INSEAD MBA - Worth it for IB?

I am an engineer and am committed to break into the Investment Banking field post my MBA. Most of my experience has been in project management, detailed design engineering and in client management. The school that is of note here is INSEAD. Upon checking the employment stats, it really stands out that INSEAD is a consulting school, all in all. As it is a one year program, it is common to see people who are already working with great consulting brands, to come get the MBA and join the same firm post MBA. That is one trend with INSEAD.

However, considering a career switch for somebody like myself and that too to Banking, which is apparently not the strong suit of INSEAD, I am having double thoughts. How does the #1 ranking of the school and the network come into play here. Would it be an unwise call to attend the school and still hope to make the switch happen in a one year program? Btw, I am aiming to go for the January intake, which means that there will be a possibility of an internship.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Best Response

Where do you want to work? If US, without a doubt, go to a top US school. If London, since you come from a non-traditional background, I would prioritize LBS over INSEAD. If you had come from a relevant finance background, I would same either works. However, I would say the main advantage of LBS over INSEAD for IB is the number of boutiques that recruit on campus; for BBs same success rates.

If LBS is not on the table, Jan intake is the right step as close to 100% of folks who get into IB come from the Jan class given that they have the option to intern during the school period and start 6 months post grad. For Jul class, you intern after graduation and start FT 1 year after grad, (or if there is a need, 6 months after)

You will be sent prep materials and given guidance - podcasts, office visits, info sessions, career advice etc - a few months before you start in January, so as you start school (few weeks after) you begin interviewing. TBH, there was not too much interest in IB and a lot of people do not apply, so in that regard there is much less competition.

Elite Boutiques such as PJT (+others) will only interview those with strong finance backgrounds (and only from INSEAD and LBS) and Banks like Credit Suisse, DB, and JPM will take few or no IB associates (across board in Europe not an INSEAD thing) so your best bet will be Citi, BAML, GS and MS whom hire sizeable numbers (and from non traditional backgrounds) most especially MS and Citi. A few of the smaller boutiques will take 1 or 2 people each year but only those with finance backgrounds. Shoot if you have further questions


One question I do have is that how do the IB offers in the USA compare to the IB offers in the emerging markets? I would love to work in IB in emerging markets but how big is the pay cut? Are you able to comment on the deal experience and regulations differences as well?

Also, to be able to break into PE from my background, with INSEAD, would it be significantly more difficult? I am already going through the technical material at this point to give myself some time to soak in the concepts. Is there anything else that you would suggest that I do at this point?

Thanks a ton!


Pay difference - depends on which emerging market. In US, Ass1 all in is somewhere around 250k. Asia number difference is negligible and could be higher post tax. Dubai similar to US (but lower bonuses). Latin America is about half US numbers but with lower taxes. SSA is about 40/50% of US numbers. London is about 20% less and continental Europe is about 40% less. All these numbers assume BBs and/or international firms known for hiring MBAs

Deal experience - quite frankly you would almost always get the best experience in the US as far as deal complexity, size and quantity. However, if you want deal exposure to a certain region go work in that region. Ideally you want to be in the financial hub of these regions - NY, London, Tokyo, Sydney, Dubai, Joburgh. Not quite sure I understand what you are asking wrt regulation nor its importance (don't sweat irrelevant stuff)

For Emerging market and European PE, I would argue that INSEAD is actually a strong number 2 if not a tie with HBS. As with US, it is still super competitive and doubt you will be able to break into PE post INSEAD. Those who got PE offers either did PE, MBB, IB pre MBA. A few outside these backgrounds got operations in PE fund or VC roles. The latter is doable but you need to have a really strong connection to country you apply to, network like crazy and know chances are extremely low. If I were you, I would focus my energy on getting a BB internship. Post offer, network for VC roles and tiny PE funds in the country you worked in or you are from. IMO BB IB is much higher value proposition for a potential switch to respected PE fund a few years down the line

Hope this helped.

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