INSEAD MBA Essays : Sample Essays & Writing Tips

If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering or already in the process of applying to INSEAD’s renowned MBA program. It’s no secret that the application essays play a pivotal role in your admission process. They are not just forms to be filled out but canvases for you to paint a vivid picture of who you are, your aspirations, and what you bring to the table.

INSEAD’s MBA program is known for its rigorous academic standards and diverse student body. Crafting essays that stand out is crucial, as they provide a unique opportunity for you to showcase your individuality, experiences, and perspective. Let’s dive into what it takes to write essays that resonate with the admissions committee and increase your chances of getting into one of the world’s top MBA programs.

INSEAD MBA Highlights :


Before you start typing away, it’s important to understand what INSEAD is looking for in its MBA essays. The application process for INSEADinvolves several essays, each serving a distinct purpose and requiring a thoughtful approach. Let’s break down these requirements:

  • Number of Essays: The INSEADMBA application includes seven mandatory essays, categorized into two types – career/job type essays and motivational essays
  • Essay Length and Depth: The essays vary in length but collectively constitute a substantial portion of your application. This allows you to provide in-depth insights into your professional experiences and personal motivations.


These essays focus on your professional background and aspirations. They are designed to gauge your career progression, professional achievements, and future goals. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Current Job Summary: Describe your current or most recent job, including major responsibilities and achievements (200 words max).
  2. Next Career Step: Discuss what your next position would be if you continued in your current company (200 words max).
  3. Career Path Description: Provide a detailed account of your career since university, emphasizing the rationale behind your choices (300 words max).
  4. Career Aspirations: Elaborate on your short and long-term career goals post-MBA from INSEAD(100 words max).

Each of these essays requires you to reflect on different aspects of your professional journey and articulate them succinctly. It’s not just about what you’ve done but also why you’ve done it and where you plan to go with an INSEADMBA in your toolkit.


The motivation essays at INSEADare your window to showcase who you are beyond your professional accomplishments. These essays delve into your personal characteristics, life experiences, and the factors that have shaped your journey so far. Let’s break them down:

  1. Self-Description: Give a candid description of yourself, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses, and the main factors influencing your personal development (500 words max).
  2. Proudest Achievement and Learning from Failure: Describe your most significant achievement and a situation where you failed. Reflect on how these experiences impacted your relationships and what you learned from them (400 words max).
  3. Extra-Professional Activities: Discuss your involvement in activities outside your professional life, such as clubs, sports, arts, and how they have enriched you (300 words max).

These essays are your chance to bring out your personality, values, and the unique attributes you will bring to the INSEAD community. They require introspection and honesty, and are an opportunity to reflect on your journey, your growth, and how your experiences have prepared you for the challenges of an MBA at INSEAD.


Writing compelling essays for INSEADis an art that combines honesty, clarity, and creativity. Here are some strategies to help you create essays that will capture the attention of the admissions committee:

Be Original: Avoid clichés and write in a way that truly reflects your unique experiences and perspectives. Think about what sets you apart from other applicants and how you can bring your individuality to the forefront in your essays

Attention to Language: The clarity of your writing, grammar, and sentence construction says a lot about you. It’s important to write in a way that’s understandable and relatable, avoiding technical jargon and acronyms that might confuse the reader

Detailed Work Experience: Be clear and specific when describing your professional responsibilities and experiences. If you have gaps in your employment, address them honestly rather than omitting them

Remember, your essays are not just answers to questions but stories about who you are. They should flow naturally, engage the reader, and provide a comprehensive picture of your background, aspirations, and personality.


Embarking on the INSEAD MBA essay writing journey can be daunting, but you’re not alone in this challenge. Here are some common hurdles applicants face and how to overcome them:

  1. Feeling Overwhelmed by the Essay Length: INSEAD’s essays, collectively reaching around 2,000 words, can seem intimidating. The key is to start early and break down the writing process into manageable parts. Focus on one essay at a time and give each the attention it deserves.
  2. Striking the Right Balance: It’s challenging to maintain a balance between professional and personal content. While your career achievements are important, INSEAD also values who you are outside of work. Ensure your essays reflect a well-rounded individual.
  3. Maintaining Originality: With so many applicants, standing out can be tough. Avoid writing what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Instead, be genuine and share your true self and unique experiences.
  4. Addressing Gaps or Weaknesses: If there are gaps in your employment or areas of weakness, address them head-on. Use these as opportunities to show your self-awareness and how you’ve grown or plan to grow from these experiences.

Remember, the goal is not just to complete the essays but to create a compelling narrative that provides a window into your life and aspirations.

Concluding Thoughts

As you wrap up your INSEAD MBA essays, remember that these are more than just application requirements; they are a platform for you to share your story, your aspirations, and your potential to contribute to the INSEAD community. Your essays should reflect the depth of your experiences, the clarity of your goals, and the uniqueness of your personality.

Your journey to securing a place in the INSEAD MBA program is a significant step towards your future. With dedication, introspection, and strategic planning, you can craft essays that not only meet the application requirements but also resonate with the admissions committee.

In conclusion, approach your INSEAD MBA essays with honesty, creativity, and self-reflection. This process is not just about getting into a program; it’s about understanding and presenting the best version of yourself. 

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