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How To Ace The INSEAD Interview

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Unlike in other B-schools, the interview at INSEAD, a vital component of the admission process, is not conducted by the admission committee but by the alumni and is more in the form of a conversation than a question-answer session.

However, this doesn’t mean that you could just breeze in and out of the interview. It is every bit as serious as a regular one with the interviewer trying to assess whether you are the right fit for the rigours of a one-year full-time MBA program. Your career goals, commitment, leadership qualities, teamwork abilities and willingness to work in an international multi-cultural atmosphere will be closely scrutinised.

The interview could also be split into two. You may be called to meet with alumni who have a similar work profile and interest similar to yours and in the second instance, with others far removed from your area of expertise. So the question is what to expect at these interviews and how to create a good impression to gain admission.

Among the tips recommended by admission experts, the first one is to prepare your MBA elevator pitch. The first few questions at the interview would be “Walk me through your resume,” or “Tell me about yourself.” You would get approximately a minute for a brief introduction about yourself, your goals, passions and the reason for pursuing an MBA.

It will be useful to make your points focused and persuasive. The interviewer may or may not be taking notes, so you should ensure that what you say is compelling enough for them to remember while drafting their report to the admissions team.

The interview may not have a specified format, time-frame or questions, given the wide range of alumni interviewers. Mostly conducted outside the campus, even in restaurants or offices, such interviews may stretch from half an hour to an hour or more.

Given such circumstances, it would be worthwhile to do a bit of research about your interviewers. At least do a Google search and have a look at their Linked in profiles to keep the conversation flowing. Do not shy away from asking questions.

Since one set of interviewers have already had an experience of the field you are aiming for, there is no harm in trying to gather detailed information about what to expect, the challenges and how to overcome them.

Another set of questions would be why you want to enrol for the MBA at INSEAD and what would you do if you do not get admission. Here, you may want to convey a thoughtful and sincere understanding of the School’s unique culture and values.

Regarding international experience, the interviewers will be assessing how much you have learnt from such exposure. They would be looking at whether you have gained interesting insights, cultural sensitivity and curiosity for cultures beyond your own. Even if you haven’t had the opportunity yet to work or study abroad for an extended period, you could talk about the experiences you have had working with international teams and about cross-cultural collaboration.

Also Read: Admission Open For 2-Year MBA Program at Jindal Global Business School

It will be useful to make your points focused and persuasive. The interviewer may or may not be taking notes, so you should ensure that what you say is compelling enough for them to remember while drafting their report to the admissions team.

You must also be prepared to answer any questions regarding negatives in your profile like low GMAT scores or gaps in academic achievements. Explain your failures and your learnings from such instances.

The attire should be fitting the occasion. It is better to be smart and formal rather than too casual. Be in a relaxed frame of mind and remember to smile and enjoy the experience.

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