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Some INSEAD experiences

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Joined: 09 Sep 2012
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Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
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Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 06:16
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Hi.

I was asked a bit back if I could write a few lines about my decision to choose INSEAD and my experience from my year studying there. I hope my reflections can be of value to those considering INSEAD.

Applying to INSEAD
First I'd like to give a bit of background about myself. I am what would be considered an older applicant: 32 at the time of application, 33 at matriculation and 34 at graduation. I had worked in technology consulting for no-brand companies, mostly consulting for financial services clients. I began my MBA research with a clear career goal: to move into top tier strategy consulting. I am European and was planning to return to my home country after my MBA.

With those characteristics given: higher than average age, a European background, a goal of continuing to work in Europe and consulting as a career target, INSEAD very quickly became the clear choice. The school has a great reputation for consulting recruitment, it is only 10 months and it has great brand recognition in Europe.

The INSEAD experience
Now, moving on to the experience at INSEAD itself. First, my impression is that most of the rumors you read before applying are true. The school is incredibly diverse and attracts people whom are adventurous, humble, very social and amazingly bright. It is also true that you need to make difficult choices: it is impossible to have enough time for everything. Especially for someone like me, who brought a family along, there simply isn't enough time to study, socialize, travel and sleep as much as you would like. I recommend having thought through your goals and plans in advance. That makes it easier to find the right mix.

Recruitment
Regarding recruitment and career opportunities, INSEAD is really a great consulting school. You will study together with a lot of former consultants from all the global consulting companies and get to understand the work and the culture of each of them. All the big consulting companies are a constant presence on campus through company presentations, guest speakers, coffee chats, event sponsorship, etc, etc. If you're interested in consulting you will not be alone and while the clubs at INSEAD are not as good as those at a 2 year MBA (simply because of time constraints from the students), you will get all the support you need to prepare for recruitment season. It is intense, but there will be so many people around you doing the same so it is easy to find help.

I studied in the December promotion, which means that there were internship opportunities. Especially for those wanting to move into finance, this is critical. A good number of my classmates had internships - and got full time offers - at the bulge bracket investment banks through on campus recruitment. Many others have gone to VC and PE funds, but that has mostly been through individual efforts off campus. For consulting internships were not critical. Nice for those who got them, but I would not put too much focus on the internship.

What I will recommend those coming to INSEAD to do is to not underestimate the value and importance of your previous experience. Getting an MBA does not mean pushing the reset button on your career. Those who have been successful career changers are those that have managed to show how their previous experience is of value to whatever job they are looking to move into; it is the "transferable skills" that the career counselors will repeat endlessly. Do not underestimate it though. I've seen some very smart people who have been unsuccessful in their job hunt because of this. For instance if you are trying to move into strategy consulting, make sure you have a reason for choosing the country and office you are applying to. Those who wanted to go back to their home countries and those who made an effort to build a connection to a country have been much more successful that those who randomly choose the cities with the biggest offices in their application.

My take away
On my own part I am fortunate enough to have been successful in my job search. While I still have a few weeks left at INSEAD, I can safely say that it has lived up to my expectations. It's been an amazing year where I have learned more than I could imagine, I've made what I hope will be life-long friends around the world, I've managed to secure exactly the job I wanted and my family has - perhaps surprisingly - enjoyed the experience as well.

I can recommend INSEAD wholeheartedly. If I can help anyone by answering any questions, please post here or shoot me a PM.
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Re: Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2014, 22:48
Hi bob99,

First of congrats on landing a Job. In my research I have come across students who already have had great careers and with a good score got selected through the Insead admission process.
Could you please provide more information on what was your score and how did you go about your application to make it through even though working with no brand companies.

Thanks,
AK
Current Student
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012
Posts: 53
Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
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Re: Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2014, 01:18
aj0809 wrote:
Hi bob99,

First of congrats on landing a Job. In my research I have come across students who already have had great careers and with a good score got selected through the Insead admission process.
Could you please provide more information on what was your score and how did you go about your application to make it through even though working with no brand companies.

Thanks,
AK


Hi AK.

By score I assume you mean GMAT. Mine was 760. While my experience is not from known companies, it is very relevant for INSEAD. I have both entrepreneurial experience and experience managing large projects, both of which I spoke of at length in my applications. I believe I managed to convey my relevant experience as well as my passions and goals going forward. It's hard to say how my applications were viewed though; it's all a black box in the end.
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Re: Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2014, 07:32
Congratulations for the ongoing journey. Your background resonates my profile. I happened to speak to an INSEAD executive batch student and learnt that older applicants are offered positions in par with younger candidates? What's your take on it, particularly in the field of consulting? Additionally please share the secret behind the amazing 760 :shock:

Cheers :cool

bob99 wrote:
Hi.

I was asked a bit back if I could write a few lines about my decision to choose INSEAD and my experience from my year studying there. I hope my reflections can be of value to those considering INSEAD.

Applying to INSEAD
First I'd like to give a bit of background about myself. I am what would be considered an older applicant: 32 at the time of application, 33 at matriculation and 34 at graduation. I had worked in technology consulting for no-brand companies, mostly consulting for financial services clients. I began my MBA research with a clear career goal: to move into top tier strategy consulting. I am European and was planning to return to my home country after my MBA.

With those characteristics given: higher than average age, a European background, a goal of continuing to work in Europe and consulting as a career target, INSEAD very quickly became the clear choice. The school has a great reputation for consulting recruitment, it is only 10 months and it has great brand recognition in Europe.

The INSEAD experience
Now, moving on to the experience at INSEAD itself. First, my impression is that most of the rumors you read before applying are true. The school is incredibly diverse and attracts people whom are adventurous, humble, very social and amazingly bright. It is also true that you need to make difficult choices: it is impossible to have enough time for everything. Especially for someone like me, who brought a family along, there simply isn't enough time to study, socialize, travel and sleep as much as you would like. I recommend having thought through your goals and plans in advance. That makes it easier to find the right mix.

Recruitment
Regarding recruitment and career opportunities, INSEAD is really a great consulting school. You will study together with a lot of former consultants from all the global consulting companies and get to understand the work and the culture of each of them. All the big consulting companies are a constant presence on campus through company presentations, guest speakers, coffee chats, event sponsorship, etc, etc. If you're interested in consulting you will not be alone and while the clubs at INSEAD are not as good as those at a 2 year MBA (simply because of time constraints from the students), you will get all the support you need to prepare for recruitment season. It is intense, but there will be so many people around you doing the same so it is easy to find help.

I studied in the December promotion, which means that there were internship opportunities. Especially for those wanting to move into finance, this is critical. A good number of my classmates had internships - and got full time offers - at the bulge bracket investment banks through on campus recruitment. Many others have gone to VC and PE funds, but that has mostly been through individual efforts off campus. For consulting internships were not critical. Nice for those who got them, but I would not put too much focus on the internship.

What I will recommend those coming to INSEAD to do is to not underestimate the value and importance of your previous experience. Getting an MBA does not mean pushing the reset button on your career. Those who have been successful career changers are those that have managed to show how their previous experience is of value to whatever job they are looking to move into; it is the "transferable skills" that the career counselors will repeat endlessly. Do not underestimate it though. I've seen some very smart people who have been unsuccessful in their job hunt because of this. For instance if you are trying to move into strategy consulting, make sure you have a reason for choosing the country and office you are applying to. Those who wanted to go back to their home countries and those who made an effort to build a connection to a country have been much more successful that those who randomly choose the cities with the biggest offices in their application.

My take away
On my own part I am fortunate enough to have been successful in my job search. While I still have a few weeks left at INSEAD, I can safely say that it has lived up to my expectations. It's been an amazing year where I have learned more than I could imagine, I've made what I hope will be life-long friends around the world, I've managed to secure exactly the job I wanted and my family has - perhaps surprisingly - enjoyed the experience as well.

I can recommend INSEAD wholeheartedly. If I can help anyone by answering any questions, please post here or shoot me a PM.
Current Student
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012
Posts: 53
Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
WE: Consulting (Computer Software)
Re: Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2014, 08:34
Amit0507 wrote:
Congratulations for the ongoing journey. Your background resonates my profile. I happened to speak to an INSEAD executive batch student and learnt that older applicants are offered positions in par with younger candidates? What's your take on it, particularly in the field of consulting? Additionally please share the secret behind the amazing 760 :shock:

Cheers :cool

During my research one of my main concerns was definitely that I was, or would be at the time of graduation, too old. What both my research then and my experience while at INSEAD has shown is that age, at least not up to around 35, is not a big issue in consulting.

It is a general trend that consultants require more expertise, and this trend also applies to top tier strategy consultants. It is rarer now that the whole project team will be generalists with no functional or industrial expertise. As expertise is required, coming in with a background in a sought-after function, industry or geography will help you get interviews. The companies seems to be more open to experienced hires than before, even though it varies between the different companies. As IT is in general a growing field for the strategy consulting companies, having the right technology background combined with an MBA from a target school is a good way to make your resume interesting.

Regarding my GMAT, I spent a lot of time to get it right. As with most things in life, the result is a function of effort (among other things). I bought the Manhattan GMAT books, the Gmatclub tests, signed up for the Knewton online course and used the Gmatclub forum and app. I also tried the economist online course. I would highly recommend Knewton and liked the Manhattan and Gmatclub material as well. The Economist online course was not very good. Be structured, track your progress, and put in the hours are my best tips.

Best of luck!
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New post 06 Nov 2014, 08:57
Thanks for the detailed response.
Cheers,
Intern
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New post 16 Dec 2014, 09:30
Thanks for the detailed post. I had a few more questions for you if you have the time to answer. I'm trying to decide between LBS and INSEAD. I personally prefer INSEAD but have a few concerns in terms of professional growth. I come from a digital analytics background and want to go into brand management/ marketing strategy:

- More CPG firms and marketing roles recruit at INSEAD (11% vs 3% at LBS); however, I would want to work in London post MBA since that's where most of the major CPG global marketing headquarters are. Everyone I talk to seems to suggest that there are no networking opportunities at INSEAD and if I want to work in London, even though marketing roles don't usually recruit there I would have a better chance getting a job through networking - any thoughts?
- How active and helpful is the career services?
- LBS has an internship built-in. I'm going into MBA school fairly young (24 right now) and I'm concerned maybe not having an internship at INSEAD might hurt my chances at recruiting but not sure if that's really a factor
- How intense is the workload? Do you feel like you are actually learning and absorbing new information or is it more of a we just need to pass? Are grades curved? How important are grades to the recruiting process
Current Student
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012
Posts: 53
Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
WE: Consulting (Computer Software)
Re: Some INSEAD experiences  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2014, 10:32
1
nm1158 wrote:
Thanks for the detailed post. I had a few more questions for you if you have the time to answer. I'm trying to decide between LBS and INSEAD. I personally prefer INSEAD but have a few concerns in terms of professional growth. I come from a digital analytics background and want to go into brand management/ marketing strategy:

- More CPG firms and marketing roles recruit at INSEAD (11% vs 3% at LBS); however, I would want to work in London post MBA since that's where most of the major CPG global marketing headquarters are. Everyone I talk to seems to suggest that there are no networking opportunities at INSEAD and if I want to work in London, even though marketing roles don't usually recruit there I would have a better chance getting a job through networking - any thoughts?
- How active and helpful is the career services?
- LBS has an internship built-in. I'm going into MBA school fairly young (24 right now) and I'm concerned maybe not having an internship at INSEAD might hurt my chances at recruiting but not sure if that's really a factor
- How intense is the workload? Do you feel like you are actually learning and absorbing new information or is it more of a we just need to pass? Are grades curved? How important are grades to the recruiting process


First regarding London recruitment, I would guess that this is the location where most INSEAD MBA's go after graduation, several also through networking on their own. That being said, it is obviously easier from LBS. There have been a few, around five I believe, treks and events in London during the year I've been at INSEAD, organized by CDC (Career services), the clubs and the alumni organization in cooperation.

Career Services is very active, how helpful they are really depends on what your goals are. A new head of CDC was hired this year and he has very concrete plans for major improvements. Overall they still have room for improvement.

If you are concerned about an internship, definitely go for the December promotion if you choose INSEAD as that gives you the opportunity for a summer internship. I would say close to everyone who wanted to do an internship, got one. If it is valuable or not really depends on what you want to do and what your experience is, but the bottom line is that you can do an internship at INSEAD.

The workload is intense, no doubt about that. Not having time to reflect is a real issue at times, especially in the early periods. You do learn a lot, and the electives in the later periods will tie back to everything you've worked on during core classes, bringing a bit of repetition and time for reflection. Core classes are graded on a curve, while electives are not. There's a grade non-disclosure for all on campus recruitment, where the only information revealed is if you are on the dean's list (top 10% GPA) or not. Since 90% are not on the dean's list and still get amazing jobs, I would say grades are not an important factor during recruitment.
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Re: Some INSEAD experiences   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2014, 10:32
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