The INSEAD Experience

What is the INSEAD Experience? What would still be the same if INSEAD isn't a business school (e.g. if INSEAD is a Public Policy school)? Over the last few weeks I got to meet students from other business schools and I realized how different the "INSEAD Experience" is. Here is my list on what creates the unique INSEAD experience:

1. Global
Truly global education. 2 full-scale campuses plus locations in other regions. If most big institutions are international these days shouldn't your school be too?
Broad international alumni base. Your network will automatically become much wider. Rather than duplicating your existing (and most likely concentrated) network, INSEAD naturally compliments it.
European and Asian perspectives. Europe has a bigger GDP than the US, and Asia is of course a very exciting region to be in. Having exposures to cases, visitors, and classmates from these regions will differentiate you.

2. Intense, One Year Program. People here are self-selected to work-hard play-harder. You know your future INSEAD colleagues have the ability to organize their lives and the physical endurance that you can count on at critical moments :-)

3. 3rd Language Requirement. Did you always wanted to learn French or Chinese? I have classmates who went from zero to be quite conversant in a year. You just have to be persistent (see #2).

4. Big and Intimate at the same time. Usually you either have to pick a bigger program or a smaller intimate one. INSEAD graduates the most MBAs each year among the top schools and certainly gives you space to network. At the same time, because of the dual-campus, dual-promotion system, you could also create an intimate program that is the smallest among the top schools. Depends how you structure it, INSEAD could be a school with 900+ students or 200. In fact, most people choose both. Why not enjoy a big chateau party one night and an intimate coffee chat the next?

5. Older Demographics. The average age is 29 means that your classmates are already bringing in certain amount of perspective and network.

6. Entrepreneurial and Independent. INSEAD stands alone as a private independent institution that isn't part of a bigger university system. This gives us certain flexibility to be innovative (e.g. dual campus system). We could move quicker and be more responsive to our "customers" because we manage our own finances and don't really have the luxury to be arrogant. The INSEAD idea itself was a startup and we don't just pay lip service to entrepreneurship.

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