How I Got Into INSEAD With a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama

Tiffany Tang

If you are a graduate or current student in a non-business major like liberal arts, in my case for example, you might also be the only one in your department to be looking at applying for a Master in Management (MIM).

This fact only affected me once I realised that a large number of candidates to MIM programmes actually come from business backgrounds, or at least with business-related internships in their pocket.

There is no need, however, to panic about being different.

In this article I would like to share some of the steps I took on my way to applying for, and being admitted to the MIM programme at INSEAD. I hope it will make you feel less lonely and get your confidence back. 

I first had the idea of applying for a MIM when I went on a campus exchange in London. I took a marketing practice class and really enjoyed all the knowledge sharing and team projects throughout the year.

More importantly, I got a glimpse into what attending a business school would look and feel like for the first time, given that all the departments in my home university were arts-related. After the exchange, I made up my mind to switch my majors from arts to business, but decided to postpone my MIM application goal and start a full-time job in business instead.

Why is that, you may ask? Well, it took a bit of time to go through the websites of several MIM programmes that first came up on my Google searches. I then found out that I was not even sure if the degree would be something I could be interested in, as I had no idea which part of business I was looking to explore.

I eventually landed on a “rotational programme” in the banking industry that allowed me to work on projects in several functions and most importantly, to explore where my passion lies in a short period of time.

The decision to pursue work first actually ended up influencing my application later on, because it really helped me realise why I needed this degree and how I could achieve it.

If you have started your application journey, you may realise that there are several questions you must answer, for instance:

  • Why MIM now?
  • Why this specific programme?
  • What’s your career goal?

These are the questions I wasn’t able to answer back in senior year, but after working for a year, it became crystal clear.

Why MIM now?

I had been working on small and large-scale projects absorbing all the new knowledge in banking, and it didn’t take long for me to realise there are skill sets that I actually needed in the workplace, such as accounting and data analysis.

The best way to sharpen these business skills, in my opinion, was to pursue a degree in management, which would only take a year to complete and would have a structured teaching system.

Why this specific programme?

After attending webinars and researching, I was captivated by the diversity in the school. It’s already exciting imagining what the class will look like with such diversified people coming from different backgrounds.

Not to mention another selling point of this programme: the privilege to study in both Fontainebleau and Singapore with opportunities to visit and work in other countries.

These two reasons combined just make INSEAD’s MIM programme irresistible.

What’s your career goal?

Since my first job was a rotational programme, I was able to work on a new task or project almost every month and was constantly motivated by this work style. I realised that I am most driven when there are new challenges and steep learning curves. Thus, my post-MIM attempts will likely be strategy-related positions in industry and opportunities in consulting.

Answering these questions is not only useful for essays and interviews, it’s an inevitable process every candidate goes through.

Even when you are from an unrelated major, you are still able to find a way towards a Master in Management. Actually, a non-traditional background could become your selling point to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

I am sure those who are reading this article all have unique stories to tell, and INSEAD is a place that gathers people with their distinctive stories. Therefore, please be confident about the path you walked and skill sets gained through your undergraduate journey.


Read Tiffany's testimonial here