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January 25, 2014

Converting INSEAD's 2014 MBA Admissions Essays into January 2015 Essays

In this post I will discuss the specific problem that some applicants will have if they previously started writing INSEAD’s MBA Application Essays for January and September 2014 Admission, but are now applying for January 2015 admission.  Below I provide both the GOOD and BAD NEWS on converting your essays for 2014 admission to what you will need for January 2015 admission.

If you have not done so, I suggest reviewing my analysis of the January 2015 (Class of December 2015) essays before and/or in tandem with this post.  You may also find it helpful to refer to my analysis of the 2014 essays as well. My post, INSEAD: Applying for September 2014 versus January 2015 Intakes  may also be relevant to you

Altering the Job Description Essays 
Job Description 1. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget,clients/products and results achieved. What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (350 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS: Since they added a 100 words to the question for January 2015, chances are that you can fully utilize what you already had written to answer this question. In addition, the new part of the question was previously in Job Essay 2, so you probably can repurpose that part completely (Most applicants would have written far less than 100 words on that anyway).

THE BAD NEWS: Since there is no longer a  full Why MBA/Why INSEAD Essay Question, but only the goals in Job Essay 2, you should consider providing a clear and brief explanation here on why an MBA now is better than staying at your current job. Aside from being brief, I don’t imagine this should be too hard.

Job Description 2. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS: You should be able to repurpose at least part of what you had previously written for the first part of Job Essay 2 and Motivation Essay 4a (Goals) here.  The second part of Job Essay 2 is now in Job Essay 1, so you don’t need to use word count for it here.

THE BAD NEWS: Since you need to really need to factor in “It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices,” chances are very likely you will to do a total rewrite.  In addition, you will surely need to cut your goal content down to around  100-150 words instead of the 250 you would have had if you applied for September 2014 admission.

Altering The Motivation Essays

1. Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS: If you have written this essay already and are happy with it, chances are pretty good that you don’t need to alter it.

THE BAD NEWS:  No bad news here!

2. Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS:  You might be able to repurpose your professional accomplishment and failure stories as long as you can relate these stories to your impact on others and what you learned.

THE BAD NEWS: Instead of having 400 words for your failure essay, you now have around 200 words.  The need to factor in “How did these experiences impact your relationships with others?” might require you to change topics.

3. Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS:   The January 2015 version is a much more open-ended question than the September 2014 version and you get 50 more words. It is at least theoretically possible that if you wrote 5a for 2014 (culture shock), you might be able to convert into this essay.  If you are applying to IMD (links to my essay analysis)  as well, it is possible that there will be overlap between INSEAD 3 and IMD 3.

THE BAD NEWS: If you wrote 5b (advice for a foreigner), you probably will not be able to use it here and need a new topic.  Many topics for 5a will also not work well either.

4. Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS: It is entirely possible that you can repurpose your September 2014 non-professional achievement from Essay 2 here.

THE BAD NEWS: This is a new essay and you need to cover multiple topics.

5. Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (300 words max.) 

THE GOOD NEWS:  For most applicants,  chances are high that they can use what they had already written for September 2014.

THE BAD NEWS: September 2014 applicants get 350 words to answer this question, while January 2015 applicants only get 300. Reapplicants will need to write on reapplication here because there is no longer a reapplication essay.

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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