A day at INSEAD

Every Friday at 2pm, INSEAD organizes an info session. I decided to take a look. Unfortunately I couldn’t sit in any class, since the students and faculty member are on summer holidays during July and August.


How to go to Fontainebleau from Paris

If you rely on the public transportation from Paris, you can take at Gare de Lyon the “Transilien R” , the train departs at 13:05. There is one every 30 minutes, so take this one for a session at 14:00 .  One way ticket costs 8.50 €. Once arrived at station “Fontainebleau Avon”,  take the bus ligne A or D at the outdoors. Do not go downstairs ,

Participant profile

  • Female 33 %
  • Average age : 29 years
  • Years of experience : 5,5

INSEAD has got 4 main admission criteria:

  • Academic (GMAT score, past year average GMAT score was 702)
  • Leadership potential (managed a team of people, sport captain, fast career track)
  • Contribute ( what you can bring on the table)
  • International motivation (languages spoken , have worked abroad, travelled, willingness to have an international career … )

One key element is about languages , before you enter you must speak at least 2 languages. ( fluent English and practical another language). By practical I mean you can conduct a business meeting in the language. In order to graduate , you need a basic knowledge of a 3rd language.
That’s a great constraint for the typical North American who can only speak English as one’s native language.

Take a closer look at http://mba.insead.edu/admissions/languages.cfm

About the business school

There is 2 campus : one in Fontainebleau near Paris and the 2nd in Singapore. Possible to switch during the year depending the 5 periods (each period last 2 months) and do an exchange at Whaton or Kellog for a period. The MBA program lasts only 10 months.

If your intake is January instead of September, you can do an internship during July-August. It may be easier for a career switch.

Faculty members are rock stars

I first heard about “Blue Ocean Strategy” written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne at INSEAD. In short ,a quote from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Ocean_Strategy

The metaphor of red and blue oceans describes the market universe.

Red Oceans are all the industries in existence today—the known market space. In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of product or service demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products become commodities or niche, and cutthroat competition turns the ocean bloody. Hence, the term red oceans.[2]

Blue oceans, in contrast, denote all the industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set. Blue ocean is an analogy to describe the wider, deeper potential of market space that is not yet explored. [2]

I’m seeing that the building of mobile software is a Blue Ocean where most developers haven’t figured out how to monetize .  There is no defined rules now. Some say the market is saturated with joke apps, other say fart apps sell well. After reading this article


My view

From my perspective INSEAD seems to be the best European MBA. Less French than HEC and IMD . On campus, I don’t feel to be in France. Out of the 8 visitors today, I was the only French person. Two couples (an American & a Chinese ) were in honeymoon in Europe, one Korean on business trip, one Spaniard on holiday, one Dutch working in Paris.

The campus is around the forest and a castle.

Tuition / Funds

If you’re admitted , you may wonder how about the fees.

INSEAD admission

One year costs 52 000 € ( accommodation and books not included ). 2,2 millions € are offered in scholarship funds . Here are some statistics  about the 994 participants in 2010:
– 19 % INSEAD scholarship
– 17 % company sponsored
– 64 % other ( self support)

The earlier  you apply , the better for the funds.  If you apply at round 1, there is still some scholarship left. By round 2, some lucky ones already got their scholarship. By round 3, you may have no scholarship left at all.

On the way to the school, I talked to one current student. She made a loan to support her education. What she was making in Africa was enough to cover the expense of one year living.


For those who can’t visit France and the campus in Fontainebleau, here are some photos I’d like to share with you.

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