INSEAD - The MBA interview

INSEAD - The MBA interview

The INSEAD MBA offers students a life-changing experience through its fast-paced 10-month curriculum and its multi-cultural learning experience. The program consists of students from 80 + nations and has three campuses worldwide. This diverse learning experience allows INSEAD to develop successful leaders who add value to their organizations and communities.  

How does the INSEAD interview work?

INSEAD interviews are conducted by alumni who use the interview to reflect personally on your entire application.  They ask standard MBA questions and questions designed to reflect your ability to handle a global learning environment. As the interviews are conducted by alumni instead of an admission committee member, discussions tend to be more friendly and personal.

Through the interview, INSEAD is trying to understand your motivation to pursue an MBA degree, your interest in the INSEAD program in general, and if you are a good fit for their teamwork culture.

Who will interview you?

Alumni will interview you, and there will be two separate interviews as part of the application process. A different person will conduct each interview.  

Will the interviewer have read my application?

 After you are contacted for an interview, you will be required to send your interviewer a PDF of your application. Motivational essays are not required to be sent, and the interviewer will not have seen your video essay. However, everything you send as a PDF will be reviewed in advance by the interviewer. As the interviews are personalized, expect specific questions based on what you have already written in your application and more personal questions about your background and upbringing. This personalization means you should be familiar with your application details before going into the interview and make some general reflections, in advance, about your background, so you are prepared for any questions.  Interviews are 45-60 minutes long.

 Who is INSEAD looking for

 The desire of applicants to use their careers to impact diversity, adaptability and teamwork daily through their work are critical factors INSEAD seeks in their admitted students. Diversity is vital to INSEAD. The average class comes from up to 90 countries, so applicants should have a global mindset and be able to adapt to the challenges of diversity through teamwork! The average student also has around six years of work experience.

How can you prepare for your INSEAD interview?

Like all interviews, nothing is 100% predictable. However, INSEAD does tend to focus on standard MBA interview questions. Below you will find sample questions that candidate similar to you have received in past interviews.

 Below you will find questions from previous student’s interview reports and sites like clearadmit.com. This list is not exhaustive, but preparing for these questions and any possible follow-up questions you can imagine will be a solid foundation and preparation for your interview.

 Sample INSEAD Interview Questions

 RESUME

  1. Tell me about yourself. / Walk me through your resume. (Expect follow-up questions)
  2. What is missing from your resume that you’d like to tell me about?
  3. What made you change careers? (+ Follow-up)
  4. Why did you decide to switch into the field that you chose?
  5. How have you grown over the years?
  6. Tell me about what’s challenging in your current role. (+ Follow-up)
  7. Why did you choose ________________ for your career?
  8. What do you do outside of work?
  9. Tell me about your international experiences, both personal and professional. 
  10. Why did you choose your undergraduate school?
  11. Why did you choose your major?
  12. Tell me something about your undergraduate experience?
  13. What was your legacy at your undergrad school?

WHY MBA/WHY INSEAD

  1. Why do you want an MBA?
  2. Why now?
  3. Why INSEAD?
  4. What are your goals?
  5. What will you do if you do not get the job you want after graduation?
  6. How will INSEAD help you achieve those goals?
  7. How do you envision yourself being involved in the INSEAD community?
  8. What clubs will you participate in?
  9. How will you enhance the diversity of the INSEAD class?
  10. What other schools did you apply to?
  11. If you got into all of them, which would you attend?

TEAMWORK

  1. Tell me about your teamwork experience.
  2. Describe a difficult team situation you have had to deal with in the past?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who spoke a different language than you. 
  4. What would you do when a team member wasn’t pulling his own weight?
  5. What would your teammates say about you?
  6. Discuss a team failure you were part of.

LEADERSHIP

  1. Who do you admire as a leader?
  2. Have you held leadership positions at work?
  3. Tell me something about your leadership experience?
  4. Have you faced any challenges as a leader? How did you deal with them?
  5. How has your leadership style evolved since college?
  6. What kind of leader are you?

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

  1. What are your two main strengths?
  2. What are your two main weaknesses?
  3. What is special about you that should make me recommend you?
  4. What do people misperceive about you when first meeting you?
  5. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
  6. What makes you angry?
  7. What are you most passionate about 

BRAIN POWER

  1. Tell me about (SOME ISSUE IN YOUR INDUSTRY)
  2. How has the economic crisis affected your company/your industry?
  3. What do you think of (SOME CURRENT GLOBAL ISSUE: POLITICS, ECONOMICS, etc.)?
  4. What is the main challenge your industry/company is facing?

CLOSING

  1. Is there anything you wished I had asked you?
  2. Questions for me

Instead of just reading a list of questions to yourself and thinking of answers, it is best to have a friend or family member pick questions at random and interview you as preparation.  This simulated interview process also helps you develop your ability to respond quickly and confidently. The more you do this, the better your responses will be on your interview day. 

What to do if you get a question you haven’t prepared an answer for

When this happens, it is crucial to stay calm. You have already come so far in the application process; one question will not be your downturn!

Next, make sure to answer the question as detailed as possible by giving an example from your actual professional or personal life. As preparation in advance, you may want to think about some common examples of situations that have come up in your professional or personal life, such as dealing with a demanding customer or co-workers and how you dealt with them.

If you are having trouble thinking of an answer from your professional or personal life, take a drink of water and give yourself a minute to reflect. It is possible to answer a question with a speculative answer about how you think you would act in the situation.  Here, confidence, a smile and a positive tone of voice are of the utmost importance because your interviewer is most likely testing how you think on your feet and respond to unrehearsed questions, a common aspect of life in the business world and life in the INSEAD classroom!