INSEAD’s Application Process: Weightage and Application Essays

Embarking on the journey towards an INSEAD application opens doors to unparalleled opportunities and global impact. However, this journey isn’t for the faint of heart. The INSEAD application process is a gatekeeper that carefully selects those prepared to navigate its intricacies. In this blog, we’ll unravel the unique elements that make the INSEAD application process both challenging and rewarding. Our seasoned consultants, who have walked this path, will highlight what it takes to crack the code and secure your spot during INSEAD admissions.

Meet our Session Speakers:

1.Kaustubh Kulkarni – An INSEAD MBA graduate and consultant at MBA and Beyond, Kaustubh brings valuable experience as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon. His journey spans across INSEAD’s dual campuses in Singapore and France. With a global e-commerce background, Kaustubh embodies INSEAD’s cross-cultural essence.

2.Vidit Aneja – A consultant at MBA and Beyond, Vidit’s journey exemplifies a remarkable transformation. Shifting from Canadian government policy and infrastructure sustainability to a private equity internship in Africa during his INSEAD MBA, he embodies the profound versatility that INSEAD fosters.

Let’s journey to demystify the nuances of INSEAD’s application process. This expedition shapes aspirants into global leaders.


When discussing the significance of INSEAD’s application, it goes beyond a mere paperwork submission. The INSEAD application process is a transformative journey, demanding profound introspection unique in the business school realm. The weight of INSEAD’s application lies in its depth and comprehensive approach. It’s not merely about responding to questions; it’s about embarking on a reflective journey to unveil your identity and the reasons behind your chosen path.

The INSEAD application process immerses candidates in a journey of introspection and self-discovery. Vidit emphasizes its unique nature, emphasizing that it’s more than a checklist of questions. Instead, it comprises a series of inquiries crafted to reveal diverse facets of your life and choices.

“It asks many questions about different perspectives, not just about who you are as a person, but also why you have made certain choices in life over the past few years.”

The goal is to thoroughly explore and validate every aspect, motivating candidates to delve deeply into their experiences.

“Each question consistently delves deeper, aiming to confirm and validate the information from various perspectives.”


The depth of this expedition lies in the profound self-discovery it requires, scrutinizing not only your achievements but the core of your identity. INSEAD’s application demands a coherent and consistent narrative that spans various phases of your life. A notable feature of INSEAD’s application is its emphasis on deep introspection.

“In this process, you find yourself continuously rethinking your answers, striving for alignment across the entire application,” Vidit reflects.

“Additionally, reflecting on distinct phases of your journey, spanning up to eight years in my case, proves advantageous. INSEAD’s approach stands out significantly. In contrast to other business schools with just one or two questions, INSEAD delves comprehensively into various aspects. Its profound inquiry prompts exploration of experiences and motivations from different perspectives, culminating in a truly holistic self-presentation.”

The intensity originates from the level of introspection it demands. It goes beyond listing goals, strengths, achievements, and weaknesses. The focus is on delving deep into your journey, encompassing failures, international exposure, extracurriculars, and even why you seek an MBA. The aim is to unveil layers beyond your resume, showcasing your evolution as a global business leader.

“The questions revolve around real-world challenges and the impact you’ve made,” explains Paridhi, co-founder at MBA and Beyond. “You must showcase your personality and how it aligns with the school’s values.”


The depth of introspection distinguishes INSEAD’s application, requiring weeks of reflective contemplation. While some business schools might have a handful of questions, typically ranging from 2 to 3, INSEAD’s application stands out for its multifaceted approach.

“Just for those reasons alone, I think it’s very comprehensive as opposed to any of the business schools where there’s just one question or two.”

The diverse and all-encompassing nature of INSEAD’s application questions requires candidates to navigate a multidimensional journey that explores various dimensions of their personality, choices, and motivations.

“What sets INSEAD’s application apart is how these questions are framed. It’s not just about providing answers; it’s about the introspection these questions demand.”

The depth of thought these questions demand is a hallmark of INSEAD’s application process.

“These questions,” Vidit emphasizes, “revolve around motivations, compelling applicants to dedicate significant time to introspection. It’s a process that spans several weeks as you delve deep into your life experiences and intricacies. So, it’s not a task you can sit down and accomplish quickly.”

MBA and Beyond provides a holistic approach to supporting MBA applicants in gaining admission to their desired schools. The process begins with an evaluation of your profile, considering academic achievements, work experience, extracurricular activities, and goals. Tailoring a personalized strategy, the service covers brainstorming essay topics, offering feedback on drafts, and aiding in interview preparation. Additionally, they extend support for GMAT/GRE preparation, assist with networking, and provide career counseling to help you realize your post-MBA goals.

To learn more about how MBA and Beyond can help you get into your dream MBA program, visit their website or schedule a free consultation.


“The question regarding one’s identity is remarkably broad. You have the freedom to craft your response, paradoxically heightening the challenge. In contrast, certain questions posed by other institutions are more straightforward. For instance, they might ask, ‘Why pursue an MBA?’ Answering that, stating your intentions to enter a specific industry through the MBA route, is relatively simpler.” ~ Vidit


“It goes beyond mere checklists or resume points. INSEAD wants to know who you are and whether you resonate with the school’s vibe. They look beyond and don’t just go by scores.” ~ Paridhi

INSEAD doesn’t rely solely on GMAT scores. The application process at INSEAD underscores adaptability and a global mindset. They aim to grasp your framework, mindset, and your background.


INSEAD places significant importance on cultivating a diverse cohort, comprising individuals from a range of countries such as India, China, and Pakistan, which plays a pivotal role in influencing its application process.

“They want you to be adaptable to all cultures across the globe,” The INSEAD application essays play a pivotal role in assessing this adaptability. “You need to position yourself in light of what INSEAD seeks. It’s about showcasing your adaptability, mindset, and construct.”

Delving into the intricacies of INSEAD’s application process reveals that it goes beyond mere question-and-answer sessions. Instead, it centers on introspection, gaining insight, and showcasing a multifaceted perspective of oneself. The significance of INSEAD’s application process lies in its ability to uncover the various facets of your journey, motivations, and aspirations. This transformative experience encourages a thorough exploration of your own narrative, setting the stage for the promising educational journey that an INSEAD education offers.


As we explore the nuanced terrain of INSEAD’s application process, a specific essay question stands out as a formidable challenge for numerous applicants. This particular inquiry requires more than mere words; it calls for profound self-reflection and a comprehensive understanding of one’s personal journey.

Kaustubh highlights the INSEAD essay that often leaves candidates perplexed—the “give a candid description of yourselves of who you are as a person” question.

The wording might seem simple, but the expansive nature of the inquiry can overwhelm applicants.

As he articulates, tackling this particular INSEAD essay involves emphasizing “personal characteristics, highlighting both strengths and weaknesses, supported by relevant examples.” It presents a broad and multidimensional challenge, requiring introspection that goes beyond surface-level considerations. Numerous candidates find themselves wrestling with this question, attempting to navigate its open-ended terrain. Vidit notes that even with guidance, crafting a flawless response remains a formidable task.

He notes, “Even after a couple of professors, it’s hard to reach a stage where you are like, okay, this is the perfect answer to this question.” The question’s depth necessitates a thorough introspection process.

So, how can applicants effectively address this challenging INSEAD essay? Kaustubh advocates for a successful approach, outlining a comprehensive process that encourages introspection regarding strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and more. “It’s a questionnaire that prompts introspection,” Kaustubh emphasizes. “To approach this effectively, it’s crucial to engage in introspection before commencing the writing of this INSEAD essay. Spending time understanding your life journey, strengths, and weaknesses lays the foundation for a more authentic and thorough response.

The importance of this INSEAD essay extends beyond its difficulty; it lies in the transformative journey it prompts candidates to embark upon. While confronting this formidable INSEAD essay, keep in mind that it goes beyond crafting responses—it involves undertaking a journey of self-discovery and introspection. This process establishes the groundwork for a genuinely insightful response that encapsulates your distinctive identity.


Kaustubh: “Just write all your strengths, weaknesses, whatever comes to your mind, from the beginning, from high school to where you are right now. How did you make that journey? Just complete that paragraph, complete the page, and then sit down and trim down. What’s most relevant? Where have you added more diversion in your career, professionally or personally? Then focus specifically on those key points and strengths and weaknesses.”


Kaustubh chimes into a glimpse of INSEAD essays.

“INSEAD’s application provides optional essays as well, allowing applicants to expand on various aspects,” he points out. “This added dimension contributes to the richness of the application process. We’ll certainly delve into these optional INSEAD essays in due course.”


In conclusion, embarking on the journey of an INSEAD application isn’t a mere task; it’s a transformative exploration of self. From profound introspection to content gathering, self-reflection, and writing all that story to craft compelling INSEAD essays to unveil motivations and personal evolution,  INSEAD’s application process isn’t just about applying; it’s about becoming. Through comprehensive essays, applicants are challenged to explore their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses, ultimately crafting a multidimensional representation of themselves. The pinnacle of this challenge lies in the essay that candidly describes one’s identity, requiring not only words but a profound journey of self-reflection. This transformative process goes beyond a mere application; it shapes aspirants into global leaders prepared to thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape, making the INSEAD experience an embodiment of growth, introspection, and readiness for success.

Are you ready to embark on this transformative path to global business education? Start your journey today with our expert consultants at MBA and Beyond, and seize the opportunity to become an INSEAD graduate—a testament to your resilience, introspection, and readiness to thrive in the business world.

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