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Who Is INSEAD Looking For?

INSEAD is looking for experienced executives (average of 13 years work experience and at least 3 years in a management role) who can demonstrate their potential as leaders. When assessing EMBA candidates, our MBA coaches will mostly look at their CVs to carefully review their professional experience and past performance. In other words, other aspects of a typical MBA application such as your extracurricular activities and past academic performance, albeit not irrelevant, are less important. For instance, having an undergraduate degree is preferred and you will need to take an entry test (the GMAC Executive Assessment (EA), GMAT or the INSEAD Assessment).

Another important aspect of your application is your international outlook. INSEAD is best known as “the business school for the world” and prides itself as the world’s most international business school. As a result, they look for applicants with cross-cultural sensitivity and an international outlook. Have lived, worked, or studied abroad or working on an international level with clients, suppliers or other stakeholders is a crucial aspect of one’s application. Similarly, because of the nature of an MBA program, it would be important to display your ability to contribute. The claim of elite business schools, that you learn more from your classmates than from faculty is not a stereotypic marketing vocabular. This works because participants proactively contribute and share the insights they have gained throughout their professional and personal experience.


INSEAD’s Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) is offered in fully integrated campuses across three regions: Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi). Recognized as one of the best EMBA programs in the world, it ranked #2 for Prestige, #2 for Career Advancement (with average salary increase of 46%), #2 for Global Experience (with 88% international students and 93% international faculty) and #3 for Life Balance (with only 51 to 60 days needed away from work over a period of 14 to 17 months, depending on your choice of starting campus, the GEMBA is one of the most efficient routes to a top business degree).

For executives in Asia, there are a few top programs available in the region and INSEAD is definitely the program of choice for applicants based in Singapore and most applicants based in Southeast Asia.

At Prep Zone, we assist between 20 to 25 EMBA applicants every year and the overwhelming majority apply to the INSEAD GEMBA.

INSEAD GEMBA Admissions Process

There is one GEMBA intake per year, divided into three regional sections and the admissions process is the same for all GEMBA applicants, whether they apply for the Asia, the Middle East or the Europe section. However, application deadlines are different as the sections start at different dates.

Importantly, there are several ways to apply to the program. As per of the admissions process, you must take either the INSEAD Assessment, the GMAC Executive Assessment (EA), or the GMAT. Those 3 tests evaluate your academic aptitude, including quantitative and verbal skills. The application process will vary slightly depending on which test you choose. And while they all offer pros and cons, there will always be a preferred option based on our candidate profile.

Improve Your Success Chance With INSEAD

INSEAD Assessment Day Workshop (Free)

Consider pursuing the INSEAD GEMBA/TIEMBA program? Prep Zone Academy regularly host a free, info-packed workshop to help you prepare for your INSEAD Assessment Day. Simply click on the following link to see the upcoming workshop’s availability.

View upcoming workshop dates & registration

INSEAD Assessment Diagnostic Test (Free)

Take a 1-hour diagnostic test to judge your current academic performance. Your test will be marked by Prep Zone’s trainers, and the result will be sent back to you.

Register for Diagnostic Test

About Tsinghua - INSEAD Executive MBA (TIEMBA)

The Tsinghua – INSEAD Executive MBA (TIEMBA) is a unique partnership between INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business school, and Tsinghua, one of China’s most prestigious universities. The programme takes place across INSEAD’s three campuses in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Fontainebleau (France), and Tsinghua’s campus in Beijing.

As a participant, you will exchange perspectives within an elite, dynamic, culturally diverse class of experienced managers and be part of two powerful alumni networks. The TIEMBA is where life-changing leadership development meets technical mastery of key business disciplines. And both make an immediate impact in your organisation. It is the best of East and West, learning and working, technical knowledge and soft skills — in a single programme.

The programme is designed for people with a strong interest or experience in Asian business. It is best suited to people living and working in the region (or planning to) – or whose work has a particular focus on Asia.

TIEMBA Admissions Process

You can apply to the TIEMBA through INSEAD or Tsinghua University. There are typically 4 application deadlines for their September Intake each year. Either way, the criteria and process are the same.

The profile of successful TIEMBA applicants

  • displays both management experience and leadership potential
  • an average of 14 years of work experience (with a minimum of eight years post-graduate work experience), including at least five years of managing teams and/or projects
  • have the desire and potential to excel as senior business leaders
  • lived, worked or studied abroad – or worked for international companies with clients, suppliers or other stakeholders overseas.

The TIEMBA is intensive, rigorous and challenging. It’s best to have a solid academic foundation – usually demonstrated by a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognised college or university, and the GMAT, EA, INSEAD Assessment or the Tsinghua Test.

INSEAD GEMBA & TIEMBA Admissions Tests

INSEAD Assessment

If you’d like to take the INSEAD Assessment, you should submit your EMBA application first. The Pre-selection committee will then invite selected candidates for the INSEAD Assessment Day (which includes the INSEAD Assessment, the Admissions Panel, a Case Study and a Motivational Interview).

If you elect to take the INSEAD Assessment, it is important to note that you will only have one chance to pass the exam. In the event your test performance was not going to be satisfactory, you will be rejected, without the option to submit an EA or GMAT score and will need to wait another year to re-apply.

GMAC Executive Assessment (EA) and GMAT

If you’d like to take the EA or the GMAT, you should take the test first and submit your EMBA application together with your test score. The Pre-selection committee will then invite selected candidates for an Admissions Interview conducted by EMBA alumni.

The advantages of taking the EA or the GMAT is that you have more control on your test performance. Because you can take those test multiple times (2 times for the EA and up to 8 times for the GMAT), you have the option to submit a higher score if your first attempt didn’t work out. Importantly, you have more visibility by the time you submit your application as you will know whether you have met the minimum threshold.

Tsinghua Test*

*Only applicable to TIEMBA

International Candidates or Candidates from HK/Macau/Taiwan can use the Tsinghua MBA Alternative Entrance Exam as a substitute for the GMAT or GRE for admission into TIEMBA. The test is similar to the GMAT in that it is a multiple choice math, sentence correction critical thinking, reading comprehension test with an analytical writing component.

Which Path Should I Take?

Though the EA and GMAT route seems to offer valuable advantages, it is not necessarily the preferred route for everyone. As a matter of fact, more than 70% of our INSEAD GEMBA applicants prefer to take the INSEAD Test (with none having failed it till date). We broke down below the reasons why you should elect a specific test over the other.

  • You should take the INSEAD Test if

You want to maximize your admissions process timeline. On average, our applicants prepare their INSEAD Test in 6 weeks (in comparison to 3+ months for the EA and 4+ months for the GMAT). The test was designed by Prep Zone’s academic team in collaboration with the INSEAD faculty with the main goal to reduce the preparation time in mind. Though all 3 tests will look at your quantitative and verbal aptitudes, the INSEAD Test mostly assess your data analysis, data interpretation, communication analysis, critical thinking, plus business-scenario presentation skills and there is no non-applied mathematics or English grammar.

  • You should take the EA if

You do not hold an undergraduate degree or if you have less than 10 years work experience. For every other candidates, the GMAT should not even be considered as it is the most arduous test to prepare for and does not provide you with any competitive edge.

You are not fully confident in your test taking abilities and easily stress when taking a test. Because there is no retake when it comes to the INSEAD Test, some applicants tend to prefer the EA. However, because the EA takes longer to prepare, it is important that you start your admissions process earlier and no later than by April. In the event your EA scores don’t meet INSEAD minimum threshold, you would still have the option to take the INSEAD Test and the knowledge and skills you would have acquired during your EA prep would easily be transferred.

  • You should take the GMAT if and only if

You do not hold an undergraduate degree or if you have less than 10 years work experience. For every other candidates, the GMAT should not even be considered as it is the most arduous test to prepare for and does not provide you with any competitive edge.

Need Help Getting Into INSEAD GEMBA or TIEMBA?

With a team of seasoned MBA consultants and GMAT trainers, Prep Zone Academy is here to help you gain admittance to the INSEAD’s EMBA program.

Sign-up for a free consultation with us today regarding your GEMBA/TIEMBA application process – simply fill in the following form and our consultants will get in touch to propose a suitable slot.


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