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I Applied To INSEAD… And Got Accepted! Here’s How

June 17, 2020 :: Admissionado Team

INSEAD MBA | Admissionado

See this? This was us when we got the news from our pal Jim that he had gotten into INSEAD.

It’s not that we were surprised. Homeboy worked HARD on his apps and he had some KILLER essays. But when it comes to the very unscientific process of B-School admissions, you just never know what’s going to happen…

In this case, though, it was very, very, VERY good.

Check out some freshly minted advice from this freshly admitted B-school application rock-star. Find out how he got into INSEAD (with a lower-than-average GMAT score), and take away a few gems of wisdom to apply to your upcoming app.

Oh and before we forget to mention Jim’s stats, he was 29 years old with a 3.14 GPA and a 610 GMAT when he starting applying to business school.

Fun fact: He’s a product of the community college system. He transferred to University of California at Irvine midway through his college career.

1) So Jim, why do you think YOU got into INSEAD?

I felt it was my essays and how well organized and structured my story was. Without the help of AJ and the Admissionado team, I would not have been able to tell my story the way I wanted to. I have the experience, but I did not know how to tell my story.

2) What was the most challenging part of the INSEAD app for you? And how did you overcome that challenge?

As you can tell my GMAT is low. In fact, in the range of scores for INSEAD, I am at the absolute bottom of the pile with a 610!! This was by far the most challenging part of the application and it was all on me. A word of advice to all future applicants, give yourself PLENTY of time to study for the GMAT and try not to do what I did, which was to start studying, do the apps, and take the test right before the deadline! This put a lot of pressure on me, and the team working behind me too. As easy as it may sound to compartmentalize and try to separate the two, 100% focus must go into the test as well as your essays and application.

3) Tell us about your INSEAD interviews. What do you think you did right?

Leading up to the interview I was nervous. So I prepared like crazy. Mock interviews with anyone and everyone I could ask. Researching on what questions it could be and it could not be. In hindsight, the amount of preparation I did was overkill, but it served me well.

The first interviewer was really chill and we got along great. It was mostly a personality test to see if I am somebody he and other alumni from the school could study with and hang out with. The second interviewer was a little tougher; I couldn’t get a good read on him. I thought I did well until I asked for his advice… and he was very candid with me: to listen more and stop interrupting as much! I had assumed it was like the first interview, which was a free flowing conversation, and was apparently overly excited about asking questions about the school, his background, and experiences in international business. But, I guess it wasn’t that bad since I got in!

My advice? As cliche as it might sound, go in over prepared so that you don’t get blind-sided. While you will get questions that will make you think on your toes, be professional, insightful, enthusiastic, energetic and be yourself.

4) What advice do you have for future INSEAD applicants, or MBA applicants in general?

Never give up, never! Dream big and follow your dreams! After finishing my GMAT a few days before applications were due, seeing the score of 610 devastated me. I was upset, distraught and even questioned whether I should turn in the app for INSEAD. But I did. And my low score is evidence that the GMAT is only one component of an overall application. The essays are super important to show who you are as a person, to highlight your strengths and highlight your weaknesses, which may even be hidden strengths. I believe this pushed my application over the barrier of the reject pile and into the acceptance pile. To future applicants: do not ever give up on yourself and your goals. Ever!

Learn more about INSEAD’s MBA class of 2017 in this post by Poets & Quants.

[photo credit]