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How does INSEAD stack up against Harvard? I know it's very prestigious, but is it really
Comparable with Harvard or Stanford? What about exit oops? I'd love any information on insead's reputation and any pros and cons between INSEAD and Harvard.

Comments (15)

  • Quarterlife's picture

    Hmm you should do more research. Personally I thhink H and S are in a league of their own. INSEAD is still a solid school, very great placement into consulting and has an international focus that I adore, but it's just NOT Harvard/Stanford!

    My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

  • mongoose's picture

    I don't know anything about this to be honest, but as a layman I would say H/S if you want to work in the US and INSEAD if you want to work in Europe. I would say INSEAD is the best B-School in Europe based on layman's prestige.

    I think their Singapore campus plays into INSEAD's advantage as well. Plus, how about finish your MBA in 10 months (half the time in Paris, half in Singapore) instead of 2 years.

    I am still in college but INSEAD is definitely my dream B-School.

    I don't think I helped.

  • ST Monkey's picture

    If you want to work in Europe or Asia, INSEAD would likely be beneficial for you. Their alumni network is not so strong here in states, but it's all over Asia and Europe. INSEAD is really for people that are looking to improve their current career and excel further, not a school to get an opportunity to do a career change. If you are in BO or something and looking to get your ass in a FO role, H & S would be the place.

    INSEAD will also not admit you if you don't know how its program will further your career path. From what my colleague told me, INSEAD will make you pick your concentration and stick to it right at the get go.

  • In reply to ST Monkey
    seabird's picture

    ST Monkey wrote:
    If you are in BO or something and looking to get your ass in a FO role, H & S would be the place.

    Lol, soooooo...... harvard/stanford taking many accountants/compliance/I.T. guys these days?

    “...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

    - Schopenhauer

  • In reply to whatwhatwhat
    bfin's picture

    whatwhatwhat wrote:
    HBS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE INSEAD WILL MAKE YOU POOR

    Brady? new username?

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • seabird's picture

    Wouldnt making you poor be a change, assuming youre being "made poor," and that youre not already poor? Just saying.

    “...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

    - Schopenhauer

  • seabird's picture

    Double posting up in here.

    “...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

    - Schopenhauer

  • jtbbdxbnycmad's picture

    Yeah, I want to echo what is being said. I have spent a lot of time in both US and Europe and feel comfortable speaking about this. Let's assess this in terms of geographic reputation, industry reputation, and culture/vibe/student quality.

    GEOGRAPHIC REPUTATION

    In the US, there is a sort of "Harvard or Stanford" mentality.

    In Europe, it's "INSEAD or Harvard".

    I know it may be difficult for someone coming from the US to imagine that's the case, but that is how most people in Europe think. They're absolutely considered the two big frontrunners.

    They are both very well regarded in Asia. HBS probably gets the brand equity edge because the parent institution "Harvard" is much more known.

    INDUSTRY REPUTATION

    They are both massive consulting feeders. INSEAD's nickname is McKInsead, and probably 1/6 people on campus at HBS either previously worked at McKinsey or will be headed there. Both have a large intake of sponsored MBB students and both put career-switching into MBB on a silver platter.

    HBS is better for IB and Hedge Funds/Investment Management, globally, including Europe.

    INSEAD is very strong in European PE, and HBS is strong in PE everywhere.

    They are both obviously top schools for general management.

    STUDENT VIBE/CULTURE ETC

    A number of similarities and differences. The biggest similarities are that they are both "party schools", emphasize LEADERSHIP, and are not all that fussed about the GMAT (neither feel the need to "climb the rankings" because they're already at the top, and are quite willing to just check the box with the GMAT without really sweating over a 670 vs a 710 or a 750). They are both highly social atmospheres where a bunch of ultra competitive people try to get along as best as they can, and they live in a bubble from their surroundings. HBS students do some international travel, but INSEAD is structured to give you at least half a dozen chances to take proper long trips around the world.

    One of the key differences I've seen is a cultural one of formality vs informality. HBS, as with most East Coast institutions, has a distinctly more crisp and formal feel to it, and in general, as with most East Coast Americans, they take themselves more seriously than Western Europeans do. I doubt you'd ever find anything even resembling the "Portrait Project" at INSEAD, and the administration probably dresses less formally and is more approachable/casual. No one in Europe feels the need to prove antiquity and continuity of tradition, whereas East Coast Americans are constantly blathering on about their personal and institutional heritage. If you aren't internationally versed, it will be hard for you to understand this, but there are clear differences across the pond and one of them is how seriously people take themselves. INSEAD alumni drop the suits pretty quickly. HBS is almost an in utero education for the C-Suite, Boardroom and elite invitation-only Club world.

    One of the others has to do with the way in which these institutions are selective. HBS is extraordinarily selective, and its primary emphases are probably LEADERSHIP and GPA. The Harvard name draws a lot of applicants and the Admissions Office does its best to propagate the mythos that "anyone can get in." INSEAD, on the other hand, approaches selectivity very differently. In lieu of leadership and GPA, INSEAD focuses most strongly on INTERNATIONAL and CAREER PROGRESS. For the "international" they are very up front about it: "if you don't speak two languages fluently (including English) and aren't willing to learn a third, DON'T BOTHER." They aren't seeking revenue from 1,000 or 2,000 extra candidates who have no shot, and they are really clear about this point. The second is that they really want to see promotions on your resume - preferably plural. Business schools are a fairly risk averse business, and HBS seeks to reduce its risk through your brands and your academic performance, while INSEAD seeks to reduce its risk through your proven professional track record.

    The other is what career track they want you to take as General Management schools. I think HBS loves the idea of you becoming a leading authority at a large, hopefully global institution. They want you to rock the institutionalized track. Conversely, it is rumored that they aren't all that excited about entrepreneurship. INSEAD has a huge soft spot for the entrepreneurial gene.

    MONEY

    This shouldn't be much of a concern. Making billions upon millions is up to you: both will set you up nicely for an upper middle class job straight out of business school. Cost of attendance isn't much of an issue either - HBS will provide funding for anyone they deem fit for the program (an amazing feature), and INSEAD automatically takes the lead in "opportunity cost" because it's a one year program that lets you get earning more quickly.

    I hope this helps.

    DISCLAIMER and CONCLUSIONS: admitted at INSEAD, didn't apply to HBS, and I think I'll be attending another school. I don't think you can go wrong with either, as they represent the very top of the business school hierarchy. I've met plenty of alumni from both who said "I only applied to 1/2/3 schools" and "I chose X over the other". I personally think HBS is probably the more "complete" of the two and gives you more bragging rights at cocktail parties. INSEAD nevertheless plugs you into an international elite quite quickly, which isn't a bad bet in the 21st century. Think about what matters to you.

  • Esuric's picture

    “Elections are a futures market for stolen property”