How I Scored Well on GMAT and Why I Only Applied to INSEAD

Drew Copuyoc

But first, let me introduce myself and my background (since this my first blog).

Kumusta kaibigan? Ça va mon amie? I'm Drew Copuyoc. I was born in the Philippines. Unlike a lot of my 19D classmates, I grew up and spent most of my career in my home country. I have been doing brand management for almost seven years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my work as a brand manager of multiple brands at Unilever and Sanofi.

But like a lot of you, I realised that it was time to pivot my career and life.

Note: Like with most digital ads nowadays, I'll make this brief and limit to just the most important messages BUT I'll be authentic and true to my own experience.

1. Yes. I did score a 700+ on GMAT. How? Don't forget about VERBAL and acclimate yourself to TIME PRESSURE.

The two things that helped me the most were (1) focusing on improving my weakness which was VERBAL and (2) practicing using an online programme that helped me adjust to the TIME PRESSURE component.

I would really suggest that you take the time to practice VERBAL and to try to find patterns on GMAT questions. It is as important as QUANT, because it can really propel you to the 700+ score. When you're practicing, try to get into the habit of reading out loud but in your head. Make mental notes of what sounded right and validate with what the actually correct answers are.

Try to get access to online tests that have the same time pressure and algorithms as GMAT tests. This will help you keep your composure and not be distracted by the timer during your actual tests.

Photo of the timeless Arbre Sec House

2. Yes. I only applied to INSEAD. That's mainly because I already had an ideal picture of success. I knew where I wanted to be (Asia) and what I wanted to do (Consulting/Tech). INSEAD was the perfect match.

After reading about the top five B-schools in the US and looking at the top two B-schools internationally, I decided to take a step back and introspect. I made a personal decision that after MBA, I wanted to be based in Asia because I wanted to be close to my family and partner.

Among all B-schools, I believe INSEAD has the most widespread and prolific alumni network in Asia. Not to mention, INSEAD has a really strong presence and brand value in regional hubs within Asia. Unlike the top US B-schools, only INSEAD has a physical campus here in Singapore that's been around for almost two decades.

I also evaluated my potential career options after MBA. Initially, I thought about shifting to the finance industry either investment banking or private equity. But after much research and multiple chats with mentors, I realised that my strengths and goals were more fit to a shift to consulting or tech.

It's a well-known fact that globally, INSEAD is one of the most successful MBA programmes in preparing future consultants (and even future CEOs). In the latest employment survey, almost one out of every two INSEAD graduates end up in a consulting role. Also, a significant number of tech companies (such as Amazon, Google, Facebook etc.) have started to recruit more INSEAD graduates.

3. There are a lot of other compelling reasons to go to INSEAD, which I have come to realise and appreciate through time.

These honorable mentions include the one-year duration, two-campus experience and the diversity of the class. More on these on my next post.

But for now, let me end with this photo I took just this afternoon. It's a beautiful French house, still under construction, a work-in-progress. Same as my ideal picture of success. I'll let you know how it ends up. Hanggang sa muli. A bientot.

Photo of construction site near campus