INSEAD MBA Admissions: Who Do They Admit? “The Business School for the World”

As an American company based in Europe, we at Menlo Coaching admire INSEAD’s global orientation and inherent commitment to diversity. During our interview with Dean Ilian Mihov, it’s easy to see why they coin themselves “The Business School for the World”. 

Yaron Dahan, Expert Consultant and our Director of Business Development, had the chance to visit Dean Mihov at the Fontainebleau campus to hear about INSEAD admissions and how they seek MBA candidates who align with their virtuous and forward-looking culture.

This interview covers:

Jump to Related Articles to see more video content on INSEAD, including additional videos from Dean Mihov.

Business as a Force for Good

The INSEAD slogan is “be a force for good in the world.” The Hoffman Institute is a clear part of this vision, as discussed in part one of this interview on INSEAD’s recent changes and steps toward sustainability. Ilian Mihov believes that this value is core to the way the business world ought to operate. 

If you want to reduce poverty, increase economic welfare. If you want to make sure that […] the world is developing, you need economic growth and the only engine of economic growth is business creation.”

Ilian Mihov, INSEAD Dean

But that is a tall order for any business school to achieve. Mihov notes that the narrowest interpretation of the motto says that INSEAD students are given the competencies, knowledge, and skills to create productive and efficient companies, accelerate growth, create jobs, and lift people out of poverty. He also acknowledges that this definition alone is insufficient for the school to actually consider itself a force for good. In acknowledging the harm that businesses are capable of, Mihov outlines what else INSEAD offers its students.

The Ideal INSEAD MBA Candidate

As INSEAD attempts to build out programs to match its mission statement, it is looking to admit students who are open-minded, inquisitive, curious about learning, and willing to tolerate, accept, and work with others. Also, as touched upon in another interview, the INSEAD MBA class profile is overwhelmingly diverse, and the business school prefers to accept a group of people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. 

Key to the ideal INSEAD applicant profile is an interest in the broader world. Mihov is clear, however, that, while INSEAD values students who have interests beyond ROI, they do not screen for it exclusively because an important aspect of the school’s mission is changing mindsets. INSEAD sees itself not as a school for social entrepreneurs but as a school that places MBA graduates who value social entrepreneurship at the top investment banks, consulting companies, and corporations to try and change them from the inside. 

Mihov notes that half of all INSEAD applicants only apply to INSEAD because the school has a unique profile in terms of its philosophical goals. Additionally, students are often discouraged from applying to INSEAD when the school believes that they are a bad match. 

INSEAD’s Goals for the Future

As INSEAD grows it has a long list of locations, programs, and opportunities in development. 

INSEAD’s interest in social entrepreneurship dovetails with its international brand, and one can expect that the school will continue to admit diverse, open-minded individuals who are keen on changing the world for the better. With a growing number of programs, it will be interesting to see where INSEAD goes next.