Seven proven strategic approaches to ace your INSEAD MBA essays

When you take the bold step to commence an MBA course in the topmost institutions of the world, you are moving into a new realm of Business education. Enrolling in the world’s top MBA programs you to deliver academic work at a whole different level. The admission process involves giving interviews, profound research, and writing application letters/essays.

The INSEAD MBA essays are on a different level, and To ace the INSEAD MBA essays, you need a lot of practice, clarity, and creativity.

INSEAD is one of the most popular and top-notch business schools in the world. With campuses in Singapore, Spain, Abu Dhabi, France, and now in San Francisco, its program is among the best 1-year programs globally and often is regarded as “the business school for the world”. 

Apart from the general queue, INSEAD is among the few top B-schools globally with two intake seasons, the September intake and January intake. Therefore, it provides the aspiring Candidates with an opportunity to plan their application in a manner such that rather than applying late to one intake season, the candidates can apply early to the next intake. Moreover, the few months’ break allows the candidates to improve their applications, LORs, and essays. 

 INSEAD presents one of the most demanding MBA applications out there, with about seven INSEAD MBA essays required to be submitted by the applicants, which are further categorized into two sub-categories

  1. Career or Job type INSEAD MBA essays 
  2. Motivation INSEAD MBA essays   

In this article, we will dig deeper to understand and analyze the expectations of the admissions council. Moreover, we will illustrate the right approach for each of the seven INSEAD MBA essays that the application requires.

With more than seven INSEAD MBA essays and, that’s not including the two optional essays, the INSEAD MBA essays are among the most extended applications of any top-tier MBA application. 

Answering all the seven INSEAD MBA essay questions yourself can seem daunting when you start staring at a blank page. But with our expert guidance and working with over 100 applicants applying to a range of top-tier B-schools, our experience dictates that precisely because of its length, the INSEAD MBA essays allow you to tell your story a bit more than just about any other top-tier B-school application out there. 



Briefly summarize your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products, and results achieved. (200 words, max)

First of all, understand the nature of the question; this question is intended to give the council a snapshot of where you stand right now in your career. Don’t overthink and waste your words and time writing irrelevant things, as you will have ample space in later essays to write about details of your major accomplishments. If space allows, write about workspace accomplishments only.

Be sure to mention your title, organization, location, and major responsibilities held by you in this question. If relevant, also write about leadership and teamwork, any international projects, or any significant project. Quantify the details as much as possible throughout the question 


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What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (200 words max)

The question is designed in such a way to give the Council ‘a fuller’ understanding of where you sit in your organizational hierarchy and your current career trajectory.

Since Job titles can vary wildly from company to company, It’s best to be as straightforward with your answer as possible. 

Specific details about your next promotion or title and how the new title would list any new responsibilities can also be included concisely.


Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (300 words max)

Typically your CV describes the positions you’ve had in your career but, these INSEAD MBA essay questions allow you to dig deeper, giving insights into “why” you made those choices specifically.

This INSEAD MBA essay is one of the most critical parts of your overall narrative as an aspiring candidate, so be sure to give it the attention it deserves

The INSEAD MBA essay question stated above allows you to explain the value-add of your career choices that may not seem evident from looking at your CV. For example, how you took a cut in salary to gain critical in-market international experience or how you passed up a promotion, opting instead to strengthen other aspects of your business education.

A chronological approach is a must for this INSEAD MBA essay question, starting with your first role after university until now. Make sure to showcase your career progression and promotions at each organization by all means possible, and if you have enough room for a major accomplishment or two, you can add that, too. 

But, mainly focus on the main topic of the INSEAD MBA essay: the rationale behind your choices, which let you experience an extensive career.


Discuss your short and long-term career aspirations with an MBA from INSEAD. (100 words max)

In this fourth INSEAD MBA essay question, with only 100 words given to work with, you’ll need to be as specific and as straightforward as possible. 

What is your immediate goal post your MBA graduation, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years, and what is the route to be followed between the two?

Try to get as specific with sample company names and certain ideas about the jobs you seek. Moreover, try to include one or two sentences about your passion and why this job suits your career trajectory.



Give a candid description of yourself, stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary.

Through this INSEAD MBA essay question is the same as that of a strength-weakness essay asked my most schools, the committee is seeking to understand unique characteristics, motivations, and values and at the same time wants to know about the major life events and people who have helped shape your career and you as well into the person you are today. 

Answering such an INSEAD MBA essay question requires a great degree of self-awareness, consciousness, and some deep introspection. However, this is the chance to gain the upper hand and an enormous amount of value working with a personal coach at MBA and beyond. Our team of experts will help you create a unique and well-polished INSEAD MBA essay that extends well beyond business school applications.

For more information, you can check out our strengths and weaknesses essay.


Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. 

Be sure to use as many professional examples as possible in this INSEAD MBA essay. The experience and achievements will vary from applicant to applicant. Since you’ve been able to tell your personal story in the first motivational INSEAD MBA essay, it’s best to use a professional example for the accomplishment in this INSEAD MBA essay questions. For the accomplishment part, add details about what you achieved and what you had to overcome to do so, and why it made you proud. To optimize your impact with the council, try by quantifying the results to showcase a positive impact.

For the failure part, rather than choosing something you made a blunder at, try selecting an oversight you made at work or a simple mistake and then conclude what you learned from the experience and how it helped you become the person you are today. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, a big failure demonstrates that you are a risk-taker, but make sure that the failure was personal and didn’t cause the company great loss.

In both the above cases, specific details on how these experiences have impacted your life and relationships with your colleagues and teammates. Moreover, including the soft skills, you honed through these experiences and how they will make you a better addition to your study team and INSEAD class.


Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc.). How are you enriched by these activities? 

The last INSEAD MBA essay question provides you an opportunity to show the Admissions Council that you’re a well-rounded person with hobbies and interests that extend beyond your professional life. While writing the INSEAD MBA essay, you’ll need to balance depth and breadth. Try to create 4-5 paragraphs, each with its theme.
Some of the common themes can be:-

  • Involvement during University – clubs that you were a part of, student council and fest committees 
  • Any Volunteering or community work during college life 
  • Any sports club or any sports you were good at. 
  • Hobbies and passions

The second part of this INSEAD MBA essay is more critical since it outlines “Why What and How” you’ve chosen to devote your free time. 

Also, while writing about hobbies, try to neglect generic things like traveling and photography since everyone loves traveling and photography. Hence, unless you have something truly outstanding to add about either one of these endeavors, leave them apart.

There you go! If you follow these tips while answering your INSEAD MBA essay questions, it should set you on the track to academic success. Furthermore, since writing INSEAD MBA essays can be one of the most challenging aspects of the MBA application, they form a crucial element of the admissions process by providing you a unique opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions council. 

If you want to know about writing a near-perfect INSEAD MBA essay, hop on to a 45-minute extensive call with our team at MBA and Beyond. We will provide you with INSEAD sample essays and guide you step-wise to draft a unique piece with clarity, precision, and creativity. Moreover, we are determined to guide you through your entire application process, ensuring the best offers from top Business schools.  

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you write an Insead essay?

Writing an application essay can be a daunting task for someone aiming for the top MBA programs. Not only does it involve a lot of hard work and dedication but extensive research work, precision, and clarity. While writing an INSEAD essay, the most crucial aspect is making your content unique, among others. Therefore, stay focused as you have to write INSEAD MBA essays on seven different topics. Try to make each INSEAD MBA essay distinct from the other and follow a sequenced approach to present your relevant skills more elaborately.


How do I prepare for an Insead interview?

Preparing for an INSEAD interview requires you to be confident about your content, CV, and work experience. Usually, the questions asked in the interview reflect your nature towards your goals and signifies your characteristics. Since the interview round is the hurdle in your selection process, it’s better to take professional mentoring to avoid any chances of disqualification. Try to practice enough with a personal coach to understand the essence and make sure all your hard work doesn’t end up in vain.


Why are you a good fit for Insead?

While writing different essays provided in the questionnaire, try to showcase your approach in a particular situation and supply perception into your strengths and abilities. Your results should designate that you were able to make an impact at the crucial moment. Moreover, a good GMAT/GRE score, essential work experience, and your career projectile are the elements that would count the most while filing your application letter.


What is Insead looking for in essays?

INSEAD and most top B-schools are looking for candidates with good analytical skills, creativity, efficiency, and leadership qualities. Moreover, always remember that it’s you. The council is interested in not the team, not your manager; the actions taken should reflect your characteristics and achievements to make it a more compelling example for the essays.

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