INSEAD Business School Interview

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas from around the world to change lives and transform organizations. The unique global perspective and multicultural diversity of INSEAD are reflected in all aspects of its research and teaching.

Founded in 1957, INSEAD has campuses in Europe (Fontainebleau) and Asia (Singapore). The school has a strategic alliance with the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania that began in 2001. INSEAD’s core focus, according to Dean J. Frank Brown, is “to promote a non-dogmatic learning environment that brings together people, cultures and ideas from around the world, changing lives, and helping transform organizations through management education.”

Students can choose from INSEAD’s 10 month accelerated MBA, 14 month Executive MBA, or from a variety of other Executive Education programs.

Here is our fall 2007 interview with Cassandra Pittman, Assistant Director of Marketing, MBA & Executive MBA Programs:

INSEAD requires fluency in a language in addition to English. Can you discuss this aspect of the application requirements?

In order to be accepted to the INSEAD MBA Program, a candidate must demonstrate fluency in English and advanced knowledge of a second language. At INSEAD, we are committed to developing leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. Engaging in the process of learning another language not only demonstrates a candidate’s international motivation to our Admissions Committee, it is also an important step towards developing the intercultural communication skills necessary to become a truly global business leader.

Beyond fluency in 2- 3 languages, how do you identify someone with “international awareness?”

Candidates can (and do!) demonstrate their international motivation in a variety of ways. Some have worked abroad, studied abroad, or made a particular effort to travel extensively. In the context of each candidate’s individual circumstances, we look to see that they have taken advantage of the opportunities they have had to gain international exposure and knowledge of other cultures.

What would you say is INSEAD’s most distinguishing characteristic when compared to other MBA programs, particularly other one year MBA Programs in Europe?

With two full-fledged, fully integrated campuses in Europe and Asia, and our strategic alliance with the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania, INSEAD is the only business school in the world that can offer its students the opportunity to receive a world-class business education across three continents and earn their MBA in just 10 months.

Are there any particular factors that you look for in an application to identify whether they are a good “fit” with the INSEAD program and school culture?

INSEAD students tend to be open to new ideas, curious about other cultures, adventurous in their lives and ambitious in their careers – and they usually like to play as hard as they work. With our accelerated format, the 10 months our students spend on campus is extremely intense, and we look for candidates who can not only cope with the fast pace, but who will enjoy it.

Can you explain how the campus exchange between Singapore and Fontainebleau occurs?

The 10 month MBA Program is divided into 5 study periods of two months each. At the time of applying, candidates select a campus on which they would like to start, where they will stay for their first two periods. After period two, students are free to transfer between campuses as much (or as little) as they like. They also have the opportunity to study at the Wharton School of Business in the fourth or fifth period.

On the application itself, do you have more people expressing a preference for either campus?

We don’t capture data on people’s preferred campus at the time of application because our Admissions Committee does not take this into account when making Admissions decisions.

Can students take advantage of career placement resources on either campus?

Absolutely. Career Services offerings are completely equal across both campuses. In fact, all companies who recruit from INSEAD commit to recruiting from both campuses (and Wharton) equally, which means that our students have completely equal access to all opportunities in all regions across both campuses. In addition, the students who select to study at Wharton also have full access to Wharton’s career services while they are on campus (as do Wharton students while they are at INSEAD).

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