At INSEAD, we value ourselves as the business school for the world. It is not just a slogan that came from the history and gene of this school, but a practice and norm that can be observed in everyone who walks through the program. The designated MBA program with its language requirement, campus around the world, and admitted student body, makes the nature of its students with broaden horizon and unique global capability.
The student body of INSEAD MBA is comprised of people from more than 70 countries, with no single nationality representing more than 20% of entire class. Under this non-dominant nationality environment, which is unique compared to other top MBA program, students are more open-minded and more willing to connect with the world. With the campus at Fontainebleau France and Singapore (Abu Dhabi could be another option for Js), INSEAD offer students options to switch campus period by period (we divide the year into 5 periods, each period has 2 months). This means that you may start at Fontainebleau for the first 6 months and end the program at Singapore for the last 4 months. The courses and school services are 90% the same at both campus. This unique design provides students the chance to immerse into different environments and to adapt to different cultures. The language requirement of passing the basic level of the 2nd foreign language is a tough filter. It frightens off people who only focus on domestic market and, indirectly, builds INSEAD community with talented people who are able to learn languages and willing to communicate with people around the world. Through these facts, the nature of diversity will have clear impacts on different perspectives:
With classmates from more than 70 countries, you will have many opportunities to work and mingle with them on projects, clubs, career development, or even parties. The environment gives you not only the chance to learn how to communicate with other people, but it also pushes you to efficiently work with others who may have totally different point of views and working style. With all the talented people or elites around, to learn how to listen and respect others’ voice and then consolidate into an effective strategy with consensus of the team is not easy an easy task, but critical nonetheless. This is the reality faced everyday by consultants or executives at every firm. You may find that it is neither easy nor efficient at the beginning with your INSEAD classmates, but it is a great opportunity to put yourself into such situation and learn before you pursue your career.
Your classmates will not just come from different corners of the world. They are also open-minded and expecting to make friends at this global community. As we don’t have 50% students from the same country or with the same culture, there is no “cool kids” circle in the school. You don’t need to worry or put effort to break into the inner circle of the community because you won’t find such thing. As long as you are ready to step forward to make friends around the world, you will absolutely enjoy your social life. Although people may tend to hangout with people from the same background, as the human nature, you will find that everyone is equal and there is no majority or barrier in this diversified community.
Just like other top MBA programs, studying at France or Singapore opens chances for INSEADers to work at a continent they have never worked at before. On top of that, the experiences sharing and the connections from your classmates, as well as the opportunities to switch campuses and to join exchange program to Wharton or Kellogg provide INSEADers a widen horizon and the mobility to work at different geography. You will find classmates as dynamics as coming from A country originally but worked at B country for 6 years and is ready to move to C country after INSEAD.
From my personal experience, the learning in the classroom of MBA is half from your classmates. With such diversified classmate backgrounds, there will be no majority voice but many different ideas fly around, raising the intense discussions and stimulating your thought with something you have never thought about before. For example, the highly context culture of Japanese and the emphasis of human rights and privacy of European would be new knowledge for some people but important when making business there.
After all, with all the above pieces, a big value from the diversity of this top MBA program is building your confidence. Without dominant people, cool kids, or voice of majority, giving balanced student body and open-minded classmates, INSEAD offers its student true confidence and courage to respect other people and stand on the global market with the big INSEAD family.