What are the characteristics you are looking for in applicants?

We are looking for experienced executives with intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn and challenge themselves in a rigorous academic programme.

Leadership experience

You need to demonstrate your potential as a leader. We will consider your professional experience and past performance when assessing your application. Participants in our current class have an average of 12 years' work experience, at least three years being in a management role in charge of teams and/or projects. More important than the length of your experience, however, is the quality of your accomplishments and motivation through career evolution.

Academic background

The INSEAD GEMBA is intensive, rigorous and challenging. You must have a sound academic foundation: a bachelor's degree or equivalent from a recognised college or university (although in exceptional circumstances, we may waive this requirement for otherwise outstanding candidates with substantial professional experience). While many of our applicants have advanced degrees, this is not compulsory as we take into consideration professional experience, supported by the GMAT or the INSEAD EMBA Admissions Test.

International outlook

We attract applicants with cross-cultural sensitivity and an international outlook. We consider applicants who have lived, worked or studied abroad, who are working for international companies or on an international level with clients, suppliers or other stakeholders.

Personal contribution

We look for participants who will contribute proactively and share the insights they have gained throughout their professional and personal experience. You need to demonstrate a clear desire for intellectual growth, both in the classroom and through working on group projects. We welcome participants who are mature, energetic, highly motivated, well rounded, and who possess strong communication and interpersonal skills. In addition, we try to build an exciting, dynamic and diverse student body representing many countries, backgrounds, styles and aspirations. It is our belief that a substantial part of your INSEAD experience will be shaped by your interaction with your fellow participants and your active participation both inside and outside the classroom.

What sets your programme apart from other EMBA programmes?

  • At INSEAD we have three integrated campuses and the participants rotate on all three. This means that we have a local faculty which is well rooted with the local companies and business models of the region, which results in a true global programme.
  • We also thrive to build a class with the most diverse profiles not only in terms of nationalities but also in terms of sectors and functions represented: 55 nationalities, 48 places of work, 11 sectors represented
  • We have a built-in Leadership Development Programme which enables the participants to work on their self-development: Coached in groups and individually, they are engaging in introspection that helps them to find their professional path after the programme.

Tell us about your curriculum. How is the EMBA programme structured?

Programme Overview

The programme takes place in modular format on the Europe CampusAsia Campus and Middle East Campus, with initial regional focus depending on the section you join. Most people opt to start on the campus that is closest to home, but some decide to build their business travel around modules on the other side of the world. The campuses are equally diverse, each with world-class faculty in residence. Whichever route you select, you will study on all three campuses and come together as a single class for the second half of the programme. The class graduates together in Singapore.

How is entrepreneurship taught in your programme? How many students embark on entrepreneurial ventures upon graduation? Can you comment on these numbers? Why are they so high/low?

In September 2015, INSEAD offered an innovative weeklong course for its Global Executive MBA participants in San Francisco, USA, benefiting from the INSEAD/Wharton Alliance to use the beautiful Wharton West campus facilities.

A diverse group of 54 students joined Professor Karan Girotra, Associate Professor of Technology and Operations Management (and successful entrepreneur) for a course entitled “The Science and Practice of Startups”. Through course work, experiential learning and guest speakers, the participants learned that ‘Silicon Valley’ was not so much a physical location as a state of mind. They spent a week understanding the practice of generating new business ideas, assessing each opportunity for success and taking the first steps to launch.

Bringing the students to Silicon Valley turned a course that could have stayed in the realm of the theoretical into an interactive and impactful experience. The Wharton West campus is uniquely positioned to offer access to local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Participants were able to exchange with the men and women responsible for financing and managing some of the most innovative ventures in recent times.

For the final day of the course, the participants spent a competitive day on the road, working in teams to interact with and assess the largest possible number of Silicon Valley lifestyle startups. Each team posted their progress live to the conversation stream of INSEAD’s web-based course platform, adding to the adrenaline and competitive feel of the day.

Are many of your students corporate-sponsored? Can you comment on these numbers?

For the class of 2015 we have:
16% of fully sponsored participants
10% of partially sponsored participants.
When the programme started 10 years ago, all participants were sponsored. Now fewer than a third are sponsored. Some of the participants choose not to ask for money as they want to have freedom of choice if any opportunity arises during the course of the programme. This leads to a new issue, which is the funding of the programme.

We offer scholarships for non-funded participants:
The average scholarship is EUR15K and 32% of participants received one.
This makes a total of EUR700K offered per intake.

How many students return to executive jobs with their previous or new employers? Can you comment on these numbers? Why are they so high/low?

64% are looking for a new opportunity during the course of the programme and 33% are promoted or got a new job within their company during the course of the programme. 28% either have a new job with a new company or are about to get one.

Obviously, those sponsored by their company build a strong relationship and are seen as “High Potential”. Therefore, they are offered higher positions during or soon after the end of the programme.

INSEAD has strong career development workshops built into the programme and this is something that we have added in the last few years to help participants to manage their career. We give them tools to sell themselves to their own companies or find top executive jobs. We give them tips to network better through workshops and webinars.

What advice would you offer to a person who is thinking about getting an EMBA?

It would be to prepare yourself professionally and personally. It is a very big investment in terms of commitment and money and it has to be thought of long before the programme starts. Sometimes we get late applicants wanting to join the programme. So, they rush their application, fail to negotiate properly with their companies, do not think about the sources of funding and they end up being disappointed because they cannot join. Applying to an EMBA programme has to be handled as a project management, with deadlines and reviews.

  • Meet as many school representatives and alumni as possible for your chosen programme and school.
  • Allow time to write the essays and prepare for a test (GMAT or INSEAD test)
  • Build your case to your employers to bring them solutions and not problems.
  • Meet the early deadlines in order to be considered for scholarships
  • Give yourself time to negotiate with financial institutions.