Most important to get to INSEAD is mastering the GMAT and acquiring impressive business credentials. You would think, right.

In reality, the skills that really matter to enter INSEAD are writing and telling a story. Entering a top business school involves a lot of writing. Really a lot, like 7 essays along with the application, 5 to 8 essays to apply for a scholarship (before you even know if you are accepted or not) and then, of course, a letter to thank for the scholarship (yes, the effort is well worth it). Sounds like a lot of paperwork, doesn’t it. It certainly is. But that’s not the trick.

The trick is what you fill all these essays with. Here comes a story, and the story is yours. It’s a part of the application package, your chance to score points. I gave it a thought and decided that the best story is an authentic one. I wrote about my goals, my achievements and failures, my aspirations and disappointments, about what worked in my life and what didn’t. In essence, what made me the person I am today. Then I wrote about my dreams: doing a job I love, every day, five days a week. Living in any country of the world, regardless of the color of my passport. Waking up with a smile and positive anticipation of a great day ahead of me, full of mental challenges, small achievements and – once in a while – big victories. With nine years of work experience (four of them running my own business), a specialist degree in Law and Master of Science in International Business I didn’t need an MBA to be in business. Or to make money. I needed it to bring my life to a different level, to be able to use and develop as many of my talents as I could. To make a difference where I could. That’s what I wrote in those essays. That’s what I talked about during the interviews: one friendly and encouraging, one cold and examining. My life, my dreams, my whys.
We’ll see in one year where they take me.