2008 INSEAD MBA Admissions Chat with Caroline Diarte Edwards


2008 INSEAD MBA Admissions Chat with Caroline Diarte Edwards

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Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 12:58:43 PM)
Caroline has been delayed a few minutes. Do you have any questions you want to ask me?

pkd (Oct 29, 2007 12:59:46 PM)
Do you think is there any kind of cutoff on the verbal score for GMAT?  Mine is 57 percentile.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:00:33 PM)
I don't know what the cut-off is, but in a competitive process a 57% in verbal is a distinct disadvantage.  There will be many other applicants with higher scores and comparable experience.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:01:25 PM)
On what different criteria is a potential application reviewed by Adcom and how?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:01:59 PM)
First of all, I want to make clear that I am Linda Abraham, the founder of Accepted and the moderator of the chat. I am not an INSEAD rep.  They are having technical problems.  Admissions committees, including INSEAD, look for evidence that you can perform academically. That means they look at your GMAT and GPA and any other evidence of academic ability.  They look at your work experience to see that it is the kind of experience that will allow you to contribute to classroom discussion.  That will appeal to recruiters who may want to hire you and that demonstrates leadership and managerial ability.  They also look at character traits to see that you are a well-rounded person and share the values of the school.  For INSEAD a top value is multi-culturalism and a citizen of the world perspective.

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 1:05:33 PM)
Hi Linda, do you have any feedback/views from Accepted.com's past users regarding INSEAD's fit for career-switchers into finance?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:06:10 PM)
Fascinating question Brian. I was just looking at stats for INSEAD in preparing for this chat. I was surprised at the high percentage going into finance and the high percentage of career changers.  The latter number, which I can't find now, is somewhat inflated because they define career changer broadly, but the report is at http://www.insead.edu/mba/careers/docs/2006_Careers_report.pdf.  I did not see a figure specifically for career changers in to finance.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:07:49 PM)
Does community service play a role in the review process?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:07:52 PM)
Yes.  It can provide evidence of leadership.  It also is evidence that you will or will not be an active member of INSEAD's community.  It is not a prerequisite or requirement, but again, admissions is a competitive process.

Lee (Oct 29, 2007 1:10:06 PM)
Having a bad GPA will have a considerable disadvantage. Is that right for candidates with good work place performance as well?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:10:23 PM)
Having a bad GPA is a disadvantage, but Adcoms don't look at the GPA in a vacuum.  They look at it as part of a whole. So the question becomes can you provide other evidence of academic ability and do you have other qualities that the school feels it wants in its class?  If the answer is yes to both those questions, you will have a chance at INSEAD and other programs.  Obviously, that is also at least somewhat dependent on how bad the GPA was.  You may be interested in the article we have at http://www.accepted.com/mba/lowstats.aspx.

avalcasi (Oct 29, 2007 1:12:22 PM)
Linda, from an independent position how would you compare INSEAD, LBS and IMD? Any others at this level in Europe?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:12:38 PM)
From an independent position, I wouldn't rank them for you.  I would say that INSEAD is strongest if you want to go into consulting.  LBS is strongest if you want to go into finance.  IMD is strongest if you want to go into general management.  That being said, the decision is much more complex.  LBS is a two year program. INSEAD and IMD are one-year programs.  INSEAD and IMD require more than one language. LBS does not.  INSEAD has the advantage of two campuses and other opportunities for study abroad. IMD does not and LBS's study abroad opportunities are more limited.  In short, it really is not a question for an insider, but for the person inside your head.

ashish (Oct 29, 2007 1:15:56 PM)
There are quite a number of companies that I have worked for in the last 4 years. Does this go against my selection?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:16:15 PM)
How many?

ashish (Oct 29, 2007 1:16:30 PM)
3 precisely

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:16:50 PM)
If you can show progress and growth in your career moves, it will not be a problem.

jerex (Oct 29, 2007 1:17:02 PM)
Do you have any numbers on the number of applicants for the September intake vs the January intake? (Or shall I save that question for the INSEAD rep?)

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:17:12 PM)
Save that for the INSEAD reps.

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 1:17:38 PM)
Would having project management experience offset my lack of community service? It also demonstrates leadership.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:18:20 PM)
It would help because it does demonstrate leadership, but obviously would not show the kind of commitment to community that I mentioned above. Keep in mind that community is broadly defined.  It does not just mean your town or city.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:18:45 PM)
I've read that software professionals are over-represented in the applicant pool. Do you see professionals from construction industry apply for MBA?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:18:58 PM)
Yes definitely, but far fewer than from IT.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:19:15 PM)
Are INSEAD, IMD and LBS well recognized in the US?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:19:34 PM)
Yes definitely, but not as well recognized as in Europe.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:19:55 PM)
INSEAD announced the opening of an office in New York to increase its visibility in the Americas.

jerex (Oct 29, 2007 1:20:14 PM)
OK. Thanks.

goenka (Oct 29, 2007 1:20:41 PM)
So, how much would it make sense to go to INSEAD if I am interested in Finance?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:20:51 PM)
Depends what your other options are.  And if you are interested in a multi-cultural and international approach to finance, INSEAD is probably a great option.

sandrine (Oct 29, 2007 1:21:56 PM)
With the crisis in the subprime and the bad market in finance right now, a lot of people say they expect a huge rise in the number of applicants for next year's MBAs. Do you think that's correct ?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:22:36 PM)
For this year, yes. Next year will reflect the hiring experience of the 08 class and we need to see if and how much MBA hiring is affected by the sub-prime mess.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:22:52 PM)
I am sorry, but has the Insead chat begun officially? Am I late?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:23:09 PM)
That chat has begun, but the INSEAD reps are having trouble logging in.  So I am taking general MBA admissions questions in the meantime.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:24:39 PM)
The average GMAT score at INSEAD is right around 700. I believe the average among Indians with similar profiles is higher, but I don't have data to back up that assumption.

WantInsead (Oct 29, 2007 1:24:47 PM)
Hi Linda, do you have any more info on the office INSEAD is planning to open in NYC? Will it be just for marketing for example?

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:25:50 PM)
There is a press release on the INSEAD web site today.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 1:27:05 PM)
Update: Caroline is unable to log in, so I am going to post your questions and type her responses.

Because of techinical problems, Linda Abraham will be typing answers for Caroline Diarte Edwards, MBA Director of Admissions.  From this point forth Caroline's answers have been spoken by her and typed by Linda.

WantInsead (Oct 29, 2007 1:27:16 PM)
When do the bulk of interview invites for round 1 go out?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:28:07 PM)
Nov. 9.

MBA2008 (Oct 29, 2007 1:28:13 PM)
Is being French a disadvantage when applying to INSEAD?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:28:42 PM)
Not at all. We don't have quotas for nationalities. We use the same criteria regardless of nationality.

jerex (Oct 29, 2007 1:29:00 PM)
Do you have any numbers on the number of applicants in the January vs September intakes at INSEAD?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:29:19 PM)
The level of competition is the same for both intakes, but we don't give out application figures. We are seeing an increase in application volume, but we don't give out the statistics.

goenka (Oct 29, 2007 1:30:36 PM)
Guess, you missed my question....How good would INSEAD be for someone who wants to make a career change into Finance; Consulting being the strength of INSEAD.

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:31:28 PM)
It's a misperception that we prepare our class for consulting more than finance. We have rougly 1/3 of the class going into consulting and 1/3 going into finance.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:31:54 PM)
When listing your extracurriculars, hobbies, interests, I have noticed that many schools ask for those activities you are participating in "currently". What if one had participated in a club, team, or sport for several years, but then within the last year sustained an injury, and is therefore unable to fully participate? Should one still list the past activity and caveat that an injury currently prevents from continued involvement?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:32:06 PM)
Yes. Exactly.

Karan (Oct 29, 2007 1:32:28 PM)
Caroline, I have heard that financing at INSEAD is becoming increasingly difficult. In order to get a loan we need a French co-signer... would you have more info on this?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:33:10 PM)
Most of our students will get a loan from their native country...Some will get loans in France. There are a variety of options. There are more details on the web site.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:33:32 PM)
So does having a non-IT background help stand out in the applicant pool?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:34:13 PM)
We will evaluate candidates in comparison to the whole pool and in comparison with people from similar backgrounds. So I can't really say that one is an advantage over the other.  Again, we are looking at a broad range of criteria rather than discounting people just on professional background.

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:35:22 PM)
We do require a TOEFL for non-native English speakers.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:36:23 PM)
Are there any statistics for schools like Insead and LBS in terms of the % of graduates that place into the Sales&Trading division of an investment bank? I am aware that the top US schools break it down to this level, but I have not seen the top European schools do...

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:37:00 PM)
I don't have data but INSEAD grads go into a wide variety of positions.  Email mba.info@insead.edu and I will find out more information for you.

avalcasi (Oct 29, 2007 1:37:39 PM)
Caroline, what mitigation factors would you look for to justify a low quantitative score (67%) in the GMAT?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:38:17 PM)
If the applicant has demonstrated quant skills in their previous educational background or in their professional careers.

goenka (Oct 29, 2007 1:38:37 PM)
I have read that January intake is better for people interested in IB due to the internship period available. But, what about the disadvantage faced by graduating in Dec, the recruiting cycle for companies being in August?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:39:47 PM)
Definitely better starting in January if they are making a career change. We work with recruiters so they can adapt to our cycle. We have equal numbers of people going in to finance from our December graduates and our July graduates.

ashish (Oct 29, 2007 1:39:54 PM)
Is NOT knowing French a disadvantage for INSEAD admissions?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:40:29 PM)
You must be fluent in English and have a working knowledge of a second language and a basic knowledge of a third language. We don't specify what they have to be.

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 1:40:57 PM)
I'm currently on the waitlist for Jan08 intake. My question is - when would be the last deadline for INSEAD to arrive at a decision? Is it possible for INSEAD to accept a waitlister two weeks before class starts?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:41:46 PM)
We will make decision up to the week before class starts, so yes it is possible. We will let a candidate know ASAP when a spot becomes available.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:02 PM)
What is the GMAT score spread for INSEAD?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:09 PM)
About 580-800.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:19 PM)
What is the difference between R1 and R2 application review process? Any disadvantage if I apply in R2?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:36 PM)
Same process. No advantage or disadvantage.

sandrine (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:41 PM)
How many percent of your students go on both campuses?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:42:53 PM)
About 75%.

jerex (Oct 29, 2007 1:43:05 PM)
If I have no personal preference on when to begin - Would you recommend applying in the 3rd or 4th rounds of the September intake? Or the 1st round of the January intake? Considering that the deadline dates overlap...

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:43:46 PM)
Apply for the intake that suits you best. Competition is similar for all rounds.

ashish (Oct 29, 2007 1:43:52 PM)
How do you rate overseas experience for INSEAD admissions?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:45:04 PM)
We look at international motivation as one of our criteria. It can be demonstrated by work or study abroad, multiple language fluency. It is definitely an advantage to have done some or all of these things. We are looking for people who seek an international environment.

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 1:45:27 PM)
What are the internship opportunities like for someone who wants to go into finance on the Singapore campus?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:45:52 PM)
Basically the same regardless of campus. Recruiting companies must recruit at both campuses.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:46:21 PM)
I plan on applying during Round 1 (deadline of 5 MAR 2008) for the Jan 2009 intake. How early can/should I apply? Additionally, if I were to submit my complete application in JAN 2008, how soon would I be informed of an interview decision? Are applications considered on a rolling basis during each round?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:46:36 PM)
We will not look at the application before the application deadline.

goenka (Oct 29, 2007 1:46:51 PM)
How open are you towards people applying from family managed businesses which have small turnovers?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:47:43 PM)
We have a long tradition of working with people from family business backgrounds. Therefore we welcome applications. We will look at what the candidate has achieved. Is it growing? How have you contributed?

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 1:48:11 PM)
What class or professor is simply not to be missed at INSEAD in terms of finance/ Investment banking?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:48:53 PM)
That's a tough question! There are so many outstanding finance faculty.

MBA2008 (Oct 29, 2007 1:49:19 PM)
As the euro is really high right now (versus the dollar), attending INSEAD gets really costly for North Americans. Anything INSEAD can do to help alleviate the currency change burden?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:49:46 PM)
We have many scholarships and 2 million euros a year in financial aid.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:49:57 PM)
What are the most popular clubs at INSEAD? Does INSEAD have a lacrosse club? Food/Wine club?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:50:56 PM)
There are lots of clubs. Some popular clubs are based around professional interests. Entrepreneurship club. Private Equity Club. Indeavor, which is focused on Corporate Social Responsibility.

avalcasi (Oct 29, 2007 1:51:10 PM)
When in the career report you mention General Management, what kind of roles do you exactly mean? In what position do MBA graduates join?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:52:31 PM)
It can be a position managing a division of a larger business or for example a country manager position or GE's management programs or programs like that.

Shiv (Oct 29, 2007 1:52:39 PM)
English is my 2nd language. However I have studied (earned a Master Degree), lived and worked in the US for the last 7 years. Is TOEFL still required?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:53:02 PM)
If you earned your MS in the US, then you don't need the TOEFL.

Karan (Oct 29, 2007 1:53:10 PM)
Going by the previous years, could you give us an idea about the percentage of applicants invited for interviews and then the percentage of those finally selected?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:54:21 PM)
Sorry, we don't release those stats. But I can tell you that application volume is up. We will always interview roughly the same number of applicants so the rejection rate will increase at the interview selection phase.

MBA2008 (Oct 29, 2007 1:54:33 PM)
I read on the business week forums that some students already got interview invites. Is that true?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:55:10 PM)
There are a few R1 invitations that have gone out, but the overwhelming majority have not yet gone out.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:55:21 PM)
I understand that the entry language requirement is for native tongue and an additional language certified at intermediate level. Is it disadvantageous to the applicant if he/she doesn't have that intermediate certification at time of application submission?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:56:10 PM)
No. That's fine. But they would need to have that level before they start the program. It happens every year and we work with those applicants, if accepted, to ensure that they have intermediate level before they start the program.

r (Oct 29, 2007 1:56:22 PM)
2 parts of this question : I was told by one of the current students at a business school that a good TOEFL score can help to compensate for a low AQUA score. Is that true? In my case I got a 4.0 in the second attempt and 5.5 in the first GMAT attempt, and do schools look the higher score of AWA and understand that the low AWA score was just an aberration?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:57:17 PM)
TOEFL is much more important. We are not too concerned with the AWA.

sg (Oct 29, 2007 1:57:36 PM)
Caroline, how is INSEAD responding to the sustainability part of business? Are there any clubs or courses that are geared towards social sector/sustainability?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:58:18 PM)
Indeavor is a club devoted to corporate social responsibility. About 50% of students are members. The school is investing heavily in this area.

William (Oct 29, 2007 1:58:29 PM)
Would it be possible to be a "single" parent at INSEAD? Has there ever been an INSEAD MBA student who has done this? My wife is unable to leave her current job for the year during my MBA, but I am considering taking my son with me. How accessible and reliable are day care / nanny services in Fontainebleau?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 1:59:45 PM)
We do have cases like this. I know of a woman starting in January who is coming on her own. It requires forward planning and the ability to pay for child care. You will need a lot of support. It is not a 9-5 program and you will need evening as well as daytime child care. We have lots of students with children and it is a family friendly environment.

r (Oct 29, 2007 2:00:21 PM)
Can you comment on the CareerLeader test and how helpful it can be in determining one's career choice, especially for someone who had an idea about doing a career shift post INSEAD MBA?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 2:01:18 PM)
It's used to work with our students to work out what they want to do. It includes 1-to-1 counseling with career counselor to help them determine what they want to do.

Brian_Gan (Oct 29, 2007 2:01:24 PM)
Thanks Caroline!

William (Oct 29, 2007 2:01:34 PM)
Does INSEAD look favorably upon military experience? What percentage of admitted students come from military backgrounds at INSEAD?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 2:01:59 PM)
It is a low percentage but we do welcome them.  We have some students from military backgrounds and they add value to the classroom. We still look at the same criteria. We recognize that military people frequently have developed the skills to be successful in a business career.

William (Oct 29, 2007 2:02:46 PM)
How does INSEAD look upon 1 or 2 GMAT re-tests to improve score?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 2:03:12 PM)
We see that a lot. It's fine. We know you don't always get a good score the first time.

sandrine (Oct 29, 2007 2:03:22 PM)
My husband might potentially be living in Brussels while I attend INSEAD. Is it feasible to "commute" for the weekends? Are there classes on Saturday or not?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 2:04:05 PM)
Usually there are not classes on Saturday so it could be feasible, but it is a very intense program so you might need to study on the weekend and you will need to arrange your schedule around that.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 2:04:50 PM)
I saw that this morning INSEAD announced the opening of a US office. What is its primary function? Will that office be involved in helping INSEAD recruit more US students or in helping INSEAD grads find jobs in the US?

CarolineDiarteEdwardsINSEAD (Oct 29, 2007 2:05:12 PM)
The main purpose is for us to get closer and maintain connection to stake holders in the US including alumni and corporate recruiters.  We also want to build up our presence in the US and the Americas.

Linda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 2:05:49 PM)
Thank you again all for participating this evening. Special thanks to Caroline for taking the time to join us today.

Linda AbrahamLinda Abraham (Oct 29, 2007 2:06:34 PM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats

  • USC Nov. 5 
  • Michigan Nov. 7 
  • Consortium Nov. 13 
  • Wharton Nov. 15
Please check the Web site for details and exact time, because we are varying our chat times this year to facilitate attendance from applicants in different time zones. Good luck with your applications!

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