Challenges of applying to an international MBA program
Most MBA candidates come to us with an idea of why they want to do an international MBA. There are many MBA candidates who aim for a full 3D change – career/industry, position, geography; and others who want to change 2 or 1 of those elements.
This morning, one of our candidates emailed me with her acceptance at INSEAD. We were bold, doing one single application. It was INSEAD or nothing because she wants to become a worldly person working at a tech company (2 out of 3). Juliana has a strong profile, with an undergraduate degree from one of the top schools in Brazil in Production Engineering. I joked around with her several times, that if she survived with a handful of women in that course, a consultancy and most lately, a Brazilian startup in rental properties, she would endure the Admissions process to a top tier business school. But it was that analytical thinking, that core rationale innate to an Engineer that blocked her to tell her story. In her mind, and many other MBA candidates, those essay prompts are “crazy”. I agree that some prompts really twist our minds and takes time to crack it down. However, I have to say that it is one of the greatest parts of working with MBA Admissions! The “crazier” the prompt, the better the challenge.
Juliana’s process wasn’t easy. We spent several hours back and forth on her essays during the Brazilian Carnival weekend to make to the deadline, reviewing and re-organizing the ideas to properly tell her story. (Side note – For those of you considering INSEAD, here goes a little heads-up: the school requires 2 motivational essays that demand a lot of self-reflection, self-analysis and a realistic assessment of who you are as a person, therefore, as a professional.) Back to Juliana, she had plenty of challenging and interesting situations to share, but we had to go beyond her analytical brain so that her narrative would be compelling and showcased her in the best way possible to the school.
It took us deep thinking to come around those detours and submit essays that truly made her stand out amongst the candidate pool for INSEAD. As she said over the phone today: 100% of success rate. Her excitement and happiness with such accomplishment assure me one thing: nothing will hold her back. The sky was already something she would make it any time. Now, with an INSEAD MBA, she will go much further.
Congratulations Juliana! Fontainbleau awaits for you.