Why I am going for an INSEAD MBA?

Next January (2017), I will be heading to Fontainebleau to join one of the most prestigious business schools in the World – INSEAD. As I have other admits from top schools, people are asking me why I have decided to go to there? Pretty straightforward actually. Here are my top 7 reasons for choosing the INSEAD MBA.

My fit with INSEAD

Well, this should be at the top of everyone’s list. Every school has its unique culture that shapes the lives of the people who pass through its hallowed gates and which in turn, gets shaped by them. My interactions with INSEAD – its campus, its diverse student body, its global alumni, the admission representatives – won me over right from the word go. I felt a sense of belonging to this unique programme. No other school had evoked that same sense of association and I knew right then that if I get in, this will be where I will go.

Quality of the programme

Though the INSEAD MBA is a general management programme, the curricula offer enough flexibility to make sure students can tailor the MBA according to what they want. In addition to the 14 core courses that students take over P1 and P2, there are more than 70+ electives that they can use to specialise in a certain domain. This opportunity will not only enrich my overall experience but will also give me incredible flexibility and control over my year there.

Moreover, with excellent faculty and a solid research programme, multiple modes of teaching – simulations, case studies, classroom teaching, etc. – and an incredible cohort, experiential learning will take a different dimension at INSEAD

Reputation and ranking

Of course, this is superficial and it shouldn’t be a major criteria. However, INSEAD’s recent showing in the Financial Times MBA 2016 and 2017 rankings (#1 globally) no doubt gives us the bragging right, albeit maybe for just a year. But with the programme ranked in top 5 globally in almost all international MBA rankings, one thing is for certain – it is definitely a very prestigious and elite programme and unless I somehow screw my life royally, the implications of this has to be positive for my future.

Return on Investment

One of the top-selling points for INSEAD MBA is definitely its 10 months duration (12 for the December intake). With an average programme cost of around $150k, MBAs don’t come cheap. With the shorter INSEAD programme, the overall cost of the MBA is lower at around €90k. Moreover, it is better for my career if I am out of work for just a year instead of two. First the opportunity cost is lower as I will be working till the start of the programme and secondly, the disruption in my career trajectory would be minimal.

Networks and Alumni base

INSEAD’s brochure would tell you how they have more than 50,000+ alumni across 170+ countries. It will tell you how they have the 2nd highest number of CEOs of FTSE 500 companies (2016), how INSEAD MBA alumni have raised the most capital and created the most number of unicorns in Europe. You might discount all these claims by labelling them as marketing propaganda, however, after meeting a few of the school’s alumni – one founder who has revolutionised the way we transfer money, one CEO of a global investment bank, two VCs working in London’s Silicon Roundabout with companies from emerging African economies, one oil tycoon and two social entrepreneurs – I am convinced that the brochure’s hyperbole has some substance after all. With such a broad alumni base, the network effect is incredibly strong and I am sure it will prove to be an amazing blessing for me.

International outlook and diversity

INSEAD is a truly international school. With more than 95% of the MBA class and 93% of the faculty coming from outside France, the school has a reputation of sorts for being a leader in diversity and international outlook. Add to that, the three campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi and you have the rightful owner to the title of the “Business School of the World”.

Furthermore, with alumni working in 170+ countries, the school’s reach is of epic proportions. Tomorrow, if I want to uproot everything and move to let’s say, Iceland or Sri Lanka, I am sure I will be able to count on INSEAD’s (or for that matter LSE’s) alumni to sort me out. That is some “dynamite” power there.

Europe and proximity to London

Ideally after my MBA, I would like to start my jet-setting life with my wife, plane hopping from one continent to the other, without any worries or any roots to tie me down. However, reality is in stark contrast to my dreams. I will be coming back to London, hoping to find a decent job that would let me pay my student loan back without having to live on the streets.

Due to this (and due to the fact that my wife can’t move abroad), I wanted to attend a programme that can give me an international outlook without taking me too far away from home. INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus is perfectly placed as it is just an Eurostar away from London. Here, I will hopefully get the best of both the European way of life and the international jet-setter’s life, without being too far away from my family.

I will close this post with these 7 reasons why I am off to INSEAD next year. Perhaps, once there, I will find even more reasons to celebrate. Perhaps, it will not be so great. Only time will tell. Here’s hoping for a great year ahead. To INSEAD!!!

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