time to take additional elective classes). All except INSEAD have financial services as their largest % of post-MBA jobs, though consulting is right up there at most, and INSEAD has consulting as slightly higher but not dramatically different. Most are very team-work focused and do a lot of the projects and work in teams, and most use case studies often. Chicago Booth can be occasionally considered more 'individual' focused vs teams but not dramatically so; Chicago Booth is also known as having one of the most flexible curriculums, and Columbia has been making efforts in this area as well. Wharton is considered very quantitative and finance focused but any top-notch MBA program has strengths in all general management areas as well. Columbia is great for making connections in NYC, so you may want to consider where you plan to work after you graduate; same with LBS in London.
One thing that may or may not matter to you is the % of international students in your class. It sounds like you are interested in having that global perspective that an international class can provide. Most US schools have 20-30% of their students coming from other countries, so they will be primarily US students in the class. That may or may not matter, as again of course top US programs are considered the top brands internationally. LBS and INSEAD will have an almost entirely international class (for example usually just 10-12% at LBS come from the UK, while it varies). In terms of US programs, on your list Columbia will be the one with slightly more international make-up, usually about 30%, and they pride themselves on that.
You'll want to look at employment reports and class profile and all you can get your hands on in case it helps you; for example see INSEAD's report at http://mba.insead.edu/careers/statistics.cfm
. Talk to students, visit if/when the time comes to really get a feel for the campuses and classes!
Glad you signed up for a free consult; most likely it will be with one of our other Consultants as I've been focused on message board responses at present, but all of our team members are excellent and can provide great advice and feedback. Feel free to PM me with any questions about consultants or anything, or continue to post here with general questions about the application process or our services.
Good luck again, it's an exciting process!
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