MIM Admit Viewpoints: Andrei Dogaru
Tell us about yourself Andrei, where are you from and where did you previously study?
Hello! My name is Andrei and I’m Romanian, born in Bucharest. After attending an international school, I moved to the UK and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Warwick, majoring in Economics. After graduation I decided to take a gap year and had planned to gain more work experience and to do some travelling.
As you can probably imagine, given the current situation only the first part of my plan worked out: I worked for six months in Deloitte’s Bucharest office as a management consultant in the energy industry, and I am now using my time for online language courses (learning French and brushing up my German) and volunteering for an NGO which helps teachers carry out their activities online given the current closure of schools.
I am also able to finally practice playing the piano as much as I want to! As for my lost travel plans, I hope that the highly international environment at INSEAD and the global mobility the programme offers will make up for this.
What kind of career are you headed for?
I am looking forward to learning from my colleagues and working with the careers team at INSEAD!
My plan is to pursue a career in management or strategy consulting. I’m interested in how businesses grow and evolve, how they make an impact in their market and how they approach and solve the challenges they face along the way, and a career in consulting will give me exposure to various industries and types of businesses.
It is also a very dynamic job, which is something I value. I am determined to have an international career and to work in several different countries, but eventually I would like to come back to my home country to start my own business.
However, during the MIM programme I want to keep an open mind to new industries/jobs I may not have previously considered.
What made you choose INSEAD?
I’d say there are three main reasons why I chose a MIM at INSEAD.
First of all, I think it’s really exciting to be part of the first intake!
Second of all, the fact that part of the programme takes place in the Singapore campus is a really big advantage in my view, because not only do we get exposure to the business environment of one of Asia’s most powerful economies, but we also gain a new and highly valuable cultural experience.
Last, but definitely not least: the incredible alumni network. All alumni will tell you that
what makes INSEAD an unforgettable experience are the people, and having already met some of my future classmates (either virtually or in person), I can confirm that this is certainly the case!
All of the alumni I spoke with have a group of friends from INSEAD with whom they kept in close contact over the years!
Share your admission journey with us! Where did it start? Did you attend any events online or onsite?
Back when I started looking for master’s programmes in my last year of university, INSEAD had not yet announced the launch of the MIM programme. I admit I was a bit disappointed at the time because I knew INSEAD was such an amazing business school, so you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that I now had a chance to join it, and that my decision to do a gap year turned out to have another unforeseen benefit! I read the info on the school’s website and opened an application.
I also attended INSEAD’s first MIM in-house event back in November last year, which was an incredible experience in itself: we got a taste of what it would be like to be taught by INSEAD’s world-class professors in a Masterclass on game theory, toured the campus and spoke to students and staff.
I cannot recommend enough attending one of these events either online or onsite if you can, because this way you can understand whether INSEAD is a good fit for you and it’s the best chance to have your questions answered!
Also, if you get a chance, Fontainebleau is very quaint, and the Chateau is beautiful, very similar to those of the Loire Valley, and is definitely worth a visit!
Did you meet or speak with Alumni?
I was lucky to already know an alumnus with whom I got in touch and discussed about what it means to be part of the INSEAD community.
I strongly recommend finding alumni and getting in touch with them, because together with the INSEAD recruitment team they are your most valuable sources of information.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any alumni in your network, getting in touch with them can be as simple as sending a few polite messages on LinkedIn or reaching out to your local INSEAD Alumni Association!
How long did it take you to write your essays?
By the time I wrote my application I already had a bit of experience with job and other applications, so it took me about a week to finalise the essays and have some friends and family read them over.
What I felt was different about INSEAD’s essays is that they are relatively short in terms of the word count, which really pushes you to be selective about the information you include and to be as concise as possible.
I often find that it is more difficult to write short essays than long ones! But if you were to ask me: “How long should I spend on my essays?” I’d probably tell you what my high school history teacher used to tell us whenever we asked how long our essays should be, and I think the principle applies well in this case: “How long is a piece of string? Well, as long as you need it to be!”
So unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it) there is no set amount of time you should spend on your essays. Obviously, this shouldn’t affect the timeline you had planned for the application process, but the time taken by successful applicants to write essays varies widely, as it should in my opinion!
Was it easy for you to find information and the support you needed along the way?
Yes, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be! In the early stages of the application process I got in touch with Nancy Piacentini from INSEAD’s recruitment team: She deserves a massive shout out because she answered all of my questions in a very honest and straightforward manner and shared some really valuable advice which gave me the confidence to not rush the submission of my application and to take my time until I felt I was 100% ready.
Really, all you have to do is ask, and I strongly recommend that as a prospective applicant you get in touch with the recruitment team from whichever business school you apply to – this experience in itself can tell you a lot about the school the support INSEAD offered throughout the application process was exceptional!
Any tips for future MIM candidates?
I think the biggest tip I can give future MIM candidates is that throughout the application process you should have a very clear answer in your mind to the question: “Why should we take you?”
Not necessarily because you would be asked this directly (I don’t know if you would), but because the answer to this question should really be obvious to the Admissions Committee when they consider your application as a whole.
What I mean is that if you manage to clarify this for yourself – and it is not an easy process at all because it requires a fair amount of introspection on your part – then it will be much easier to convey your story in your essays and subsequent interviews and to really show the Admissions Committee what makes you who you are. So, if you write your essays with this question in the back of your mind, I think it will make it easier for you to gather your thoughts and to effectively sharpen up your writing.
What was the Kira video interview like?
After submitting your online application form, you will be invited to do a video interview. It’s not long – you are only asked five questions which are randomly selected from a list of possible questions. You have 45 seconds to think of an answer (during which you are not recorded) and one minute to answer.
It is very important to take at least a couple of days to practice recording yourself with your laptop webcam or smartphone and to time yourself so that you do not exceed one minute, because in the real interview you can be cut off mid-sentence. As with any interview, eye contact is important so do look into the camera when speaking, and don’t forget to smile!
As for the questions themselves, I think that they are designed to make you think on your feet, but they really do give you a chance to shine!
Again, I think that having a clear answer in your mind to the question “Why should we take you”, by recalling some situations where you think you really showcased your skills/aptitudes for instance will be really helpful.
What do you think makes a successful candidate?
This question must be on the mind of any prospective applicant, but frankly I think it’s the wrong question to be asking yourself, because
there is no secret recipe for success! And I actually don’t think that there should be one because otherwise all the admitted students would be very similar, and we wouldn’t be able to learn from each other, discover different approaches and ways of thinking, and ultimately learn more about ourselves in the process.
This diversity is what I hope will make the MIM programme truly special. I do believe, however, that there are some traits we all share: an international, cosmopolitan outlook and an innate curiosity, driven by an ambition to make a positive impact. But beyond this, I think the possibilities are endless.
So, like I said, I don’t think the right question to ask yourself is what makes a successful candidate, because you risk losing sight of what truly matters: you!
What makes you unique? What’s your story?
A successful candidate is one who is able to showcase their unique strengths, who is aware of their weaknesses and is actively working on them, and who can demonstrate that they have a clear idea of what they want to achieve by joining the INSEAD MIM.
Did you do an internship in a foreign country or in an interesting field? Great, mention it in your essays or interviews and tell the Admissions Committee what you learned from it! Did you do volunteer work? Fantastic, how did it change your perspective? Do you have stellar academics? Excellent, how will this help you navigate new courses taught in the MIM programme?
You are not expected to have it all: perhaps some modules that gave you a headache in your last year of university drove your average down, but you may have been involved in the university debating club and won competitions, which can be just as valuable!
I feel that no one thing by itself is enough to “get you in”, and it is more important to be well-rounded.
What are you looking most forward to?
Without a doubt I am most looking forward to meeting and working with my future classmates, learning from world-class professors.