INSEAD MBA Interview Questions 2023-24
If you’ve made it through to INSEAD’s interview stage, congratulations! You’ve navigated the lengthy INSEAD application essay set and the video interview, and are halfway towards being admitted into the school’s MBA cohort.
In Round 1 of 2023-24, we worked with 5 clients on INSEAD applications. And all 5 of them received interview offers!
But there’s still work to be done.
Most MBA programs have one interview. INSEAD is unusual in that you will do TWO interviews. These will both be with alumni who have been carefully selected by INSEAD admissions officers based on your location, experience, and goals.
In this INSEAD MBA interview guide, we’ll run you through the different aspects of the INSEAD MBA interview process, including questions previous applicants were asked and our top tips to help you nail the MBA interview.
The INSEAD MBA Interview Process
INSEAD interviews are as diverse and varied as it gets. After you pass the video interview stage, you will be invited to interview with 2 alumni from the INSEAD community. There are no Ad-Com interviews, so the interview style, format, and length are not standardized.
Typically, one of your interviewers will be matched with you based on your professional goals. They may have extensive experience in your target industry, or have pivoted into your target industry after their MBA. The other interviewer could be from the same industry or an entirely different one. This typically increases the variety of experience, exposure, and perspective in the interview and is a reflection of how INSEAD values diversity in their cohort.
Your interview will not follow any standardized process:
The interview could range anywhere from 30 - 60 minutes or more, depending upon the quality of the conversation and how engaged your interviewer is. Last year, one client reported a 2-hour interview! (They were admitted).
The interviewer may take notes during the conversation. Or not.
Depending on the interviewer’s age, experience, and preferred style, your interview may be more formal than other MBA interviews.
You will meet your interviewer virtually, at a coffee shop, or in their office, but never on the school campus.
The interview will be largely focused on your passions, ambitions, goals, and your plan to achieve them. So, prepare an impactful pitch and get ready to answer a lot of follow-up questions.
What INSEAD is Looking For
INSEAD is looking for a diverse cohort that comes from different industries, business functions, nationalities, genders, and ages. But the common attributes they look for in all applicants are leadership, international experience, and how they can collaborate and work in a diverse environment like INSEAD.
Leadership: First, expect questions regarding your leadership experience - be it at work or in your extracurriculars. There will be situational or behavioral questions thrown at you during the interview.
International experience: You have already discussed your international experiences in your written application. In your interview, focus on what you learned through this global exposure and how your perspective evolved through that experience.
Diverse environment: You will also need to demonstrate your school fit and how you will use the INSEAD MBA experience to achieve your goals. The interviewer will assess how thoroughly you’ve researched the school’s culture, classes, electives, professors, clubs and other on-campus opportunities. So, as you enter the interview, it goes without saying that you need to be well-researched about the school and how you will add value to the INSEAD class.
Once you’re selected to interview, you will be notified by the INSEAD MBA admissions team. You will then be matched with interviewers in the following week to mutually decide upon an interview date and time.
Here are the interview decision dates for INSEAD 2023 - 24:
Interview Decision Notification
13 October 2023
08 December 2023
16 February 2024
05 April 2024
INSEAD MBA Interview Questions 2023 - 2024
After their interviews, we ask clients to report back with the questions they were asked in their interview. We’ve gathered these reports from the last few years into a master list of INSEAD interview questions.
As you’ll see, many of the questions explore the same topic, but are asked in wildly different ways. That’s why we advise applicants to prepare to explain their key stories (such as career goals) in many different formats.
Walk me through your resume.
Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about your short-term and long-term goals.
Tell me your reasons behind every professional move.
What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
Tell me about how you work in a diverse team.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What is your dream company, and why?
How do you plan to achieve your goals?
What is your alternative plan if you don’t get into business school?
What is your plan B if you fail to secure a job in your desired industry/function?
If you fail to secure a job in your Plan A or Plan B role, what will be your next step?
Tell me about some challenges and obstacles you foresee in the time you pursue your MBA.
Tell me about your leadership style.
Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership in your work or extracurriculars.
What did you learn from your international experiences?
About the School
Why the INSEAD MBA now?
Why INSEAD MBA at this specific campus?
How will being on the specific campus help you achieve your goals?
Why ‘X’ club at INSEAD?
How will you add value to the ‘X’ club at INSEAD?
Are there any classes or professors that you find particularly interesting?
How do you think you’ll contribute to the student culture at INSEAD?
How will you make a positive impact on INSEAD’s campus?
How will an INSEAD MBA help you launch your own entrepreneurial venture?
How will you use the INSEAD MBA to make a career transition from ‘X’ to ‘Y’?
How will you use your previous professional experience in the INSEAD classroom?
How do you incorporate diversity and diverse perspectives into a team setting?
Tell me about a time when you received critical feedback.
Tell me about a time when you used a data-driven approach to help you on a project.
Tell me about the top leadership qualities you value or strive to emulate.
How do you approach diversity as a leader?
Tell me what you would do in the last week at work before you retire.
Tell me about a time when you managed a team conflict.
Tell me about a time when you had to convince your team to do something.
A Chance to Bring Something Up
Is there anything important about your profile that we didn't mention?
Is there anything else not on your resume or application that you want the AdCom to know?
Tips to Ace the INSEAD MBA Interview
Based on our experience with hundreds of clients before you, here are our top tips to nail the INSEAD interview:
Research the interviewer: Find your interviewer on LinkedIn, their website, or other professional forums. Read up on their professional journey and prepare some talking points. It’ll also help you understand what to expect from the interview, and you might be surprised to find that you share some common interests with the interviewer.
Refresh industry knowledge: If the interviewer comes from your industry, there's a good chance that they’ll want to discuss industry-specific affairs. So, as you prepare for your interview, remember to stay abreast of hot topics/disruptors in your industry.
Practice with SCAR: You will be preparing for 2 interviews, so expect to answer a range of situational or behavioral interview questions. Practice your team building, collaboration, conflict resolution and other situational stories using the SCAR (Situation, Challenge, Action and Result) format. Don’t forget to mention your takeaways from these experiences!
Review your application: Motivational questions like why you need an MBA, how INSEAD will help you achieve your goal, and other predictable questions are relatively easier to prepare. Make sure you are clear on your core talking points by reviewing your application essays.
Ask them questions: Remember to prepare a few interesting questions for your interviewers. As alumni, they’ve been in your shoes, both as an applicant and an INSEAD student. So ask them specific questions about their experience, interests, and how they engaged with the INSEAD community. Struggling to think of good questions to ask? Check out our blog on 28 Questions to Ask your Interviewer.
For more interview advice and to practice with mock interviews, check out the Interview Guide course on MBAConsultant.com.
Thinking of applying to the INSEAD MBA? Book a free chat today.