EMBA Admissions: The Benefits of Applying Early

Pierrette Doz-Perdrix

We have just finished the recruitment cycle for another incoming class of INSEAD Executive MBA participants. The GEMBA Asia and Middle East sections have already kicked off the programme with the first module, and we will welcome the new GEMBA Europe section at the end of October in Fontainebleau.

Meanwhile, the EMBA recruitment team is already busy providing personal consultations to prospective applicants for next year’s intake. With another 10 to 12 months to go until the final admissions deadline, you may feel like there is plenty of time to put together your application.

But time and time again, we witness the many benefits of applying early and indeed it is something I advise all candidates to do.

Here are some reasons why:

Increased chances of admissions

While we have four application rounds for each intake, incoming applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Naturally, more seats are available at the beginning of the process: the more you wait, the more challenging it may get.

Increased chances to secure a scholarship from INSEAD

Scholarship applications follow the admissions process so likewise, there are more funds available early in the year. A late applicant has very little chances to receive a scholarship from INSEAD.

The more you wait, the more challenging it may get.

Sufficient time to define real-time professional challenges

One of the key benefits of the INSEAD EMBA is the ability to apply your coursework directly to the challenges you are facing at work. To have meaningful content for your implementation essays and final project, you will want to take a strategic view to identify in advance the issues you would like to focus on during your time at INSEAD.

Applying early gives you more time to discuss with your management and encourage them to offer support at different levels.

Get organised: planning your work schedule

The INSEAD Executive MBA has fixed module dates that are published a year in advance (subject to minor changes). Participation in all modules is mandatory, so it is crucial that you plan your work schedule in advance, and organise business trips and major meetings accordingly.

While at INSEAD, you will be fully immersed in your studies, so you also have to prepare your team to take on some of your tasks while you are away.

In between modules, you will also need to allow sufficient time for independent study.

Plan your family/personal time

The EMBA requires a significant time commitment that will also impact your family and personal life.

During modules, you will be fully focused on classes, exam preparation and group work. In between modules, you will also need to allow sufficient time for independent study, including pre-reading for the next module, writing implementation essays and reflection papers, your final project and optional peer work-shadowing. This may add up to about 10 to 12 hours of homework a week.

Family time, holidays and other personal events may be affected, so it is important to bring your loved ones on board as early as possible and plan the year ahead together.

Earlier applicants arrive on campus well-prepared, less stressed and thus giving themselves more chances to succeed.


If you are not sponsored by your company, you may need to carefully develop a financing plan. This may involve negotiating loans with banks or other lenders, and communicating with local authorities, HR, tax officers etc., all of which may be time-consuming.

Make the most out of your Executive MBA journey

The INSEAD Executive MBA is a challenging and exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The earlier you apply, the more time you will have to mentally prepare to get back to school, complete your pre-readings and plan the logistics. What’s more, admitted participants and alumni often start getting together even before the programme starts: as an early applicant, you will be able to embark on the EMBA journey as soon as you receive the admissions offer. 

Each year, I see earlier applicants arriving on campus better prepared and less stressed. This allows them more chances to enjoy and succeed in the programme. Why shouldn’t you put all chances on your side?