INSEAD Campuses: Fontainebleau vs. Singapore Campus

Embarking on a journey through INSEAD campuses presents a fascinating dichotomy, encapsulating a distinct INSEAD campus experience. This blog delves into the INSEAD campus comparison ” INSEAD’s Fontainebleau vs. Singapore Campuses.” 

Meet Our Session Speakers:

Kaustubh Kulkarni: An INSEAD MBA graduate and consultant at MBA and Beyond, Kaustubh brings a wealth of experience as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon. His journey spans INSEAD’s dual campuses in Singapore and France, making him well-versed in their unique dynamics. With a background in global e-commerce, Kaustubh embodies INSEAD’s cross-cultural essence.

Vidit Aneja: A consultant at MBA and Beyond, Vidit’s INSEAD journey is a testament to the transformative power of the institution. His transition from a background in Canadian government policy and infrastructure sustainability to pursuing a private equity internship in Africa during his INSEAD MBA showcases the profound versatility that INSEAD fosters.

INSEAD’S FONTAINEBLEAU VS. SINGAPORE CAMPUS

INSEAD’s dual-campus system uniquely juxtaposes two very different settings—the historic Fontainebleau campus in France and the bustling Singapore campus. While both INSEAD campuses offer the esteemed INSEAD campus experience, they each possess distinct characteristics that cater to diverse preferences and goals. 

The question that often arises for prospective INSEAD students is: What are the differences between INSEAD’s Fontainebleau vs. Singapore campus, and do we have a say in which one we attend? 

As we dive into this crucial decision-making process, let’s demystify the factors that set these INSEAD campuses apart and shed light on whether candidates get to choose or if the school assigns them.

Highlights of  INSEAD’s Fontainebleau vs. Singapore campuses are:

Location: The Fontainebleau INSEAD campus is in a small town near Paris, France, while the SingaporeINSEAD campus is in the city-state of Singapore.

Culture: The Fontainebleau campus has a more European feel, while the Singapore campus has a more Asian feel.

Curriculum: The two INSEAD campuses offer the same MBA curriculum, but some electives and concentrations may differ.

Network: The Fontainebleau campus has a strong network in Europe, while the Singapore campus has a strong network in Asia.

Yes, you do have a say in which INSEAD campus you attend. When you apply to INSEAD, you will indicate your preference for the INSEAD campuses. However, INSEAD reserves the right to place you on the campus that is best suited for you. As Kaustubh Kulkarni says, “Selecting your starting INSEAD campus is a pivotal choice. INSEAD’s journey began in 1969, and this history is reflected in its dual-campus system, providing an exceptional global experience. You’ll start at one of the INSEAD campuses and have the flexibility to explore the other during your program.

It’s a dynamic system with five periods spanning two months each. You typically spend the first four months at your initial INSEAD campus and then can move to the other one for the remaining periods. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience both settings.” 

Ultimately, the decision of which INSEAD campus to attend is personal. No right or wrong answer exists, and your best campus will depend on your circumstances.

THE INSEAD CAMPUS EXPERIENCE

Kaustubh Kulkarni: “The campus movement is managed through building points—a unique system. These points can be utilized for various purposes, including switching between campuses, participating in exchanges, study trips, and electives. This flexibility lets you tailor your experience to align with your priorities.

Many students take advantage of the chance to study on both campuses. It’s a great way to explore different parts of the world and gain diverse exposure. Whether you’re drawn to Europe’s rich history in Fontainebleau or Singapore’s bustling Asian hub, the choice is yours.”

FACTORS INFLUENCING YOUR DECISION

Kaustubh Kulkarni: “When making this decision, aligning with your career goals and the region you want to explore is crucial. Do you seek exposure to European or Asian markets? Do you want to travel and expand your horizons? These factors play a significant role in guiding your choice.

The campus you start at sets the tone for your INSEAD journey, but it’s important to remember that you’re not limited to just one campus. The inter-campus movement adds a unique dimension to your experience and allows you to make the most of both worlds.”

Here are some factors that INSEAD may consider when deciding:

Your nationality: INSEAD may try to balance the nationalities of students on each INSEAD campus.

INSEAD Language Requirements: If you are not fluent in French, you may be more likely to be placed on the Singapore campus.

Your career goals: INSEAD may try to place you on the most relevant INSEAD campus to your career interests.

CHOOSING INSEAD CAMPUS

The decision between INSEAD’s Fontainebleau vs. Singapore campus isn’t just about choosing the INSEAD Campus—it’s about aligning your academic journey with your aspirations. While the initial INSEAD campus might set the stage, the flexibility to explore and move between INSEAD campuses ensures you can tailor your experience to match your goals. This choice embodies the essence of INSEAD’s global perspective and transformative education.

IS THERE A DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO WHICH INSEAD CAMPUS IS BETTER?

Kaustubh Kulkarni: “No, there isn’t a definitive answer. It truly depends on your preferences and career objectives. Each INSEAD campus offers unique advantages, and the decision should be driven by where you see yourself thriving and growing. It’s not about one campus being better than the other; it’s about which aligns better with your goals and resonates with your personality. INSEAD’s strength lies in its ability to offer a remarkable experience regardless of the campus you start at.”

Ready to embark on your INSEAD journey and make the most of its unique dual-campus experience? MBA and Beyond will guide you at every step- whether you’re seeking advice on campus selection, crafting compelling essays, or preparing for interviews. Let us be your partner in shaping a successful future. Reach out to us today and unlock your full potential with an MBA and Beyond!

INSEAD THIRD LANGUAGE: CANDIDATES WHO ALREADY KNOW A LANGUAGE VS. LEARNING ON CAMPUS 

There are no INSEAD third language plays a significant role in the INSEAD experience, raising questions about whether it’s more advantageous to possess INSEAD third language skills before joining the school or to embark on the journey of acquiring a new language while on the INSEAD campus. Our experts, Kaustubh and Vidit, shed light on this aspect of the INSEAD journey.

THE SCHOOL’S APPROACH

Kaustubh Kulkarni weighs in on the school’s stance, stating, “From my perspective, you know, the school doesn’t care if you don’t know the INSEAD third language.”

This straightforward perspective emphasizes that INSEAD welcomes students regardless of their prior language skills. The focus is on the overall experience and growth rather than just INSEAD third language proficiency.

However, learning the INSEAD third language beforehand can be advantageous, allowing students to navigate academic challenges easily. Vidit shares insights into students who opt to fulfill INSEAD third Language Requirements before joining the INSEAD campus, stating,

“A lot of people do that. Many of my friends chose to meet those INSEAD language requirements before going on campus because many alumni told me to get it out of the way. Otherwise, it’s going to be very intense.” 

Such biases that, hey, you want to complete requirements before going on campus. There are no biases. You know, it’s up to the students to pick.” INSEAD values individual preferences, empowering students to make a choice that aligns with their learning style and aspirations.

Kaustubh Kulkarni emphasizes the benefits of learning a new INSEAD third language on the INSEAD campus, stating,

“I think when you are actually on campus, you enjoy a lot more learning a new language because you make a lot more friends.”

The immersive environment allows one to connect with peers, develop relationships, and integrate into the INSEAD community while mastering a new INSEAD third language.

Ultimately, whether you enter INSEAD with third language skills or embark on a linguistic journey while on the INSEAD campus, the school places significance on growth, transformation, and global exposure.

Kaustubh Kulkarni aptly says, “It’s not about one campus being better than the other; it’s about which one aligns better with your goals and resonates with your personality.” The focus is on the holistic experience of becoming a well-rounded global business leader.

INSEAD LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: A MINOR ADVANTAGE

Vidit Aneja shares his perspective, explaining, “I did not have to learn the new. But then I realized picking up a new language might be a good idea because it stays, and you can use it in the future.”

While he didn’t pursue learning a new INSEAD third language, he recognizes the value in doing so, especially for languages that have practical applications beyond the INSEAD experience.

He also offers insights into the options for learning INSEAD third language during your INSEAD journey, stating, “There is also another option of learning the INSEAD third language. But that is something that I would not recommend because it’s super intense,” highlighting the intensive nature of the program and the potential challenges of balancing language learning with other academic, networking, and recruitment commitments, he advises, “From that perspective, I would say it’s better to get it done before INSEAD and better before, and that it would either mean doing it with the college, not as the intensive course, or you can make learn it yourself and get a certificate.” 

THE “STUDY, SLEEP, OR SOCIALIZE” DILEMMA

Kaustubh Kulkarni observes, “And in such an intense, you know, like a journey that you’re taking, which is so fast-paced, accommodating a language class becomes too much to ask for, and you must compromise. A lot of other bits for that.” The high-paced nature of the INSEAD experience requires strategic prioritization.

“So I remember my co-founder Shantanu when he went to INSEAD. He had not learned his third language before, and he had to study Spanish, and there were times when he had to choose to study for that exam over going out drinking with friends.” This decision showcases therealities of navigating academics and social life while attempting to master a new language.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

As you contemplate the prospect of learning the INSEAD third language amidst your INSEAD journey, it’s essential to consider the practicalities. Balancing studies, social interactions, and language classes requires careful planning. Understanding your priorities, strengths, and limitations will guide your approach. While accommodating a new language might pose challenges, weighing the potential benefits against the demands of your academic and personal commitments is important.

While the decision depends on individual circumstances and career aspirations, planning and aligning language proficiency with your goals is key. Whether you enter INSEAD with language skills in hand or opt to immerse yourself in a new language during your time on the INSEAD campus, your journey will be enriched by the diverse linguistic landscape of the school. Language proficiency enhances your academic experience and contributes to your ability to connect with peers worldwide.

Conclusion

The rigorous introspection demanded by INSEAD during the application process serves to ensure a profound understanding of one’s goals. This preparation is essential for the fast-paced ten-month program, enabling students to identify opportunities and strategically network. Given the intensive nature of the course, planning is crucial as once it commences, dedicating headspace to such considerations becomes challenging.

As you ponder this significant decision, remember that both the INSEAD campuses hold immense potential for growth and transformation. Your journey at INSEAD will be shaped by your choice, but rest assured, the experience you gain will be exceptional.

Book a free profile evaluation call with us at MBA and Beyond. Our experienced consultants will provide personalized insights and guidance to help you shape your path to success. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity – schedule your call today!

Frequently Asked Questions

01.

CAN STUDENTS BASED IN FONTAINEBLEAU EXPLORE EXCHANGES WITH SCHOOLS LIKE WHARTON DURING SPECIFIC PERIODS WHILE ALSO CONSIDERING A SWITCH TO THE SINGAPORE CAMPUS IN SUBSEQUENT PERIODS?

Kaustubh provides insights into this scenario, stating, “So theoretically speaking, you can go like two periods in Singapore, Fontainebleau, and then Wharton. But, getting a Wharton exchange is not easy, so if you are targeting there, you need a very high GPA and be prepared for other alternatives. But being a little bit realistic, the Wharton exchange needs a lot of building points. So you’re it’s highly likely that you will use up a significant chunk of your points for that. So, from that perspective, if you are targeting Wharton, you must be more flexible about other exchanges.”

02.

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING LECTURE OR CLASS UNIQUE TO INSEAD?

“One of the most intriguing courses I experienced at INSEAD was the ethics and business class, though the exact name eludes me. Another course that deserves special mention is the negotiations class, which is quite renowned within the INSEAD community. Coming from a background where negotiation skills weren’t central, the course on negotiations offered invaluable insights. It’s interesting how negotiating was often portrayed dramatically in movies, but this class provided a comprehensive understanding of the process in real-world scenarios. It equipped me with the skills to navigate negotiations effectively and prepared me for the challenges that arise in real-life scenarios. Looking back, the negotiations class truly stands out as one of the highlights of my time at INSEAD.”~ Kaustubh Vidit: “One particularly memorable elective was the Business Impact course, which focused on real-world application. Partnering with an NGO in northeast India that empowers economically disadvantaged women, the course combined basic education with vocational training to enhance their livelihoods. Weekly discussions with the women who had been part of the NGO for years provided insights into their transformation from being without income and education to becoming household breadwinners. Conducting interviews with women whose lives had significantly improved through the program underscored the course’s profound impact, highlighting the potential of business to drive positive social change.”

03.

ARE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES, FACILITIES, RESOURCES, ETC. SIMILAR AT BOTH INSEAD CAMPUSES?

Kaustubh: “Networking aspects vary based on the industry focus. The INSEAD campus location is less significant for industries like consulting, primarily recruiting via applications. However, for sectors such as private equity, where self-initiated networking matters, being situated in the right geography can offer an advantage. While virtual interactions are feasible, in-person meetings with alums can enhance connections. The INSEAD Campus choice may impact networking effectiveness, but this becomes more pertinent in the latter part of the program’s recruitment activities.”

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