INSEAD - A Suggested Workflow

When it comes to the essays, INSEAD has many moving parts so it is not an ideal MBA application to start with. It can be tricky even if you’ve already completed applications for several schools. With that in mind, I suggest the following workflow, which has helped my clients enjoy an unusually high acceptance rate at INSEAD.

  1. Start with the Job Description essays. When taken as a whole they equate to a fairly typical MBA Goals essay. It doesn’t matter whether you start with the “Full Description of Your Career” or your “Current Job” first. I do suggest going beyond mere description to include key professional accomplishments, especially ones relating to your goals and possibly one that you will expand on in the Achievement essay (see below under Motivation Essays) to create a link between the essays that will contribute to a more robust profile. Do not waste words on Why INSEAD.
  2. Skip “Candid Description” for now.
  3. Achievement and Failure essays. As mentioned above, I suggest an Achievement that demonstrates your potential to reach your future career goals. See here for suggestions on choosing a “good” Failure.
  4. Cultural Diversity and Extra-Professional Activities.
  5. Once you’ve finished all of these essays, Candid Description should be easier. Among everything you’ve written so far for INSEAD, you should hopefully be able to identify core strengths that have helped you succeed in the different facets of your life. Use the Candid Description essay to illustrate the origins of those traits with a focus on your personal life, not professional.
  6. And once that’s finished, you can use the “Anything Else” essay to fill in gaps or otherwise add important information that didn’t fit elsewhere, essentially an Optional Essay.

By following this workflow, you should be able to develop an essay set that is both integrated and comprehensive, and therefore has a better chance of standing out.