We were delighted at last month’s Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) annual conference in San Francisco to catch up with admissions directors from top business schools from around the globe. Among them was Virginie Fougea, INSEAD director of MBA recruitment and admissions, who we hope racked up plenty of frequent flier miles in exchange for her journey from Fontainebleau, France, to Northern California.
Though Fougea is somewhat new to leading admissions at INSEAD—she was promoted from associate director of admissions in October 2016—she is not at all new to the school. “I have been with INSEAD for 20 years—in different capacities within admissions and marketing,” she tells us. She’s also long been a jetsetter. Before INSEAD she worked for the French Embassy in Brazil, and before that she studied human relations in the United States.
We look forward to soon conducting an in-depth interview with Fougea about the admissions process she now leads—at a school that happens to have been ranked the best MBA in the world for two years running by the Financial Times.
But in the meantime, we wanted to let those of you considering INSEAD get to know a little bit more about what Fougea is like when she’s not got her head buried reading applications. So, without further adieu…
Real Humans of MBA Admissions: INSEAD’s Virginie Fougea
Coffee or tea? Tea. It was coffee for years, but it’s tea now.
Beach or mountains? Mountains, specifically the forest.
Morning person or night owl? None of the two.
Pet peeve? People who use useless words like “so forth”—words that don’t add anything.
Guilty pleasure? I’m not the kind of person to feel guilty—I take my pleasure and enjoy it.
Favorite virtue in others? Loyalty
Worst habit? I’m terrible at filing papers. Same thing can be said for my inbox.
Happy place? Home
Comfort food? Chocolate
Go-to cocktail? Glass of good fresh white wine
Proudest moment? Last year when the team managed to get the highest ever percentile of women in the class, 38 percent.
Biggest regret? I try to make sure that I don’t have regrets.
One thing you would change about how you were raised? I would say nothing, I was raised in the forest.
Superpower you wish you had? I would like to be in two places—or three—at the same time.
What schools, if any, rejected you? (How does it impact how you will interact with those who you must say no to?) I was rejected from a French undergraduate school for a course in politics. It certainly impacts me in my work today because it was just a plain letter. I believe it is easy to be a little more customer oriented, even if it’s a deny, than just a form letter. We try to give feedback when we can. It’s not always possible but we try, and I wish we could do more, even for those we don’t admit.
Which part of the INSEAD process would you most like to skip if you were applying today? The data form—it’s tedious.
What’s the best thing you read/watched/listened to recently? A TED Talk on drones