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Trivia Tuesday: Language Requirements at INSEAD

Hello again and welcome to this week’s Trivia Tuesday, in which we spotlight program elements that help distinguish the leading business schools from each other. Today we’re taking a look into the Clear Admit School Guide to INSEAD to share an excerpt about the language requirements at INSEAD’s MBA program.

A distinctive aspect of INSEAD’s MBA program is that language skills are an official requirement for both admission and graduation. Beyond the requirement that students possess proficiency in two languages upon enrollment (see Chapter 6, “Application Requirements”), one of which must be English, students must also demonstrate basic knowledge of a third commercially useful language in order to graduate. INSEAD’s “basic knowledge” classification, equivalent to the European Council’s A2 competency level, requires an ability to communicate clearly and simply about routine matters and situations. Though students have the full duration of their studies at INSEAD to reach this level of competence, they must declare their exit language at the time of enrollment.

Incoming students who are already proficient in a third language are permitted to certify their competence before matriculation, provided that they have passed a state-recognized language proficiency exam accepted by INSEAD or completed a degree program of which at least one year was conducted exclusively in the language in question. During Orientation Week, students may also sit for a written or oral proficiency test administered by one of INSEAD’s partner language instruction institutions.

French, German and Spanish are taught on the Fontainebleau campus each year, with the possible addition of Arabic, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese and Russian, depending on demand within the incoming class. On the Singapore campus, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese are offered. Each INSEAD language course entails 24 hours of instruction spread over 16 90-minute class sessions. Students who are absolute beginners in their exit language must complete all three periods of study, passing tests at the end of P1 and P2 and completing a final written and oral exam at the end of P3; however, they do not need to sit for a language test during Orientation Week.

Students who sit for a language test during Orientation Week but place below the Basic level are still required to take courses in that language, but these students may skip one or two periods of instruction depending on their test performance. Self-study is also permitted, though candidates should note that they must take and pass a test administered by INSEAD or an approved organization to fulfill the exit requirement.

Intensive summer language courses on each campus are open to members of both the September and January intakes. Covering an amount of material equivalent to a period-long course, these sessions are offered based on demand and last between one and three weeks. While priority is given to students who are working toward the exit requirement, those who simply wish to pursue further study of a language can do so during these sessions or through language courses during the regular school year, depending on available space.

To read more about opportunities available at INSEAD, as well as to obtain in-depth program and curriculum information, be sure to check out the INSEAD’s School Profile!

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