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Unconventional profile evaluation - Insead

This topic has 1 expert reply and 8 member replies
Mike P Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
20 Feb 2017
Posted:
4 messages

Unconventional profile evaluation - Insead

Post Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:22 am
I have an unconventional profile, would appreciate if someone could provide their feedback. I'm interested in applying to Insead (starting Sept 2018)

Male
Nationality: Born and raised in Belgium / I also hold Fiji passport
GMAT - 670 Q48/V33
Age: 28/29 next year.

Academics:
Bachelor degree in Asia Business from an average Belgian Uni
1 year Chinese Language program at a top uni in China.

Carreer:
In Belgium: Ran my own company on the side from age 17-21, averaging EUR 35k in monthly revenue
In Beijing: For past 6 years, I founded a trading company in China and EU. Set up an office in Beijing and Antwerp. Current annual turnover 2m+, 3 employees.

International exp:
6 months exchange in Tier 3 China city.
6 months internship as the only foreigner in a large Korean company in Seoul.
3,5 years of working in Beijing, running my business.
Have been living in Barcelona for the past 3 years, working from home

Languages:
Dutch, English, Mandarin (business), Spanish (business)

Other:
As part of my current business, set up a JV in Delhi, India



Last edited by Mike P on Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Caiman11 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
09 Oct 2016
Posted:
9 messages
Test Date:
10/20/16
Target GMAT Score:
710
Top Reply
Post Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:58 pm
I have a somewhat similar background, (founder of an e-commerce site with a few million bucks per year revenue in a couple of foreign countries, lots of international stuff, extra curriculars etc). I took the GMAT twice to get up to 740 and break the 70th percentile in quant to meet INSEAD's expectation. Despite more than checking all the boxes for INSEAD (they mention "international motivation," "leadership potential," "academic capacity," and "ability to contribute" as the four criteria they evaluate candidates on), I got dinged with no interview. They "encouraged" me to transfer my application to their EMBA program, but offered no justification for why this would make sense (it doesn't).

I don't know what their reasoning was, but I have a nagging suspicion that they are in reality far less excited about entrepreneurs than their marketing suggests. At any rate, the point here is that you definitely can't assume that success as an international entrepreneur will be sufficient to gain entrance, even with all the other good stuff going for you. I'd study hard to get the GMAT up and apply to a few other schools to hedge your bets. Being a "perfect fit" apparently doesn't always translate into acceptance.

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Mike P Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
20 Feb 2017
Posted:
4 messages
Top Reply
Post Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:03 am
Hi Caiman, I read your post previously indeed thinking our profiles match quite a bit.

The above replies gave me some confidence, yours is worrying me (thanks though for sharing!)

Apart from your suspicions, any idea on why they dinged you? Could it have been your quant, essays or recommendation letters?

Are you now applying to their EMBA?

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Caiman11 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
09 Oct 2016
Posted:
9 messages
Test Date:
10/20/16
Target GMAT Score:
710
Post Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:58 pm
I have a somewhat similar background, (founder of an e-commerce site with a few million bucks per year revenue in a couple of foreign countries, lots of international stuff, extra curriculars etc). I took the GMAT twice to get up to 740 and break the 70th percentile in quant to meet INSEAD's expectation. Despite more than checking all the boxes for INSEAD (they mention "international motivation," "leadership potential," "academic capacity," and "ability to contribute" as the four criteria they evaluate candidates on), I got dinged with no interview. They "encouraged" me to transfer my application to their EMBA program, but offered no justification for why this would make sense (it doesn't).

I don't know what their reasoning was, but I have a nagging suspicion that they are in reality far less excited about entrepreneurs than their marketing suggests. At any rate, the point here is that you definitely can't assume that success as an international entrepreneur will be sufficient to gain entrance, even with all the other good stuff going for you. I'd study hard to get the GMAT up and apply to a few other schools to hedge your bets. Being a "perfect fit" apparently doesn't always translate into acceptance.

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Mike P Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
20 Feb 2017
Posted:
4 messages
Post Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:03 am
Hi Caiman, I read your post previously indeed thinking our profiles match quite a bit.

The above replies gave me some confidence, yours is worrying me (thanks though for sharing!)

Apart from your suspicions, any idea on why they dinged you? Could it have been your quant, essays or recommendation letters?

Are you now applying to their EMBA?

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Mike P Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
20 Feb 2017
Posted:
4 messages
Post Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:20 am
Thanks a lot for this feedback! Some important stuff for me to take into account.

Good luck with applying to LBS and Judge!

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Caiman11 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
09 Oct 2016
Posted:
9 messages
Test Date:
10/20/16
Target GMAT Score:
710
Post Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:18 am
It's hard to know what their exact reasoning was as they haven't responded to requests for more information. The only clue they gave me was saying that the admissions committee considered my candidacy more appropriate for the executive MBA program, and offering to transfer my file to that process. There are three big differences between the executive program and the full time MBA. Namely, with the former you stay at your job, the participants tend to be significantly older and more experienced, and it costs a lot more. I'll speculate that because I'd still have my company during the MBA, they worry that there's a risk that I leave halfway through to deal with some unforeseen emergency or to take advantage of some opportunity. It might also be possible that they figure they'd make more money off me in the EMBA program, and that I'd be able to pay the difference because I'd still have income from my company, unlike most full time MBA candidates. I suspect that they thought of me as a marginal candidate anyway, otherwise they would have at least given me an interview. They must have known that me accepting their offer to do the EMBA was a long shot. Obviously, if I wanted an EMBA I would have applied for it.

In terms of weaknesses in my app, I'll give you a few:
-I had low grades in quant heavy subjects in college (although I did fine on the GMAT 2nd attempt)
-I didn't go to a super prestigious university
-Aside from my own company I don't have any blue chip experience from a well known company. Probably would have been better off if I had two years at McKinsey or something.
-Because I don't have a supervisor I had to use my business partner, who happens to be my brother, as a reference, and my football coach. They wrote some pretty killer recs though.
-I ran out of time on one of the answers to that weird video portion of the app.
-My company does very well but I get the sense that B-School admissions people measure the value of startups by how much venture capital they raise (that's how the schools are ranked as being good for entrepreneurship by FT etc, which seems a counter intuitive metric). We bootstrapped ours.
-Additionally, we didn't invent any new technology or come up with a totally new business model. We simply took a model that worked (groupon, basically) and adapted it to a different market. I get the sense that admissions folks are impressed by a more narrow view of entrepreneurship as being about creating disruptive technologies. They likely would have been happier if I had come up with a new iphone app for buying fresher organic vegetables and talked a bunch of VCs into forking over a few hundred grand, even if the company flopped.

Anyway, all this is pure speculation and you might want a more qualified opinion. If you have your heart set on INSEAD it might be worth shelling out a grand to get a good admissions consultant to take a look at your app before you fire it off. If not, apply to a few other similar schools in case you get unlucky. I got an interview invite from LBS, which I'm really happy about. I'm also applying to Cambridge Judge which is another great school, probably in a similar league with INSEAD and LBS in terms of entrepreneurship.

Best of luck!

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Mike P Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
20 Feb 2017
Posted:
4 messages
Post Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:07 am
Thanks everybody for the great input! Very helpful.

I will work to improve my GMAT. Still have plenty of time.

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Michelle@ARINGO Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Joined
07 Mar 2013
Posted:
276 messages
Followed by:
7 members
Upvotes:
22
Post Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:14 pm
Mike P wrote:
I have an unconventional profile, would appreciate if someone could provide their feedback. I'm interested in applying to Insead (starting Sept 2018)

Male
Nationality: Born and raised in Belgium / I also hold Fiji passport
GMAT - 670 Q48/V33
Age: 28/29 next year.

Academics:
Bachelor degree in Asia Business from an average Belgian Uni
1 year Chinese Language program at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Tsinghua is China's top uni.

Carreer:
In Belgium: Ran my own e-commerce company on the side from age 17-21, averaging EUR 35k in monthly revenue
In Beijing: For past 6 years, I founded a dairy trading company in China and EU. Set up an office in Beijing and Antwerp. Current annual turnover 2m+, 3 employees.

International exp:
6 months exchange in Tier 3 China city.
6 months internship as the only foreigner in a large Korean company in Seoul.
3,5 years of working in Beijing, running my business.
Have been living in Barcelona for the past 3 years, working from home

Languages:
Dutch, English, Mandarin (business), Spanish (business)

Other:
As part of my current business, set up a JV in Delhi, India
Generally, I would say your profile is a perfect fit for INSEAD and they should be impressed. As already mentioned, the only issue is the GMAT score which is lower than the average for them, but your profile is stronger. So I think it will come down to the essays in the end. They will help "swing the balance" one way or the other.

So make your essays a priority and do not be scared to get professional assistance with them if you think it would be needed.

Good luck!

_________________
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Specializing in candidates with GMATs under 720

Try our free Admissions Chances Calculator - https://aringo.com/mba-admission-chances-calculator/
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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:06 am
Mike P wrote:
I have an unconventional profile, would appreciate if someone could provide their feedback. I'm interested in applying to Insead (starting Sept 2018)

Male
Nationality: Born and raised in Belgium / I also hold Fiji passport
GMAT - 670 Q48/V33
Age: 28/29 next year.

Academics:
Bachelor degree in Asia Business from an average Belgian Uni
1 year Chinese Language program at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Tsinghua is China's top uni.

Carreer:
In Belgium: Ran my own e-commerce company on the side from age 17-21, averaging EUR 35k in monthly revenue
In Beijing: For past 6 years, I founded a dairy trading company in China and EU. Set up an office in Beijing and Antwerp. Current annual turnover 2m+, 3 employees.

International exp:
6 months exchange in Tier 3 China city.
6 months internship as the only foreigner in a large Korean company in Seoul.
3,5 years of working in Beijing, running my business.
Have been living in Barcelona for the past 3 years, working from home

Languages:
Dutch, English, Mandarin (business), Spanish (business)

Other:
As part of my current business, set up a JV in Delhi, India
While your stats are a little shy of their averages, I would say that your broad international experience is a real plus and makes you interesting from an admissions perspective. You have some really interesting work experience too that I think could make you attractive there. I would visit the school, talk to students and really shine in showing you have thought about WHY INSEAD as another way to stand out and be noticed in this process. Best wishes to you.

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