Completing the INSEAD Interviews


I finally completed my INSEAD interviews last week. From the tone of our interactions before the interviews, I classified the first interviewer as the “bad cop” and the second interviewer as the “good cop”. But the experiences with them turned out to be the reverse.

The first interviewer was a chilled guy who graduated from INSEAD in 2003. I assumed that he was going to be the bad cop, but we really ended up connecting. He asked me the following questions:

  1. Tell me about your career since you graduated from the University
  2. Give me an example of a change you were able to make while working with your current employer
  3. What is the greatest challenge you have faced with your employer?
  4. Why INSEAD? What do you hope to gain by going to business school
  5. How do you intend to fund your stay while at INSEAD?
  6. Which other schools did you apply to? Why?
  7. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  8. Give me an example of a culture shock that you experienced, and what you gained from it.

Then we got talking about various investment strategies, and I ended up drafting a mini investment policy statement there. We also established some common grounds on our long term goals.

The interview lasted for about 1 hour 50 minutes before he remembered that he had a plane to catch.

I had to fly out to Lagos for the second interview. I have interviewed for jobs and other stuff before in the past but this was the strangest interview I have ever had in my life. Another strange thing was that this interviewer who graduated in 2001 interviewed my first interviewer when he (my first interviewer) applied to INSEAD!

He also asked me the following questions:

  1. Why MBA? Why INSEAD? Why now?
  2. Have you ever been in a position of leadership?
  3. What role do you play in a team?
  4. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  5. Tell me a time when you experienced a culture shock. (That pesky question again)

He challenged me about some of my views and the reasons why I wanted to go to a business school. I looked for a way to work round the challenges he threw at me to tie it into why I need to go to business school. This happened on two occasions. The first challenge he threw at me was that Nigeria was not ready for the privatization of the healthcare industry because of vested interests. And my response was that I need to go to business school now to acquire the skills before Nigeria becomes ready.

The interview lasted for about 2 hours 30 minutes and I had approximately 15 – 20 minutes of talk time. If there was anything I was able to gather from him, he was really passionate about INSEAD.

At the end he said he would recommend me to INSEAD.

Strange interview.


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