INSEAD General Information

· Just to add in what I know about INSEAD's entrepreneurship curriculum/culture:

Academically, there is Prof Phil Anderson who is considered an academic/opinion leader in his field--entrepreneurship. His classes are some of the most popular in INSEAD. I actually had the chance to audit a couple of his classes. (FYI, I didn't attend INSEAD or any other b school unless you count 2 weeks @ Columbia, but my wife is an alum).

What I found unique about his classes is that he writes 1) his own case studies so no generic stuff from Harvard and 2) his case studies are relevant to the region. For example, his class is about entrepreneurship in Asia-Pacific, but instead of talking about Acer/Stan Shih, his case studies are original and change from year to year. (The point that I am trying to make is that for example a common case study used by business school, including NTU undergrad, about strategy is Southwest Airlines. It's used b/c it's written by Harvard. But I question the wisdom of using this as a case when for example 40% of your class is comprised of international students or in NTU's case, 100% are non-Americans, for the simple reason that if you have not flown Southwest Airlines it is very difficult to comment on the case intelligently. This is what I consider a US-centric view of business. One of the strengths of INSEAD is that in everything it does it trys to take a more global perspective on things, which levels the playing field for all students)

Though INSEAD and many other schools are known to be entrepreneurial, the reality is few schools actually produce entrepreneurs. You can learn about entrepreneurship, but you can't learn gut or courage, which is what you need to start a business. The percentage of people who start a business right out of an MBA program is definitely less than 3%.

Some recent INSEAD alum who have made it big through entrepreneurship: Kevin Ryan, founder of Doubleclick which was recenlty sold to Google for $3+ billion and the founder of, the leading job site in China.

· Just wanted to make a few comments on some of the issues raised:

I spoke to Gopika (INSEAD's marketing person) who is an IMD alum and asked her to elaborate on the difference between IMD and INSEAD, other than the fact that both are good schools.

Like all b schools it comes down to what you want. Here is a summary of what I think her main points are: 

    1. Smaller network. IMD is a small school, so naturally you have a smaller network. With INSEAD, she can go anywhere in the world, including Taipei, and there will be alumni. 

    2. Broader base of recruiters at INSEAD. Basically IMD is excellent if you are looking into entering industry but doesn't have the mix of recruiters that INSEAD gets.

INSEAD vs US schools (this is entirely my opinion, but it is based on a lot of firsthand information.)

The reality is that if you don't have US PR/Citizenship or Canadian Citizenship it is extremely difficult to work in the US. Add to that as a Taiwanese student you have a cultural and linguistic disadvantage, so it pretty much means that you have to rule out the US for IB/MC jobs. The reality is that the Taiwanese students who do find IB/MC jobs are doing so in HK and Taiwan. If you are looking for corporate jobs, it boils down to function, location and pay. Again, as a Taiwanese student, you probably are not going to get the strategic corporate jobs in the US.

So this is how I see INSEAD: 

    1) It gives you the same opportunities as other top US b schools in getting a MC/IB job. 

    2) But, it gives you an additional advantage in finding Asia-based corporate jobs because of the opportunity to spend time in Singapore.

You may be asking, but with a 2 year program you have a chance to do an internship.

--Unless you get into H/S/W, MCs don't usually hire interns from other schools. So you are not going to find a consulting intern anyways. Also, the full-time hires often don't have prior consulting experience. In a way, MCs are better suited for Taiwanese students because it is more of a "meritocracy." MCs value raw brain power more than IBs, which I think looks more at other attributes.

--IB internships:
The good news is that more of them are available than MC internships. Bad news: it is extremely competitive. However, having said that, INSEAD also gets its fair share of IBs recruiting for summer interns. The key for INSEAD is that if you want to be a career switcher, you should be entering the Jan term because you will have the summer to do an internship.
If you're a career switcher who enters Sept, you still can get an IB job, it just requires more work and a bit of luck.

· What I mean by industry is that if you are looking to enter Philips, Nokia, Unilever or other well-known large European industrials then IMD is a good option. On the converse, it also means that MCs/IBs don't recruite too heavily there.

Re: my assessment of INSEAD's placement in Asia
Basically there are 2 main ways to find a job, on-campus recruiting and non-campus recruiting.
On-campus recruiting: 
1. IB/MCs: These companies recruit globally at all top business schools so it doesn't really matter which top school you go to. 
2. Other on-campus recruiters: The main difference is that in the US many recruiters will tell you that they can't/won't hire internationals. So when you look at the career placement stats, it will appear that there are hundreds of companies that recruit from XYZ school. But, the real question you should be asking is how many of these companies can hire an international student. Chances are not many. On the other hand, the number of recruiters at INSEAD is less than a comparable b school in the US, say Wharton, but the advantage you have is that every company that comes to recruit can hire you. That is to say, if you are Taiwanese, you are not automatically prevented from applying because you are restricted to work in Singapore/HK/Japan.
Non-on-campus recruiting:
This is where I see the major advantage that INSEAD's Singapore campus has. Because you are in Asia, you are able to apply and interview with companies in Singapore, which is home to a large number of MNCs. That is advantage #1. Furthermore, there are recruiters who actively seek out INSEAD students. From a recruiter's point of view, if one candidate is 12 time zones away vs. another that is just 10 minutes away for a quick cup of coffee, the recruiter will go with the local candidate. This is an edge that INSEAD's Singapore campus offers that in my opinion no school in the US can compete on.
Hope this clarifies my initial posting.

Q. Could you describe their overall teaching method? Any special courses or program that might beat other B-schools?

posted Apr 20, 2009, 1:13 AM by Weiyang Tsai

A. INSEAD is the same as other top schools--a mix of lecture and case. Extra commentary: My guess is that you're a prospective student. My general advice is that there is not much difference in teaching method at most business schools, with the exception of HBS & Darden which do all case. But honestly, case is just a lot of BS. It's what we called a discussion or seminar course as undergrads.

Q. How's Insead Alumni network in Asia?

posted Apr 20, 2009, 1:11 AM by Weiyang Tsai   [ updated Apr 20, 2009, 1:12 AM ]

INSEAD's alumni is strongest in London & Singapore. I'd say that it's definitely growing in other places in Asia. Hong Kong is sizable. I have heard that in China, there are 300 alum working there now.

Taiwanese alumni is growing rapidly, approaching 50 now I believe. But the thing is most Taiwanese alum work overseas.

Alumni club in Japan is very strong and active.

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