INSEAD ranking - Where would you place INSEAD????

richmonkeyman5's picture
Rank: Chimp | 11

Where would you rank INSEAD????

Everyone, my question is regarding INSEAD and both its relative prestige and ranking. I'm currently deciding among Tuck, INSEAD and Booth. All three are great programs, but each is suited for different paths. Tuck is Ivy, but small and domestic. Booth is nerdy, fantastic academically, and has global prestige but is viewed as boring. INSEAD has that "it"/fascinating class factor and it has a fair share of prestige in consulting and in Europe in general.

However, there is no real agreement as to where INSEAD stands among the top b-schools. Yes, it's excellent (if not tops) for consulting, even if you account for all of the sponsored folks. Yes, the GMAT average is a bit lower, but then again there is a language requirement and if you account for the international nature of the class, the difference is likely due to language, not intelligence. Also, LBS has a lower GMAT and generally considered a top school.

But where does INSEAD really and "legitimately" rank? The Financial Times lists INSEAD as #5 in the world, but it also has IESE at #7 and this throws off the entire legitimacy of the ranking. IESE, a fine school though it may be, is no where even remotely close in prestige to Sloan, Booth, Haas, Kellogg, Stern, Fuqua, Tuck, Darden or INSEAD/LBS for that matter.

Mind you, I know that the vast majority of readers will say that INSEAD's far below the top 10 or top 20, but that's likely a reflection of the American readership. Were this a more European forum, the views might be different. Nonetheless, I trust the judgement of the readers here and just want to hear their voices once and for all. I'm leaning towards INSEAD, but if it's getting lumped in the IESE, IE, "school-of-propped-up-economy" list, then I would have to re-consider. In my opinion, it never was in the list and always top 10 and near Wharton-level, but I just want to get more thoughts.

Comments (24)

May 11, 2014

It sounds like you are looking for justification to go to INSEAD. If it's what your heart is telling you, that matters a lot in this world.

However, feel free to PM me for details. I'm a European who was choosing between INSEAD and Booth. And I chose Booth.

May 11, 2014

Choose the school where you want to work after...it will be much easier to work in the US coming from an American school and much easier to work in Europe coming from INSEAD.

May 11, 2014

this
INSEAD is a great school regardless of where it falls in the rankings, but i think that if you really want to work in the usa, it makes very little sense to attend a school not in the usa (barring oxbridge)

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

May 11, 2014

UChicago is an overall top10 university globally and Booth is an M7 b-school with 100+ year history. Easy choice for me.

INSEAD is a 'best of the rest' 10 month program founded in the 60s that places well in EU consulting.

May 13, 2014

it's cool how you go from Booth being an "m-7 b-school" to insead being a "program" in one short breath. i'm just looking for a little objectivity here. the 100+ years of history are neither here nor there. As an American, I guess I kinda like new innovative stuff. though tradition and longevity are exquisite talking points in a business school campus tour, they're not primary factors in my decisions about future career strategy. Respectfully, maybe if I were from another part of the world (india, china, even europe, etc.), they would.

by the way, insead also places exceptionally well in Asia-based consulting and finance.

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May 11, 2014

INSEAD is top 10 school for US and #1 or #2 school for the rest of the world.

May 13, 2014

Thanks for the comments. I was veering towards INSEAD, but I was still trying to remain objective about the facts. That INSEAD is a top-10 program in the world is fairly well accepted and was recently affirmed by a friend studying at HBS. I'm still undecided and leaning towards Tuck or INSEAD. Booth is an amazing program, but its culture (or at least perceived culture) is probably a no-go for me.

May 13, 2014

INSEAD will hurt you if you want to get that first job in the US in comparison to Booth or Tuck. But if you are open to working in Europe or Asia. You would be in a great spot.

It is very difficult to compare a program like INSEAD to any US MBA as you very well know that it is so different in so many ways. Just trying to quantify a league table for the business schools and then justifying a top 10 ranking is you making yourself feel better that you are not interested in pursuing a better program like Booth.

And you have legitimate reason that you don't like the environment or Chicago or whatever. The only thing is if you want to in the US, INSEAD is not the place to go.

Best Response
May 13, 2014
richmonkeyman5:

Booth is nerdy, fantastic academically, and has global prestige but is viewed as boring.
Booth is an amazing program, but its culture (or at least perceived culture) is probably a no-go for me.

Wow. Where do I start?

First, I think you need to remember that perceptions vary WIDELY, even among successful business people, alumni, and current students. 600 people pass through Booth each year and they run the complete spectrum of personalities, from nerdy to social butterflies. It is important that you get a very large sample size in order to assess the quality of a program if you're going to rely on opinions. I take it you didn't attend Booth's admit weekend. You'd have quickly seen that Booth shattered its "no-fun" culture years ago.

Second, the MBA is crafted in such a manner that you design your own experience. If you want to be academic to the exclusion of all else, you can certainly fade into the shadow of your 600 classmates only to be seen at class and study groups. You can also choose to be hyper social and attend what is daily or even twice daily social events, taking advantage of Booth's grade non-disclosure and doing the bare minimum to get a B (which is usually about 15 hours a week, including nine hours of class time). People self-select. One's impression of the social aspect of b-school is more a reflection on him or herself rather than the school as a whole. This is true for EVERY top business school. Some examples from the past 10 days:

Two weekends ago, more than 100 Booth students rented RVs and drove to the Kentucky Derby for the weekend. They partied all weekend, grilled food, played games, watched and bet on the horse races, etc. Despite this being one of the most "American" experiences during the MBA program, there were tons of internationals South America and Europe.

On Thursday, Booth held its weekly TNDC (Thursday Night Drinking Club). Essentially, this is an unofficial club where a few students reserve an entire bar each week and hundreds of students always show up. It happens every week, even during finals.

On Friday, Booth students performed the annual Follies, a three hour set of skits that poke fun at b-school life. Before the event, students attended the weekly Liquidity Preference Function where they had free food and drinks. More than one hundred students participated in Follies and hundreds of people attended LPF and Follies.

On Saturday, the Jewish Business Student Association reserved the roofdeck of a bar and held an afternoon party to celebrate Israel's Independence Day. More than 125 people attended.

On Sunday, the Armed Forces Group (military vets from all countries) organized a full-day outdoor paintball match. I don't have a final count but more than 100 attendees I believe.

Meanwhile, many people were out of town as a large group of second years had organized a weekend trip to Miami to hang out and have fun.

I'm not even cherry-picking dates or events here. This is literally what went on in the last week and doesn't include any of the athletic events, house parties, trips, and other things that people do on a weekly basis. The number of opportunities to partake in social events at Booth exceed the amount of time you have in your schedule. I'm assuming that the same holds true for other top MBA programs, but you're way off base if you think Booth kids lock themselves in their rooms all day and study.

    • 6
May 13, 2014
CompBanker:
richmonkeyman5:

Booth is nerdy, fantastic academically, and has global prestige but is viewed as boring.

Booth is an amazing program, but its culture (or at least perceived culture) is probably a no-go for me.

Wow. Where do I start?

First, I think you need to remember that perceptions vary WIDELY, even among successful business people, alumni, and current students. 600 people pass through Booth each year and they run the complete spectrum of personalities, from nerdy to social butterflies. It is important that you get a very large sample size in order to assess the quality of a program if you're going to rely on opinions. I take it you didn't attend Booth's admit weekend. You'd have quickly seen that Booth shattered its "no-fun" culture years ago.

Second, the MBA is crafted in such a manner that you design your own experience. If you want to be academic to the exclusion of all else, you can certainly fade into the shadow of your 600 classmates only to be seen at class and study groups. You can also choose to be hyper social and attend what is daily or even twice daily social events, taking advantage of Booth's grade non-disclosure and doing the bare minimum to get a B (which is usually about 15 hours a week, including nine hours of class time). People self-select. One's impression of the social aspect of b-school is more a reflection on him or herself rather than the school as a whole. This is true for EVERY top business school. Some examples from the past 10 days:

Two weekends ago, more than 100 Booth students rented RVs and drove to the Kentucky Derby for the weekend. They partied all weekend, grilled food, played games, watched and bet on the horse races, etc. Despite this being one of the most "American" experiences during the MBA program, there were tons of internationals South America and Europe.

On Thursday, Booth held its weekly TNDC (Thursday Night Drinking Club). Essentially, this is an unofficial club where a few students reserve an entire bar each week and hundreds of students always show up. It happens every week, even during finals.

On Friday, Booth students performed the annual Follies, a three hour set of skits that poke fun at b-school life. Before the event, students attended the weekly Liquidity Preference Function where they had free food and drinks. More than one hundred students participated in Follies and hundreds of people attended LPF and Follies.

On Saturday, the Jewish Business Student Association reserved the roofdeck of a bar and held an afternoon party to celebrate Israel's Independence Day. More than 125 people attended.

On Sunday, the Armed Forces Group (military vets from all countries) organized a full-day outdoor paintball match. I don't have a final count but more than 100 attendees I believe.

Meanwhile, many people were out of town as a large group of second years had organized a weekend trip to Miami to hang out and have fun.

I'm not even cherry-picking dates or events here. This is literally what went on in the last week and doesn't include any of the athletic events, house parties, trips, and other things that people do on a weekly basis. The number of opportunities to partake in social events at Booth exceed the amount of time you have in your schedule. I'm assuming that the same holds true for other top MBA programs, but you're way off base if you think Booth kids lock themselves in their rooms all day and study.

Welp, you just added Booth to my list. Awesome.

May 13, 2014

@CompBanker Thank you. I legitimately wonder if people that somehow got into these programs even did ten minutes of research on the places they spent hours doing applications for, and might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on in tuition.

I will echo CompBanker's specific Booth sentiment based on my experience visiting and spending time at 6+ b-schools. Top ten business schols have WAY too much overlap in applicants to be that different. I'm sure that the vast majority of people that apply to Booth, for example, also apply to Kellogg, despite their perceived differences in culture. Sure, there are slight differences (and definitely in terms of program strengths), but in the end, it's pretty damn similar people at both.

Not a single top school is "boring". In fact, I'm relatively confident that not any MBA program is boring anywhere. You take young adults that get a break from work for two years, put them together in a class of 100+ people with ~9 hours of class per week, and they're probably going to have a good time.

Finally, I'm not sure how you can continue to ask your questions without specifying what you want to do or where you want to work. INSEAD, Booth, and Tuck are all pretty different places - I would really think about what you want.

    • 1
May 13, 2014

sorry about stating the obvious, but does a one-year vs two-year program factor in at all?
If you skip the summer internship (I know, INSEAD has the January intake, which allows an 8 week summer break for internships http://mba.insead.edu/invitations/internships.cfm) but I get the sense that we are talking about matriculating in the autumn

Or did I miss something in the conversation above?

@"CompBanker" awesome. I actually will bookmark this post. I would like to send it to some of my prospective candidates
@"BGP2587" I see what you are saying about Kellogg and Booth drawing a similar crowd for regional reasons, but I don't see a LOT of overlap in my small practice. I think there's a philosophical difference between the schools: one is more self-directed (Booth) and the other more touchy-feely (Kellogg). I see more overlap between Booth and Wharton. And Kellogg I see overlap with Tuck a lot. NOTE: these are unscientific observations

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

May 13, 2014

@Betsy Massar I may have gone too far in pointing out the similarity of the schools, because absolutely I do feel that every school is a unique personality and culture (see my post about my school choice, which mostly discussed cultural differences between three schools). I will also certainly trust your unscientific observations, as they're based off far more experience than anyone on this board has.

However, the way I see it, there are just too few top schools for there to be huge distinctions. Most of us, when we start to look at schools, pull up USNews and start creating a list off of that. Maybe you apply to 1-2 of H/S/W, and then 2-3 more behind those (this is exactly what I did, although my process was a bit more scientific than that). Moreover, we haven't even mentioned that our initial pool is people that want to go to business school and have the ability to get into a top school, which is definitely limiting.

In my eyes, if you apply to five top ten schools, it's hard not to apply to at least a couple of schools that are "different". That's not to mention the fact that different people select their schools for different reasons - my list was probably thrown off a bit by my insistence to stay on the east coast. It's possible that instead of applying to CBS as my fifth school, I would have applied to Kellogg, which as you said, has much more of an overlap with my eventual choice of Tuck than Columbia.

Once you throw your applications in, I think it's too hard to know what the outcome will be. It's possible that you get into that one outlier school because that's how things happen sometimes. And thus, someone that applies to GSB, Haas, Kellogg and Booth, because they want to go to a top school without straying a full cross-country trip from their family in Cali, ends up at Booth (the outlier on that list IMO).

Lastly, all my above analysis only refers to those that approach the process analytically, which as posters on WSO and elsewhere show, many do not. I presume that most of your clients, evidenced by the fact that they took the time/money to seek professional advice, approach the process more carefully than many other applicants.

May 13, 2014

@"BGP2587" I am not sure people should be quite so analytical about things, particularly when it comes to rankings. I've got an article coming out in a Poets & Quants magazine on rankings (tomorrow I think it releases), and I do take the view that rankings should not drive peoples' decisions. Of course I am not assuming that they drove your decision, especially considering your excellent posts on culture and fit here and elsewhere on this forum.

Here's a copy of the P&Q article, as posted on my website: http://masteradmissions.com/mba-rankings-take-grai...

OP, I am glad that there's no real answer to the question you posed about where INSEAD shows up on ranking -- it forces you to decide to attend the school on its own merits. I agree that many students use the rankings as a point of departure (as BGP says), and that's absolutely the right place to start. But to use rankings to make your ultimate decision? Hmm. It's a personal decision about your life, and that's where you really want to consider fit.
And whether you want a summer internship :-)

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

May 14, 2014

@Betsy Massar Ah, sorry. I think my communication skills are lacking. A couple clarifications:

1. By "analytical approach", I meant that in the good way. As in, one analyzes all the data available, including rankings, career stats, culture, curriculum, location, etc. to make a decision about where to apply . To me, the "unanalytical approach" is opening up USNews and picking 4 schools in the top ten.

2. The approaches that I outlined in my post were not at all what I would "promote". I think one should do what I listed above, and really dig into as many details as possible to figure out what's best for them. I was just saying that most people don't really do that. They know the rankings, and where they fit into profile wise in those rankings, and then apply to some schools based off of that.

For example, I had a well-qualified (and generally very smart) friend apply this year to four schools: the classic HSW, and then Kellogg. There's nothing too crazy about that on the surface, until you realize that he barely knew anything about Kellog - he'd just heard good things. When he visited for his interview, he really didn't like it - too far outside the city (something his wife, who is moving with him, didn't even know), and a little bit too "soft". Would have made much more sense for him to have applied to Booth. I can mention a number of people off the top of my head that also did something similar to this. Kellogg was the one non-reach for him, and if only got in there, he was still going to go. Fortunately for him and his wife, he got in elsehwere, but I think this is relatively common.

3. Rankings certainly did not drive my decision completely (I picked the lowest ranked school of the three I got into on the P&Q and USNews rankings). However, I'd be lying if I said that rankings weren't a huge part, but I personally think that's more of an indirect result than a direct result. The rankings, as flawed as they can be (and I generally only refer to US News and/or P&Q when I say rankings), certainly do have some merit in terms of opportunities. I'm not going to get into a discussion of what the "tiers" are, but when I was looking at schools, I generally saw a decent drop off in consistency of opportunities below a certain level. For me, I didn't care what a school was ranked if it placed 40 people per year at McKinsey, but it just happened that the best placers were (generally) the best ranked schools.

I hope that clarifies. I tend to be a bit contrarian so I probably went too far in saying that there's a huge amount of overlap in these schools. My only point was that all these schools are fun, social, and busy because generally, business school students of all types embody those traits. For OP, he is looking at three very different schools, as far as b-schools go. Booth is in the heart of Chicago and a finance power (although strong everywhere), Tuck is in the middle of the woods, half the size, and a consulting power, and INSEAD is in Europe and only one year. Plenty of areas to draw distinctions there.

May 14, 2014

@"BGP2587" you were clear -- I was just taking something you said and running with it so I could make my point about rankings. Your stuff is always so well-thought out. I think I am speaking for many readers when I say that you are one of the great value-add posters on this forum.

I appreciate the fact that you admit to using rankings -- we all do! But you made it clear how you incorporated them into your decision. Thank you for that.

OP -- any further thoughts on your q? or did we hijack the thread.?

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

May 14, 2014

@"richmonkeyman5" INSEAD and LBS probably round out global top 12ish after top ~10 US B-schools. But, after HSW, there isn't too much of a difference amongst these schools. Booth and Tuck are only marginally better at best.
Check out the 17 schools (14 US and 3 European) Bain wants to receive resumes from for "connect with bain"

Best thing for you is to see which school is the best platform for your career goals and then as a secondary criterion, personal/cultural fit. These schools are very different and you need to pick whichever one is right for you.
Location is a key consideration. Booth and Tuck will do much better for US recruitment and INSEAD for europe.
The one possible downside of INSEAD is the lack of internship as @"Betsy Massar" said. As you have correctly pointed out, a lot of people at INSEAD are sponsored or at least returning to same industry. So a career switcher would be better off at tuck or booth. But if thats not a concern for you then you need not worry about this.
In the end, if your goals are met at all three, go where you want to rather than where internet forums tell you. Nothing wrong with going to INSEAD over Booth and Tuck.

May 14, 2014

No comment. Just sorry to all the Booth folks for the "boring" comment. I hope all are happy where they've landed.

May 15, 2014

richmonkeyman5, which did you end up picking?

May 15, 2014

Depends on what she/he's doing after the MBA. If it's consulting, I've seen people at MBB join one office after the MBA program and then transfer to one of the US offices. I assume by "move back" you mean she/he is an American and so the move should be even easier.

Even for other career paths, it's not the average Joe that evaluates his/her profile. INSEAD is the best int'l program (it's actually one of my favorite schools if I plan to do an MBA later on) and people who actually matter in the recruiting process should know about the brand.

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

May 15, 2014
Quarterlife:

Depends on what she/he's doing after the MBA. If it's consulting, I've seen people at MBB join one office after the MBA program and then transfer to one of the US offices. I assume by "move back" you mean she/he is an American and so the move should be even easier.

Even for other career paths, it's not the average Joe that evaluates his/her profile. INSEAD is the best int'l program (it's actually one of my favorite schools if I plan to do an MBA later on) and people who actually matter in the recruiting process should know about the brand.

"people who actually matter in the recruiting process"?

not sure how much HR matters dude

May 15, 2014
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May 15, 2014