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MBA Admissions Brief: INSEAD

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In our ongoing new series, MBA Admissions Brief, we bring you tips and insights from leading business schools about the MBA admissions process. We are going international with this installment, as we hear from the prestigious institution, INSEAD; namely, Virginie Fougea, who is the Global Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for INSEAD Degree Programmes Department. She has been with INSEAD for the last 20 years.

Virginie Fougea, Global Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, INSEAD Degree Programmes Dept.

Before that she had been studying in the US and working in Brazil. She is an admission professional with 15+ years of file evaluation and selection of MBA students from diverse multi-cultural and professional backgrounds. She enjoys promoting INSEAD and the various programmes during Information Sessions on and off campus and meeting prospects.

INSEAD offers a 10-month MBA program beginning either in January or September.  Their main campuses span continents, with one based in Fontainebleau, France, and the other in Singapore.

Read on for Fougea’s advice about applying to INSEAD and more.

What would you say to someone who’s applying next fall and just getting started in the MBA application process now?
I would recommend to anyone who is considering either applying to the January or the September intake to prepare some sort of retroactive planning. It is important to not rush and submit a clumsy application. Applicants may want to give themselves the time to prepare for the GMAT or the GRE. It also takes time to select who can submit insightful letters of recommendation as well as prepare genuine and honest essays. The essay part can be seen as cumbersome but this is where applicants can really describe who they are, their passions and their values and it gives the Admissions Committee a chance to “meet” the applicant.

What’s the one thing MBA candidates should know about selecting a recommender?
Candidates need to select recommenders who know them well. Our questions in the letter of recommendation are related to skills people demonstrate in a professional context: team collaboration, creativity, communication style, etc. Someone who does not know the applicant well may struggle to find examples of these skills.

What’s your program’s most exciting change, development or event coming up in the year ahead?
We are all extremely excited (and anxious!) to soon launch a Master in Management programme (MIM). The first class will start in August 2020 on our Europe campus in Fontainebleau. This is a programme designed for pre-experienced applicants (or with less than 2 years of experience or internships) where faculty will not only teach topics like management, finance and marketing but also hands on topics like programming and project management.

Of the big trends in business education right now (tech, globalization, analytics), what are you doing or innovating in one (or all) of these spaces?
INSEAD has kept its MBA programme curriculum highly relevant to the business landscape. In the last 18 months, we have innovated and introduced several new electives keeping abreast with global trends.

These new electives include Bank Management and FinTech, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy for Startups and C-Suites, AI Strategy for Startups and C-Suites, Brain-based Customer Centricity: Understanding and Leveraging Neuroscience To Make Better Business Decisions, as well as courses on Blockchain.

We have also enhanced our offerings in line with our school’s mission of bringing together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society; and have introduced several new courses around business impact on society. Some of them are Impact Investing, Responsible Finance, SDG Bootcamp, Income Inequality & the Future of Business, and Ethical Decision Making in Business.

What would you like to highlight about your post-MBA career placement success?
INSEAD saw a record 91% of our MBA students (December 2017 and July 2018 graduates) receiving an offer three months post-graduation as compared to 90% in 2017, and 89% in 2016.
The median annual base salary and median sign-on bonus also saw increases from the previous year at US$ 109,800 and US$ 27,000 respectively.

Our graduates accepted offers in 65 countries and consulting firms remain very attractive with 36% of students deciding to join this sector (36% new hires and 16% remaining in the industry, making it 52% in total).

The Financial Services sector saw an increase of 2%: 2018 students benefited from a comprehensive preparation process for Investment Banking, as well as from access to lateral roles through the excellent INSEAD network.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.