Throughout your MBA search, you will undoubtedly come across a plethora of stats for each programme, some useful, some random, and some entirely inaccurate. (Watch out for those last ones!)
There was one set of data points I found particularly interesting, posted on Poets and Quants in about acceptance rates and yield rates. (https://poetsandquants.com/2015/01/03/most-least-selective-international-business-schools/)
Compared to other top ten MBA programmes, INSEAD may have a higher acceptance rate, a misleading figure however, since INSEAD also has one of the highest yield rates, meaning, there are more INSEAD students who are accepted into INSEAD that also accept the offer and go to INSEAD. The article speculates that this is because many students who apply to INSEAD only apply to INSEAD. (Whereas, for other programmes, applicants may send applications to several different MBA programmes, as is often the custom in the U.S.)
It is quite telling of INSEAD that many students only apply to their programme. While of course the MBA programme is competitive with other top MBA programmes, in many ways, it is in a league of its own. It’s hard to compare the INSEAD one-year global MBA programme that boasts such a high degree of diversity, two fully integrated campuses, and four campus exchange programmes, with any other MBA programme.
This uniqueness is reflected in the INSEAD application process itself. Compared to many other MBA applications, particularly those in the U.S., the INSEAD application process is extensive and detailed. While some may groan about the “additional work” that is involved, it is demonstrative of INSEAD’s desire to understand at great depth the character and background of their applicants. And if you’re only applying to INSEAD, then you don’t have to worry about doing the other application work anyway 🙂
This however, doesn’t make the application process any easier. Sure, you can argue that, focusing on only one application can be easier when you’re juggling a full-time job and studying for the GMAT. For me however, it heightened my anxiety. I put all my efforts into one application, with a single-focus view in mind, and overtime became very anxious about the possibility of it not working out.
Unfortunately, I am not able to give any advice on how to entirely get rid of application anxiety. In a sense, part of the application process is the anxiety that comes with it. I can however, offer insights on how I tried to reduce my anxiety.
I did my best to channel my anxiety into motivation for writing strong essays, regularly practicing for the video interviews, and studying for that damn GMAT. At times, it felt like an isolating process, but I wasn’t always at it alone. By attending the different recruiting events INSEAD hosted, I was able to connect with other applicants who were similarly stressing out. Anxiety, like misery, loves company, and hearing about others’ challenges helped to alleviate mine. I found that even the seemingly most qualified candidate will feel anxious at times throughout the application process.
I also started talking to other INSEAD alumni and students about their own application processes. They too all went through similar application anxiety experiences. Many would say the same thing to me: “I still remember that feeling when I received a call with the +33 number…”. In the end, the anxiety helps build up the excitement, and ultimately the euphoria when you do finally find out your application has been successful.
If you are thinking of applying to INSEAD, or only applying to INSEAD, or are already applying to INSEAD, don’t let the anxiety get to you. It’s a part of the process. Of course, this is easier for me to say this as I write as an admitted student about to start P1. But I can say, from the other side, that the anxiety is absolutely worth it.