I met with 2 alumni in Hong Kong, both entrepreneurs: one American-born Chinese lady, and one Indian man.
The woman was very friendly, while the man was more professional and to the point. But both were nice anyway.
First interview was in a coffee shop. It was quite short, around 35-40 minutes.
Questions were very standard:
– why MBA
– why INSEAD
– short-term professional goals
When I told her my goal was to go back to my current industry / company, she looked surprised and asked me why I made this choice. Coming from a non-traditional background (construction / workplace solutions), I had to explain what I actually do and why I want to keep doing it. She seemed interested and we spent quite a long time talking about my industry and where I see it going.
I felt she was also trying to size up my fit with the school, and more specifically my cultural awareness and adaptability. I gave more details about my personal and professional life as a European in Hong Kong. She didn’t get to read my essays so I could re-use my ‘cultural shock’ essay in the interview.
Second interview was in a coffee shop as well, also quite short (40-45 minutes)
I didn’t feel the interviewer was keen to analyze my answers very deeply. Questions were, again, very expected:
– walk me through your resume
– why MBA
– why now
– why INSEAD
– career goals
Once the interviewer assessed my level of English, understood that I was on a straight path for the last few years and that INSEAD was merely a stepping stone, he stopped the interview.
The last 15 minutes of the interview, I asked questions about his own experience (same question as the ones I asked to the 1st interviewer):
– What did the INSEAD MBA bring you career-wise, but also from a more personal point of view?
– What are, in your opinion, the most crucial takeaways of the programme
– what did you like the most at school? What did you dislike / is there anything you would change at INSEAD?
– any tip or recommendation for fresh admits / fresh students?
– is there anything you regret since graduation / since the beginning of the MBA programme?
– we also talked about the campus exchange, electives and bidding points
To sum up, no big surprise in the questions asked. But you can feel underlying INSEAD themes all along: students must have cross-cultural experiences and high adaptability, they must know (or at least pretend to know) where they’re going and show they’re ready to hit the groung running, and they must exhibit simple and friendly communication.
Maturity and an entrepreneurial mindset are two traits that, I believe, the school values, so don’t hesitate to emphasize those as well!