Executive MBA: A Practical Guide

During a job interview, 95% of your discussion will cover what you have done in the past and as an afterthought, the interviewer might ask you about your plans for the future. With the INSEAD Executive MBA (EMBA), our concerns are quite the opposite.

When you apply to our programme, we not only consider your background, but more importantly, what your plans for the future are once you have completed the programme. We will view your background and experience in terms of getting you past a certain threshold — “Yes, this person seems to have the right experience and exposure. Let’s continue the conversation.” Now, we want to know what you plan to do with your EMBA.

Here’s an exercise you can try. Don’t just think about it, but write it down on paper:

  1. Identify where you are now in your career and then put forward three potential answers to the question: “Where do I see my future and what will I do with it?
  2. For each answer, draw out a plan to achieve each possible pursuit — you’ll likely gravitate towards one which will become the vehicle for your self-reflection.
  3. As you go through this, remove all “ifs”, “ands” and “buts”.
  4. Look at this exercise as a personal documentation of your life story: “I started out as XXX and ended as ZZZ. In order to achieve my goals, I had to take two different positions in-between and spend some time working from headquarters.”
  5. Once you have done that, think about the people who might currently be holding these “in-between” positions and try finding out more about what they do, what their challenges are and what makes them successful.
  6. Now, focus on yourself and determine the gaps in your profile that may need to be addressed to take this next step.
  7. Can an INSEAD EMBA help fulfil those gaps?
“Better understand yourself and the areas in which you’d like to further develop.”

An important thing to take note of is this: the exercise is not about documenting your future career path, but more of a way for you to better understand yourself and the areas in which you’d like to further develop. In removing the elements that are liable to vary or change, you are forced to focus on “you” rather than potential outside influences. Truly understanding why you want to pursue an EMBA, will allow you to convincingly argue these points in your essays, interviews, and negotiations with your employer.

Whether you join the INSEAD EMBA and actually pursue one of these paths, or perhaps focus in a completely different area, you will still need to address the same issues for your development.

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