Here are some of the actual Essays that I wrote for INSEAD
Next to your GMAT score, your essays are probably the most important element of your application. A good & consistent essay can cover up for weaknesses In other areas. A weak, inconsistent essay can however negate your great GMAT score. Essays are the only medium that allows you to ‘Talk’ to the admissions committee.
Some factors that you need to keep In mind.
Do serious self-analysis to find out the real reasons of why you want to do an MBA and how it fits into your future plans.
Be careful about having somebody else write the essays for you. Unless you pay thousands of dollars, it is only you who can make your essays consistent and coherent.
Your essays are the one and perhaps only opportunity you will get to self yourself. You have to weave a story around your past experience and future aspirations. e.g. if you have consistently switched jobs In the past, you need to show that In a positive light as showing you are willing to take risks by switching jobs.
Discuss your career goals. What are your alternatives to INSEAD? (500 words approx.)
My career goal is to join the ranks of Top Management at a large corporation in about 10 years time. To do this, I need to possess three distinct skills
1. Considering most of the MNCs today are spread widely across countries and cultures, it is imperative to be sensitive to professional values and ways of working in different cultures.
2. Also I have realised that the higher one rises in the Organization Hierarchy, the more important it is to be aware of other Business Functions apart from one’s own. A company is a network of several interacting systems and one effective way to analyse these systems is along functional lines. An MBA from INSEAD would give me a good exposure to the various functional aspects of running a large business.
3. I have found from my experience that Networking is imperative to succeed in most business environments and the various Associations/Forums at INSEAD should prove very helpful here.
Given this as the background, I think a degree from INSEAD would go a long way in helping me achieve my career goals.
So far, I have worked in Marketing and IT Consulting, slowly assuming positions of higher responsibility. Given the increasing importance of IT today, I think my IT experience will give me an edge in my future career.
At the present stage of my career, I am heading the Operations of an Overseas company in the UK. My IT/Marketing Work Experience has been invaluable in my getting this opportunity and I am doing quite well at it.
I can well continue with my current Job but there are distinct advantages that I would get from a stint at INSEAD.
After passing out from INSEAD, I intend to join a Strategic-consulting firm and specialize in a particular industry segment.
This will enable me to gain valuable insights and experience into the issues facing the Top Management and how best to resolve them.
With this experience, a couple of years down the line, I believe that I would be able to join the ranks of Top Management at a large corporation.
Alternatives to INSEAD
If I am unable to join IINSEAD, I intend to apply for other Top Institutes like Kellogg, Cornell, and IMD.
If for whatever reason, I were unable to join an MBA, I would continue with my current job and perhaps move to a larger company.
This would probably delay my Career aims of joining the ranks of Top Management in a large company, but I am sure sooner or later I would be able to accomplish my career goals.
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.(400 words approx.)
I believe myself to be a highly capable and competent individual both professionally and personally.
I have an excellent academic and professional track record, high energy level, excellent interpersonal skills, and a burning desire to excel.
I possess strengths such as sharp analytical skills, ability to work long hours under pressure and team working, which are required to effectively do the kind of work I am currently doing, I would like to mention some of the Unique strengths/Traits which I possess.
– I am able to put myself into the shoes of the other person and think from his/her point of view.
This has enabled me to work well with people from different background, be it difference in Education, Culture, Working Style or Nationality.
I am strongly sensitive to the fact that people’s backgrounds shapes their World View and there may be more than one ‘Correct’ way to look at things.
One of the main factors, which have influenced me, is that I have lived, studied and worked in various parts of Country XYZ. This was because my father was in a transferable job and I had to change schools every 2-3 years.
This constant change enabled me to appreciate and get along with people from widely different backgrounds.
– I have been playing chess from a young age and have competed at National Level (Country XYZ) in the Sub Junior and Junior Categories. I believe this hobby of mine has given me the ability to think Strategically as well as Tactically, spot Patterns in unstructured Situations and take calculated risks.
– I am spiritually inclined by nature and believe in Corporate Responsibility. I prefer working for companies that give something back to the society and are ethical
For example, the company I am currently working for maintains a small village in Rural Country XYZ and runs a Free Engineering College there.
My strengths have enabled me to work successfully under a diverse range of Work Situations, Industries and Roles, right from being an IT consultant at PwC to leading a Start up Operation in the UK.
I wouldn’t say that I have any debilitating weakness but I do tend to be impatient for results and do tend to get a little frustrated if results do not come in time. In fact in Europe, wherein it takes time to fix meetings and get new Clients, (compared to Country XYZ), I once ended up with an irritated Client because I had sent him too many reminders in a short span of time for fixing a meeting.
Describe a situation taken from school, business, civil or military life, where you did not meet your personal Objectives, and discuss briefly the effect. (250 words approx.)
When I was working with PwC Country XYZ, a couple of friends came up with the proposal of setting up an IT business in the UK. I took up the challenge of heading this operation in the UK. This was my first Visit abroad and I wanted to make it a success. However, within months of my arriving in the UK, I found that things were not turning out the way we had planned. The fact that IT sector as a whole took a big hit did not help. As a result we failed to achieve our Break Even Objectives and the company had to close down. However, I learnt a few lessons from this, notably:
– What works in one environment/culture, may not work in another. For Example in Country XYZ, it is usually very easy to meet potential Clients by just calling them on the phone, whereas in the UK, a potential Client will take weeks and maybe months to start trusting you and giving you business. Given such long lead times, Working Capital problems become insurmountable for a small company.
This should have been taken account of in our Financial Plan
– Any small/new business has to establish a Unique Selling Proposition to succeed. Our focus was on Professional Services, which was mainstream business of our larger rivals. Even though our Price was lower, that was not enough to interest the Client. We should have focused on Faster Response times and better service instead of on Price alone.
However, I was determined to prove that I was capable to starting a company in the UK from scratch and run it successfully.
I joined a larger Offshore IT company in the UK, and have been working there since May 2001. Having learnt from my mistakes, I have appropriately modified the Business plan to focus on IT Projects and local partners rather than professional services and this has really borne fruit.
For a close analysis of these Essays, and the rest of the MBA Admission Process, have a look at Winning the MBA Admission Game.