INSEAD’s Executive MBA programme is intensive, rigorous and challenging. To ensure that we bring the best talent to the class, applicants must either take the INSEAD Assessment, the GMAC Executive Assessment (EA) or the GMAT – all of which provide a uniform and standardised way of evaluating candidates’ aptitude to cope with the intensity and breadth of the programme.

If you decide to do the EA, you will need to provide us with your EA score as part of your EMBA application. Taking the test is easy: simply register on the EA website and schedule a suitable test date in a centre near you. The test takes 90 minutes, is conducted in English and covers integrated reasoning, verbal and quantitative reasoning. Similar to the INSEAD Assessment and the GMAT, you will need to invest some time and effort to prepare for the EA in order to achieve a competitive score.

We spoke to Guilherme Rios and Laura Whitton (both GEMBA’19), and Shane Grovue (TIEMBA’20), who all decided to opt for the EA, to learn more about their experience and get tips on how to prepare.

Why did you decide to do the Executive Assessment?

Guilherme: Since the EA is designed for executives and requires less preparation than the GMAT, it suited me really well. Although I’m currently based in Singapore and could have also done the INSEAD Assessment on-campus, I felt it was more time-efficient to do the EA since I could simply schedule the test on a weekday morning and be done within 90 minutes.

Laura: I had previously attempted the GMAT, and although I had achieved an overall competitive score, I still needed to improve my quantitative percentile. Instead of taking the GMAT again, I decided to do the EA instead. While the style of questions is similar, the EA does not include geometry, which is not needed for the Executive MBA curriculum.

Shane: Since I am based in Canada, it wasn’t practical for me at the time to fly to an INSEAD campus for the INSEAD Assessment. Initially I had intended to do the GMAT, having taken a GMAT prep course one year prior. I ended up having a very tight application timeframe, so when I discovered the EA, which doesn’t have the essay portion and requires less preparation overall, I decided it would be a good choice.

How did you prepare for the test?

Guilherme: Part of my work is to constantly upgrade my skills and regularly obtain certifications, so I was quite used to the concept of preparing for all kinds of different exams and tests. I spent about 20 hours in total for preparation, studying mostly in the evenings or during the many flights I take for work.

The official EA test preparation set was very helpful to familiarise myself with the questions. I had also looked at specific EA courses at prep centres locally but felt they were too expensive and not worthwhile.

Laura: From my GMAT experience, I knew that I could ace the verbal section without further practice, so I focused only on the quantitative section. Like Guilherme, I purchased the EA question bank that you can access after registering, and also perused a lot of online tutorials that you can easily find for free on the net. It’s basically eighth-grade maths, so it isn’t rocket science, but if you haven’t done this sort of thing since high school you obviously need to invest some time to brush up.

I was on maternity leave during my test preparation, and would study in the evenings or when my baby napped. In total, I invested probably about 50 hours, because I did not want to end up having to take the test twice.

Shane: I used a lot of GMAT materials to prepare, leaving out the geometry section which is not needed for the EA. I also used the EA question banks but these can be used up quite quickly. I would highly recommend the official GMAC Prep software, which allows you to experience the same test platform as the EA. Although it is geared to the GMAT, you can create custom practice tests that match the EA structure.

I had about two weeks to prepare, during which I dedicated a total of about 30-40 hours for preparation, studying at the weekends and even taking time off from work to focus on the test. As it turns out, this preparation brought me well above the required score, but it had always been my dream to study at INSEAD so I wanted to make sure I gave it my best shot.

What advice would you share with a friend who is also considering the Executive Assessment?

Guilherme: Familiarise yourself with the type of questions and get used to the strict time management required for the test.

Laura: The EA question bank is quite representative of what you will get in the actual test, so I would recommend to use these for your practice.

Shane: There is currently no EA test prep software available that gives you a sense of the actual scores and environment, so my advice is to use the official GMAT test prep tool to gauge your speed and performance, after you complete the EA question banks to work on any weaknesses.


If you would like to discuss the different assessment options, required scores or your personal profile in more detail, please get in touch with us.

If you would like to discuss your profile and GEMBA application in more detail, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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