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INSEAD Interview Report: Round 1 / Alumni / Off-Campus

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The following INSEAD interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant. Good luck to them!

I’m a R1 candidate for the Jan 2017 intake and I interviewed with a relatively recent alum who works in finance in London. INSEAD assigns interview candidates with 2 alumni in your city, and it’s up to you to schedule them yourself. I was asked to send both my CV and the majority of my application (up to the job description essays) to the alumni. We met in a conference room at his office. He had printed out my application and CV, and seemed to know my background quite well. He also had a hard-copy MBA interview report that he told me he had to fill out later and was going through it page-by-page to make sure he was addressing all the questions.

Our interview lasted an hour, and we spent the last 10-15 mins answering my questions. His questions included:

– Walk me through your background and what you’re up to now.
– We dug into my specific work experiences, and he asked me what it was like being a woman in a male-dominated workplace / business environment and why I made a career change
– What cultural conflicts I faced with my colleagues and how it worked out in the end
– Why do I want an MBA
– Why now
– What do I want to do after my MBA
– Why I chose Singapore as my starting campus when my career interests are in Europe (I explained I had never lived in SE Asia and wanted to develop a network there)
– How can I develop a network in Singapore in 4 months time since I plan to switch to Fontainebleau in P3? (I felt like he wanted to make sure I had thought through my game plan. Didn’t mean it in an adversarial way)
– What are my hobbies
– What other schools I applied to and where INSEAD stands among them

INSEAD clearly wants to get to know their prospective students very well by putting us through 2 of these in-depth interviews, so know your story / rationale inside out and prepare to defend if challenged. My interviewer responded very honestly to my questions, providing a balanced view of his experience (i.e. the MBA is not a golden ticket to anything, you still have to hustle hard), his regrets, and even other business schools that he had considered. The overall tone was conversational and I think we established good rapport despite our very different backgrounds. I’ll find out the results in another month.

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