INSEAD Interviews FAQ

I’ve been getting a lot of mails on the INSEAD interviews; what they ask, how to prepare, etc. So, I decided to consolidate my answers here in the form of an FAQ since R2, R3 & R4 interviews are coming up also. Plus, it will serve posterity as well.

Q1. How important are the interviews?

OMJ: Very important. A good interview might not get you in, but a bad interview will certainly keep you out.

Q2. What is the conversion ratio of interviewees to admits?

OMJ: I don’t know and anyone, besides the adcom, who claims some number is talking out of their a#$e. My approach is to not get riled up on such statistics, especially when it’s never going to be confirmed. Think the worst (like 30%). All you can do is give the interviews your best shot. Concentrate on that instead.

Q3. How were your interviews? What were you asked?

OMJ: To read details of my interviews click here for my 1st interview and click here for my 2nd interview.

Q4. How should I prepare for my interviews?

OMJ: The short answer is you can’t really prepare beyond the 3 Whys. When preparing for my interviews, I culled the Internet trying to find different questions people had been asked and created a list which I mocked through. I present this list here so that anyone can benefit from it. Click here to download the pdf.

Q5. This is amazing OMJ! You’re a GOD. Keep it up!

OMJ: Yes I know, thank you.

Q6. Can I share this with my friends?

OMJ: Yes, you can, but I only request that you reference me back.

Q7. If I prepare for every question here, will I definitely get into INSEAD?

OMJ: If you’re naive enough to believe that, you’re in trouble already. This was MY way of preparing for MY interviews. It helped ME. Maybe it might help you. Will it get you in? I don’t know. Is it good practice? I think so.

Q8. Is this list exhaustive?

OMJ: Read answer to Q4. Beyond the 3 Whys, its an open field.

Q9.Why didn’t you publish your answers to these questions?

OMJ: Erm, coz’ they are MY answers and not YOUR answers. You need to work through them. There are no right answers. Your answer is dependent on your life and experiences. And, if you try winging my answers to your interviewers, they will drop you like a hot-potato. They’re way too smart for that.

Q10.Are you going to start an admissions consultancy?

OMJ: God forbid! No, this is something I’m doing out of interest and coz’ I like writing and it always nice to know someone’s benefiting from this.

Q11. This is amazing OMJ! You’re a GOD. Keep it up! (encore)

OMJ: Yes I know, thank you. ;p

Drop me a note if you benefited from this post or if you have other questions. I’ll try my best to answer them, but remember I’m only human. I’ll be glad to hear of any success stories because of this (before you ask, see answer to Q10).

Best of luck to all and remember it ain’t over until it’s over!


16 Responses

  1. this is amazing OMJ! You’re a GOD! Keep it up!

  2. OMJ! thanks a lot!!! ur most definitely a GOD!!!

    Jan 2010 R3 Interview Pre-select

  3. I think you should rechristen yourself to IMG (I m God),OMJ!

    Your posts on Interviews are f*#$in awesome man! I am in OMJ!!

    And I so much look forward to meet you at Fonty in Jan…

    Thanks buddy!


  4. Thanks a ton! The list covers a whole range of questions… Its great that you shared this!


  5. Thanks OMJ – I’ve still got a week away from finding out whether I get my interview, so I have more of a pre-interview q for you. Have you seen anywhere what conversion numbers are like between apps and interviews? or a sense of how likely one is to get an interview? I have been told by alumni and admissions consultants that if I meet insead’s bar, I’ll get in. What are your thoughts? It seems like you were meticulous with your research so I would trust your opinion over the random ones on the forums. Thanks!

    • Firstly, thanks for your kind words. Coming to your question, INSEAD is a very competitive school to get into; INSEAD’s very brutal with it’s first cut when it selects candidates for an interview. No one knows official numbers, but rumor has it that nearly 50% or more get chopped off. There are so many things that go into an application, that meeting the bar alone doesn’t nail the deal; loads of people meet the bar by that mathematical definition. The quality of the your work-experience, your essays, your GMAT score, the languages you speak, your nationality, etc. all go towards the decision. So, I wouldn’t really agree with the people who told you that meeting the bar ensures an interview. I don’t think anyone knows the black-art of admissions and till that becomes clear, there will be admissions consultants making easy money. However, if you think you have put in a strong application, then I suggest you remain optimistic and start preparing for the interviews. Don’t know if that helped, but it’s an honest answer. Best of luck!

  6. That’s all I ask… I’d rather have an honest answer than mere conjecture. I appreciate you still responding despite your hectic schedule @ INSEAD. I hope you don’t mind my copying your answer over to the forums – I credited you with the answer – not sure if you still wanted the traffic, but I didn’t want to come off as having more knowledge than I had. Hope things are going well!

    • No worries about the traffic; thanks for the reference. I have been lax about my commitment to the blog and intend to change that in the coming days. So expect a lot more posts in the future.

  7. One more thing, when I said meeting the bar, I did also mean to include that the bar varies depending on your nationality and profile. Still have to meet the leadership and diversity bars… a male indian engineer, as many of us know that are applying, has a higher bar to meet than a female officer in the american marines. We all try just as hard to get in, but we work with the hand we were dealt and the choices we made.

  8. Hi OMJ,
    The info you shared is amazing! Helped me a great deal for interview preps. One of my interviewers was really cool while the other one was being a bit sarcastic, he also didn’t provide any feedback. Does this give any negative indication?
    When does INSEAD typically declare the results? Is that very close to the deadline?
    Hope you can share your opinions. Thanks again!

    • SH,
      I wouldn’t read too much into it. Some interviewers are known to be purposely sarcastic just to stress you out. Keep cool and best of luck for the final decision!

  9. Thanks OMJ for your note! I also read in some of the forums that sometimes the interviewer does that on purpose to test the applicant. Now hoping for a positive result and waiting to hear from INSEAD soon.

  10. I found it, thanks

  11. Thanks so much for the list… I really appreciated the input. It helped me prepare well and feel confident for the interview. Mind you my interviewers were very creative and mostly asked me questions which were not on the list… but I felt confident about my answers because I had given much thought to all your questions. Results: Accepted.

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