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INSEAD Interview Report: Round 3 / Alumni / Off-Campus

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The following INSEAD interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 3 applicant. Good luck to them!

A few weeks after I submitted my INSEAD application, I was contacted by an INSEAD admission’s officer to schedule interviews with two alumni: an older alumni (10 years post-INSEAD) and a younger alumni (5+ years post-INSEAD). I was instructed to provide each alumni with a copy of my résumé or my completed MBA application form (excluding the motivation essays). Scheduling the interviews with both alumni was relatively straightforward and I was able to schedule both interviews two days apart.

I met with the younger alumni, whom I had quite a bit in common with at a coffee shop and it really felt more like a conversation as opposed to an actual interview. The alumni showed up in casual attire while I had on a suit (I kind of felt a bit over-dressed and we had a good laugh over that). More than anything, the alumni was seeking to establish fit for the INSEAD program. He had the standard interview questions:

1) Walk me through your résumé?
2) Why the MBA?
3) Why INSEAD?
4) Why now as opposed to keep working since I had quite a bit of work experience?
5) How would you deal with a difficult individual on your learning team at INSEAD?
6) Which other schools have you applied to and how does INSEAD stack up amongst the schools?
7) Which campus would you like to start and why?

We went through all the questions in about an hour, following which he asked if I had any questions for him. I had some questions for him and we ended up talking for another hour (though it didn’t feel like it). We had a very good conversation speaking about his INSEAD & post-INSEAD experiences. We really connected and had a very honest conversation about the highs and lows of business school, the INSEAD brand in Europe, Asia & North America, things he wishes he could go back and change and things he was glad he did. All-in-all, the interview (more like a conversation) left me with an even more positive view of INSEAD. I would advise any applicant to go into the interview with the objective of having a sincere and honest conversation and not just a pitch. The experience is so much richer when the conversations are frank and honest.

Two days later, I had my second interview with the older alumni and we met at his office very early in the morning. He was a very pleasant guy and we also connected and had a very good conversation. He asked pretty much the same questions as the younger alumni and I got the impression that he formed a pretty good impression of my candidacy prior to the interview and was confirming his initial opinion during the interview. Once he figured out that my application checked out with the responses that I provided and confirmed his initial thoughts, he pretty much said that he didn’t have any additional questions and we used the remaining time to answer the questions that I had for him. The second interview took only thirty minutes.

In summary, I would say that I really enjoyed the interview experience with INSEAD and the warmth that I felt during the interview from both alumni certainly left me with an even more positive view of the school. Now I understand what folks mean when they say there’s something about “INSEADERS.” INSEAD alumni are truly quite different from the alumni from US top programs.

To the applicants looking to interview, I hope this helps and I wish you all the best!!!

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