2010 INSEAD MBA Admissions Q&A with Cassandra Pittman

2010 INSEAD MBA Admissions Q&A with Cassandra Pittman

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Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 11:58:23 AM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants to the INSEAD chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about INSEAD. To make a sound application decision and get accepted at the school of your choice, you need to know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask the experts about this outstanding business school.

I also want to welcome Cassandra Pittman, Assistant Director of Marketing for INSEAD’s North American Office, and Andrew Bueno, Marketing Officer, MBA & Executive MBA Programmes at the Fontainebleau Campus.

Thanks to everyone for joining.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 11:58:43 AM)
Thank you Linda. We are excited to be here with you.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 11:58:57 AM)
Glad to be here also!

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 11:59:42 AM)
Hi Cassandra, I have a question regarding the importance of International work experience for Admission to Insead-- is it a prerequisite?

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:00:03 PM)
Andrew, can you discuss some of the differences between the MBA and the EMBA program at INSEAD?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:00:36 PM)
Sure. The MBA programme is a full time programme which targets individuals with 3-6 years work experience, while the EMBA program is a part-time modular programme targeted to individuals with 7-12 years work experience.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:01:48 PM)
Shaman - International work experience is not a prerequisite as such, however, you must demonstrate that you are internationally motivated.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:02:19 PM)
Cassandra, how would some demonstrate international motivation if they do not have work experience outside their home country?

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:03:18 PM)
Hi Andrew, do you have a buddy/mentoring system set up for potential candidates to reach out to Insead alumni for guidance?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:03:53 PM)
Linda, by and large, we will be looking for some amount of international experience. This could include studying abroad or working with international teams. The less opportunity an applicant may have had to gain international experience, the more important it will be for that applicant to tell the committee why they want to gain that experience through their INSEAD MBA.

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:04:27 PM)
Cassandra: On the same lines, I have also read that INSEAD is looking at 'internationally motivated' candidates. Would a candidate who has no international work experience be considered? Or would having international ambitions suffice? Does non-work related international exposure come into the picture at all?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:04:50 PM)
Hi Stacy - due to the volume, we currently do not have something formal set-up. However, you are welcome to contact our alumni via the National Alumni Associations or at events in your local city/country. 

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:05:36 PM)
Cassandra: I have never been physically working outside of India, though since the time I joined work, I am part of a team with resources in 4 continents and we all work together on our project. Moreover, my client is a US firm and I interact with them almost daily. I have completed insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America. I travel extensively for leisure trips and have been to countries like Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Singapore, and Thailand among others. Do these things show an international motivation to some extent?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:05:49 PM)
Hi Sarathy - we will consider all international experience you have had, including studying abroad, travel and work with international companies and teams. We want to see that you have taken advantage of any opportunities presented to you to gain international experience and exposure.

Anna (Feb 22, 2010 12:06:09 PM)
Andrew: My background is in linguistics and education and I do not have a lot of work-experience examples of my quantitative abilities. I am currently taking a math course to demonstrate my quantitative abilities. Is that, together with a high GMAT score, enough for INSEAD, or do I need strong work experience demonstrating them, as well?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:06:20 PM)
Shaman - yes, these are all things we will take into account when evaluating your international motivation.

solac (Feb 22, 2010 12:06:40 PM)
Cassandra: Can you discuss the differences between the one year vs. two year MBA programs? What's the Insead advantage? Would you recommend career-changers to apply to the 2-year programs and get an internship experience?

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:07:19 PM)
Andrew: How did application volume for your September 2010 intake compare to the September intake last year?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:07:46 PM)
Anna: We have students from many different backgrounds, so we understand that not everyone can have the same quantitative abilities. This being said, any pre-math courses you take, and obviously the GMAT, will be a good way to show/prove your potential.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:08:21 PM)
Linda, yes, due to the crisis we have seen a substantial increase in applications.

CC (Feb 22, 2010 12:09:19 PM)
Andrew: If I have a GMAT score slightly lower than the 2009 average at INSEAD, but I have good GPA and lengthy experience, what should I be focusing on in the application to compensate for the GMAT score?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:09:45 PM)
Solac - in terms of course content and hours, INSEAD's one year programme is virtually identical to a typical two-year programme. You spend a similar number of hours in class - you just do it in a condensed amount of time. Also, more than 80% of our graduates make a career change upon graduation. The main difference is the overall Return on Investment, which is much higher on a shorter programme as you are out of work for only 50% of the time you would be on a two-year programme and back earning much sooner.

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:09:48 PM)
Hi Cassandra, I wanted to know about the opportunities that INSEAD grads have in the US. How easy/difficult is to for INSEAD grads who are internationals to US as well, to get a job in the consulting sector in the US?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:10:27 PM)
CC: Please note that the GMAT is just one part of our 4 admissions criteria. Therefore having a GMAT lower than our average is not necessarily a problem. Your score should be balanced in the verbal and quant sections and in the 70-75% and above. The rest of your application should cover the other key criteria.

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:10:32 PM)
Thanks Cassandra, Could you please let us know if Insead has a cut off for GMAT AWA score?

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:10:43 PM)
Andrew: Would an excellent TOEFL score make up for an average score in the verbal section of the GMAT? Or do you look at the GMAT as a whole and not the split-up?

Vishnu (Feb 22, 2010 12:11:44 PM)
Andrew: Does the admissions committee view higher degree (Ms, MD, JD etc.) holders differently?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:11:51 PM)
LadyGaga - the largest hurdle for INSEAD grads working in the U.S. is visa issues. Obviously this only applies to those who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders, and the same would be true for those graduating from U.S. programmes. There is an array of opportunities for graduates in the U.S., and consulting is a strong field for INSEAD grads worldwide.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:12:10 PM)
Sarathy: Not really, as the TOEFL and GMAT are independent exams. As I mentioned earlier, we look at the split/balance between the two sections of the GMAT.

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:12:29 PM)
Andrew: Will the application essay questions remain the same for the batch commencing January 2011?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:12:29 PM)
Shaman - there is no absolute cut-off AWA.

Fabio Tonetto (Feb 22, 2010 12:12:39 PM)
Cassandra, in addition to the international environment, what are the main strengths of the MBA at INSEAD?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:13:58 PM)
Sarathy: We are in the process of modifying our essay questions, however we will obviously provide an "overlap" period when the new questions are implemented.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:14:23 PM)
Thank you Andrew. I also have a question about GPAs. I have not seen an average GPA posted for INSEAD-- do you have that data or do you not calculate an average?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:15:29 PM)
Hi Stacy - as the usage of GPAs remains quite North American/Anglo-Saxon, we do not require this figure in the application, as our applicants come from around the world and use various grading/evaluation systems. When it comes to your previous education, we will be more interested in what you studied, why you studied it and what you did with it.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:16:02 PM)
Hi Fabio - I would say that the main strengths of the INSEAD MBA are:

  • Quality and Brand - an INSEAD MBA is recognized worldwide as top-class.
  • Alumni Network - INSEAD boasts one of the most international, successful and connected business alumni communities in the world.
  • Global Opportunities - it's not just about the international environment while you are at INSEAD - having an INSEAD MBA will position you to build a successful and truly global career.

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:16:08 PM)
Cassandra, where do you rank INSEAD when compared to other U.S. grads. For example, if I go to INSEAD and want to get job in the U.S.,  will a recruiter give Kellogg graduates preference?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:17:27 PM)
Vishnu: No it does not. As MA-type degrees do not exist in all countries, we are more interested in your overall education and what you did with it post studies.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:17:30 PM)
Andrew, I also had a question about professional certificates (CFA, CPA, CAIA etc.). Do they play any role in admission or are they used to waive classes?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:17:50 PM)
LadyGaga - Not at all. For example, McKinsey makes more hires from INSEAD than they do from any other business school in the world and this includes several positions throughout North America.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:18:31 PM)
What are the challenges of representing INSEAD in North American? Do INSEAD alumni who want to work in North America have difficulty doing so?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:19:17 PM)
Stacy: If you have a professional certificate, it obviously won't hinder your application, but it also won't give you any "extra points" per se. It will just verify your quant abilities. Once on the programme you will not be able to use these certificates to exempt from courses. You will however, be able to sit a few exams at the beginning of the programme in order to exempt 1-2 core courses...if possible.

Fabio Tonetto (Feb 22, 2010 12:19:25 PM)
Andrew, Is a TOEFL score of 100 eliminatory?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:20:18 PM)
Fabio: Unfortunately it is. Our minimum TOEFL score is set at 105 for the iBT.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:20:40 PM)
Linda - The largest challenge INSEAD grads face in working in North America is obtaining a work permit. This has been especially true in the last year for those working in the banking sector, as banks who received federal stimulus funding were not permitted to hire non-U.S. nationals. However, those who hold a green card, or are U.S. or Canadian citizens, rarely have trouble. I will say that while INSEAD's brand is strong on the East & West Cost, and within traditional "MBA industries", it is less so in the middle of the country and within less global industries / companies.

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:21:00 PM)
Thanks again Cassandra. How important is the length of work experience after graduation and before joining the program? Is 3.5 years of work experience enough to be admitted to Insead if the quality of experience is good and the career has progressed well?

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:21:21 PM)
Andrew: Can you tell us about the pros and cons of the January term vs. the September term?

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:22:23 PM)
So Cassandra, even career switchers, who have work visa for the U.S., have a higher chance for getting into top 4 consulting firms in U.S. than any other business school? Even HBS?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:23:09 PM)
Shaman - the quality and progression of your experience is much more important that the quantity. The mid 80% range is 3 - 7 years, and we tend to say that 2 years is roughly the minimum, but every year we accept a handful of candidates who have less.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:23:13 PM)
Sarathy: Academically speaking there is no difference. We ensure that the student body is just as diverse in one class as in the other. In terms of "pros & cons". The only difference we can outline is the fact that the January intake has 2 months off during the summer (Jul/Aug) during which 40%+ of our students do an internship. However aside from this there is no difference.

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:23:29 PM)
Cassandra, coming back to the 1 year vs. 2 year debate, what opportunities, apart from the 2 month internship for the January program, does INSEAD offer students seeking a career change? Are there any internships that are offered in conjunction with INSEAD? The "apprentissages" seem to be popular in France.

Vishnu (Feb 22, 2010 12:23:36 PM)
Andrew: How do I apply for a TOEFL waiver, since I have a degree from the USA, though I am not a native English speaker?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:24:56 PM)
Vishnu: At the following link, you will find an animated sequence which will explain how one can waive the TOEFL.  In general, if you have a degree from an English-speaking university, you will not be required to take the TOEFL.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:25:04 PM)
LadyGaga - I would be uncomfortable saying that you would have a better or worse chance of getting a job with, say McKinsey or BCG coming out of INSEAD as opposed to any other top-5 school. The truth is, your chances will depend much more on how you perform during your interview and on cracking the case they give you.

CC (Feb 22, 2010 12:25:14 PM)
Andrew: Do you have statistics on the number of people who obtained 2-month internships in the latest January class? In which parts of the world do these internships mostly reside?

Vishnu (Feb 22, 2010 12:26:05 PM)
Cassandra: Though this might be premature, I am interested in knowing more about the clubs at INSEAD. How is continuity in club activities maintained when you have a new set of students every year?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:27:45 PM)
CC: 56% of our 2008 class obtained summer internships. This went slightly down in 2009. For the bigger locations: 53% Western Europe, 28% Asia Pacific, then Middle East, North America, and the rest of the world.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:27:54 PM)
Andrew, from what I know, some schools don't consider internships or work performed during your undergrad. Do you count full-time internships and professional part-time work before graduating as experience?

solac (Feb 22, 2010 12:29:54 PM)
Andrew: What do the students without an internship do during the 2 months off?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:30:17 PM)
Stacy: All experience, full or part time, is important and taken into consideration. You will find 2 separate sections on the application to input this information. This being said, we are looking for individuals with 3-6 years of full time work experience.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:30:42 PM)
Sarathy - There are no internship (aka "stage" in French) opportunities during the 10 month programme for those who begin in September. However, outside of Investment Banking, we see no correlation whatsoever between career-switch opportunities for those who did not or do not complete an internship. Investment Banking is a little different, as the big I-Banks only hire from their internship programmes. However, those in our September program who wish to pursue a career in Investment Banking, will complete an internship in the summer immediately following graduation. Career Services provides you with support & learning and development opportunities throughout the programme which can help position you for whatever your post-graduate career goals may be.

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:30:55 PM)
Solac: During their time off, they sink in the beauty of Europe!!!

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:31:41 PM)
Solac: As we run a very intensive MBA Programme (80% of the classroom hours of a 2 year programme) the other 50-60% of the January intake simply take time off to rest, travel and prepare for the return to campus in September.

solac (Feb 22, 2010 12:31:57 PM)
Cassandra: Can you talk more about the admission interview? If we are selected for an interview, how can we best prepare for it? Is there a case study to prepare?

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:32:00 PM)
Andrew: Would you advise candidates to try to meet the '3 language requirement' prior to joining the course, in order to make the most of the time at INSEAD, as opposed to spending time studying a 3rd language during the MBA program?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:32:12 PM)
Solac - there is no case study to prepare. My best advice is to prepare for it as you would for a job interview. Know your goals, why you want to come to INSEAD, and what you have to offer the INSEAD community.

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 12:32:28 PM)
Cassandra: Adding to Stacy's question, I want to know if full-time quality work experience before graduation is considered too, as there might be candidates who started working before earning a professional degree depending on the vocational experience, as such?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:33:12 PM)
Sarathy: Absolutely! Your time at INSEAD is already very tight, so any time not spent in language classes trying to meet the 3rd language requirement will free up time for other activities: sports, professional clubs, career activities, and networking, etc.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:33:17 PM)
Navz - If the level of position held is typically that of someone who would have a first degree, then we will consider it.

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 12:33:47 PM)
Andrew, is INSEAD specific about the quality of the degree obtained? Would you count an accredited correspondence degree?

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:34:03 PM)
Cassandra, what role does post-MBA “hire-ability” play in admissions? Does a member of career services have a voice in admissions decisions?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:36:00 PM)
Navz: We do verify the quality and accreditation of the school at which an applicant obtained their degree. This being said, not everyone has the same opportunities. So if an applicant completed a degree via a correspondence school, we will be looking to know why this was done vs. a traditional programme.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:36:15 PM)
Thank you Andrew. When you talk about full-time experience, I know quality and progression matter more than quantity, but do you need to explain job changes, which are due to visa restrictions? How would you address that on the application? Or in any of the essays?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:36:26 PM)
Linda: Career Services does not sit on the Admissions Committee (in fact, our committee is made up half of alumni and half of faculty). It is not 'hire-ability' we are assessing as much as an applicant's thought process. Are their career goals reasonable? For example, if someone wrote in their application that they want to be President of Goldman Sachs three years after graduation, the committee would raise a few eye-brows!

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:36:55 PM)
Andrew, in the case of an applicant from a less well-known, but still accredited school, would the GMAT have more weight?

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:36:59 PM)
Cassandra: Can you talk little bit about the Wharton exchange program? Is it really competitive to get into it?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:37:32 PM)
Stacy: When it comes to different jobs, simply specify them in the appropriate order and location on the application. If you are worried that you "bounced around" too much. Simply address this "issue" in the optional essay.

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 12:37:42 PM)
Andrew: What do you think is the best round in which to apply? Does applying in the first or second round make a huge difference in getting admitted? Please share your views.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:38:56 PM)
Linda: Not necessarily. It will be looked at in the same way as we do for all applicants. We don't expect our applicants to have all attended top-notch schools. We simply want to know where you studied and why.

solac (Feb 22, 2010 12:39:20 PM)
Andrew: Do you have nationality quotas? I'm French, (although I've lived and work in Boston for the past 5 years), is that a disadvantage?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:39:36 PM)
LadyGaga - once you have been accepted to INSEAD, there are no further 'competitive' processes. That is, there is not another essay or application process for campus exchange, including the Wharton exchange. Upon arriving to INSEAD, every student is issued with 200 points. These points are used to 'bid' on oversubscribed electives and campus exchange. Therefore, it is up to each student to decide what is most important to them and where they want to save/spend their points.

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:39:41 PM)
Cassandra: I have a question about the diversity requirement. Is diversity among applicants sought only on the basis of Nationality, Gender and Pre-MBA Industry or are life experiences and extra-curricular activities also taken into account?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:40:14 PM)
Navz: We pretty much accept the same amount of applications in each round. Rounds 3 & 4 (if applicable) have slightly less seats. However, you should apply when your application is 100% ready regardless of the round.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:40:22 PM)
Cassandra, how many students take advantage of the opportunity to switch campuses during their time at INSEAD?

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 12:40:41 PM)
Andrew: Having said that you would want to know why a degree was done in correspondence, what would be the best place to explain the situation? Would it only be on the optional essay or can it put forth in any other way?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:23 PM)
Shaman - We really look at the whole person when making admissions decisions, so everything counts. Having said that, nationality/work experience/and gender also count. We love bankers, for example, but we would not like to have a class entirely of people from a banking background, even if they all had different hobbies and personal interests.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:36 PM)
Solac: No we do not have quotas, but rather we have set "caps" for each nationality at 10%. This is to ensure that our programme remains 100% international and not divided up into "domestic students" and "international students".

Nury (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:39 PM)
Hi Cassandra, when is the admission info-session in NYC?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:43 PM)
Linda - over 70% of the class typically exchanges at least once during their year at INSEAD.

Fabio Tonetto (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:45 PM)
Andrew, Do you have any statistics about the placements effectiveness of the career service last year?

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:41:56 PM)
And how many exchange twice?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:42:12 PM)
Navz: A few short paragraphs in your optional essay will be sufficient.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:42:40 PM)
Andrew -- to add to Linda's question about elite schools: What about if you attended a lower ranked school because of multitude of scholarships? Would this somewhat mitigate your academic performance to that of someone from an Ivy League?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:43:18 PM)
Nury - our next Information Session will be on April 18th. We are just in the process of confirming the venue. Once we do, you will see it listed on our website alongside all of our global events.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:43:35 PM)
Cassandra, do you ever Google applicants or check out someone’s Facebook or MySpace page?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:44:02 PM)
Fabio: The statistics for the 2009 class are still being sorted through, however I can share that in 2009, we had 193 on-campus recruitment events which were generated by 140 unique companies and we organized around 4,000 interviews on campus.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:44:24 PM)
Linda - I don't have that figure to hand, but the Wharton exchange is generally capped at approximately 100 students per year (that is 100 students go from INSEAD to Wharton, and 100 students go from Wharton to INSEAD).

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:44:25 PM)
Cassandra, how would you compare INSEAD against consulting programs in Ross and Fuqua? They are not among the top 5. In your observation, do employers prefer INSEAD grads over these 11 and 12th ranked schools?

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:44:52 PM)
Andrew: Any visits to India lined up? INSEAD appears to be ignoring India. Is this because you already receive a large number of applications from Indians?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:45:17 PM)
Linda - We never proactively Google or search on Facebook etc, but we have, on occasion been sent links. Also, if someone has "friended" one of us on Facebook, or linked with us on linked-in then obviously we see what is there.

Vishnu (Feb 22, 2010 12:45:30 PM)
Adding to Linda's question, do you check people's LinkedIn profiles, and do recommendations on LinkedIn add weight to the application?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:45:40 PM)
Stacy: Not at all. We treat all people equally - Ivy League and those who (for whatever reason) went to a smaller/lesser known school. You know your capabilities, so if that matches with what we offer, there is nothing to worry about.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:47:26 PM)
Sarathy: We regularly visit India and we were just there a few months ago, so we by no means are ignoring India. This being said, the top 3 nationalities on our programme are: USA, India & France. Keep up to date on our website for upcoming events.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:47:39 PM)
Andrew, what role does community service/outside work contribution play in the admission decision?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:48:03 PM)
Vishnu: We do not use LinkedIn as a source for application information/verification at the moment.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:48:37 PM)
LadyGaga - I would feel uncomfortable representing the position of schools for which I am not employed. What I can tell you is that the "top" MBA recruiting companies, like the big 5 consulting firms you represented before, are very selective about where they recruit. Does that mean it would be impossible to work for them if you went to a school where they didn't recruit? No. Would it make it much more difficult? Very likely.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:48:58 PM)
Cassandra: How is recruiting going for INSEAD grads? Any particularly active sectors or geographic regions?

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:49:13 PM)
Andrew: Do you have advice for applicants aiming for your March 31st deadline?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:49:38 PM)
  Vishnu- again, we do not proactively do any internet searches regarding our candidates, but we cannot help but see what is linked to our individual pages.

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:49:48 PM)
Cassandra, I am planning to visit the Singapore campus in the coming weeks, do you think a visit will be a good idea to get a taste of the Insead experience?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:49:51 PM)
Stacy: A very important role! We are not only interested in your academic and professional capabilities, but also who you are as a person: What sports you play, musical instruments, community involvement, political, and religious, etc., so be sure to be more specific then just: "travel, reading, and cooking, etc".   :)

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:50:29 PM)
Linda: Nothing really specific. Simply be sure that your application is 100% ready, interesting and well put together. Your goal during this whole process is to "stand out". And also, make sure everything is in on time.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:51:28 PM)
Andrew, what opportunities does INSEAD offer applicants interested in entrepreneurship or in sustainable development?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:51:56 PM)
Linda: Recruiting is strong - much stronger now, for example, than it was during the last recession. We have seen substantial increases in number of graduates entering consulting and industry. Although Investment Banking opportunities are not as plentiful as they once were, within the field of finance, there have been a number of positions available within private equity.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:51:59 PM)
Andrew: if you are looking at an application and the numbers and basic profile are in the ballpark for an INSEAD student, what distinguishes an application that is accepted from one that is rejected?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:52:49 PM)
Linda: Well, if all the figures and numbers are in the ballpark, the difference can be made by extra-curricular activities, personality coming through the paper, the interviews (if you get to that stage) and simply the feeling that you really believe in INSEAD and that it is the right and only school for you.

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:53:34 PM)
Shaman - If you have the opportunity to visit the campus you should definitely do so. Please contact Jasmin Sim who is based on the Singapore campus and can help arrange your visit.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:53:59 PM)
Linda: A whole list of electives in both these areas can be found on our website. In addition, INSEAD has an Entrepreneurship Department which will assist, and the Social Innovation Centre which will assist with people interested in sustainable development.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:54:00 PM)
Cassandra, are there any special considerations for re-applicants? Do reviewers also look at last year's application when reviewing the application of a reapplicant? Do they just look at the reviewers' notes? Or do they ignore last year's application?

solac (Feb 22, 2010 12:54:18 PM)
Andrew: Did you already reach the "French cap" for the Sept 2010 intake? Would you recommend I apply for the January intake?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:55:46 PM)
Solac: We try to make sure that there seats available in each round, regardless of nationality. This being said, as it is 4th Round, there could be the worry that "all the good French people have gotten in". It also depends on how "out of the ordinary" your application and background is.

stacy (Feb 22, 2010 12:55:53 PM)
Andrew, thank you very much, my last question has to do with the GMAT - do you average GMATs or do you just take the highest?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:55:56 PM)
Linda - if a re-applicant applies within 3 years of their initial application, then we will review their first application. We will also ask them to write an additional essay detailing what changes/progressions they have experienced and why they feel they are now a more competitive applicant.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:56:15 PM)
Stacy: We look at the highest GMAT score taken, regardless of the order. We do not take an average of the different scores.

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 12:56:20 PM)
Cassandra: How does INSEAD view reapplications? Do you think it would make more sense to wait for a semester or two and send a strong application rather than putting forth the application and reapplying again in the later intakes?

Fabio Tonetto (Feb 22, 2010 12:56:51 PM)
Andrew, does someone with an entrepreneurship profile have as much chance of being accepted as someone concerned with an executive career?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:57:19 PM)
Navz - I would say that it is absolutely better to wait to apply until your application is as strong as it can be. Success rates upon reapplication are much lower.

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:57:24 PM)
I am definitely trying hard to put things in place for the visit Cassandra. Does Insead offer Career services to its Alumni even a few years after their graduation?

CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:57:45 PM)
Shaman - Yes, INSEAD has career services for alumni.

LadyGaga (Feb 22, 2010 12:57:55 PM)
Andrew: One last question: You have mentioned transcripts need to be signed by a notary. Can I get it signed by my company's HR?

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:58:04 PM)
Lady Gaga: yes, this should be fine!

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:58:38 PM)
Fabio: Absolutely. We are always trying to increase and diversify the kinds of students we have on our programme. So if you are an entrepreneur - go for it!

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:58:53 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Cassandra and Andrew for taking the time to join us today. We look forward to seeing you at future chats.

Upcoming Chats:

Michigan Ross Waitlist Q&A -  March 18th

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CassandraPittmanINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:10 PM)
Many thanks for having us. It was a pleasure to chat with you all!

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:24 PM)
For me also. Best of luck to all of you!

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:36 PM)
Cassandra & Andrew, thank you for patiently answering our questions. This session has definitely been very informative. I look forward to learning more about the INSEAD MBA in the coming weeks.

AndrewBuenoINSEAD (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:36 PM)
Good evening!

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:48 PM)
Thank you so much Cassandra and Andrew!

Shaman (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:51 PM)
Thank you Linda!

Sarathy Srinivas (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:54 PM)
Linda, as always, you have been a great host. Thank you.

Linda Abraham (Feb 22, 2010 12:59:59 PM)
You're most welcome.

Nury (Feb 22, 2010 1:00:02 PM)

Fabio Tonetto (Feb 22, 2010 1:00:04 PM)
Good evening - thanks a lot!

Navz (Feb 22, 2010 1:00:08 PM)
Thanks a lot Cassandra and Andrew!

Vishnu (Feb 22, 2010 1:00:16 PM)
Thanks Cassandra and Andrew!

Anna (Feb 22, 2010 1:01:00 PM)
Thank you for your ideas and advice!

solac (Feb 22, 2010 1:01:03 PM)
Thank you!

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