About this course
Economics and Political Science faculty works on a diverse set of research areas including Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Trade, Organizations, Political Economy and the role of governments on business. We teach in all our degree programmes three of the required core courses as well as a set of electives.
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Academic foundation: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognised college or university (although in exceptional circumstances, we may waive this requirement for outstanding candidates with substantial professional experience). Many of our applicants have advanced degrees but this is not compulsory. To assess your academic background, we consider the competitiveness of the institution you attended and your academic performance.
GMAT: all applicants are required to take a GMAT test as it provides us with a standardised way of evaluating candidates. While we do not have a minimum score required for admission, we advise candidates to aim for a score at or above the 70th-75th percentile for both the quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT. Please keep in mind, however, that standardised tests are just one of several admission criteria. A high score does not guarantee admission, and a below average score does not eliminate a candidate.
In countries where the GMAT test is not offered, we will accept a GRE test instead. Similarly, a GRE test is acceptable for prospective students looking to follow the Dual Degree path. A score above 85% for the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE is highly recommended.
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Introduction to the current and emerging issues in China’s dynamic environment
This course introduces students to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs who build businesses in China, with particular attention to the political, economic and social context. It is designed for those who want to understand what kind of great enterprises will come out of China in the next 10 or 20 years, and why some entrepreneurs build successful businesses in China and others don’t. It is appropriate not only for those who are considering starting companies themselves but also for those who want to understand how the current entrepreneurial activities in China will shape the investment opportunities in China and the global competitive advantage of China’s firms in the near future.
China has emerged as a world economic super power, forcing all players to consider new economic models. This fieldtrip provides an opportunity to learn about the unique opportunities and obstacles faced by entrepreneurs in China, who will play an even bigger role in China’s economy in the future.
During your visit, you will be exposed to a wide variety of entrepreneurs and executives who are building companies in China. They will discuss with you a particular aspect of building businesses in China, and you can learn from them through interaction, discussion, and questioning. You will also have an opportunity to meet with alumni to gain additional insights into living and working in China.
Ideal for careers in:
BUILDING BUSINESSES IN INDIA
Learning how businesses are being built and developed in the Indian context
The course will enable you to develop deep insight into three questions:
The best way to address these three questions is to go to India, meet the people active in the Indian entrepreneurial community, and learn through interaction, discussion, questioning. We will spend a week in India - initially in Bangalore (India’s tech venturing capital) and then travel to Gurgaon (a suburb of New Delhi & an emerging entrepreneurial hotbed) during the break between periods, interacting with key players.
India has a centuries old entrepreneurial tradition among certain ethnic and social groups. Entrepreneurship was ingrained in one’s family, and many of India’s greatest enterprises in the modern era are still family enterprises. Yet starting in the 1980s and 1990s, a new strand in the thread of Indian entrepreneurship emerged. As the regulatory structure of India’s economy changed, entrepreneurs such as Narayana Murthy began building companies like Infosys in order to exploit the country’s remarkable pool of human capital, and they often fused ideas from East and West as they built their companies. Today, India’s business landscape is far richer because a new generation of entrepreneurs has emerged, some of whom came from families with a rich entrepreneurial heritage and others who did not.
India has emerged as one of the world’s hotbeds of growth entrepreneurship, a trend that is accelerating thanks to several factors. Non-resident Indians (NRI’s) who left the country are returning as investors and/or executives, both because India offers an outstanding pool of affordable talent and because they want to help build the country of their birth. Multinational firms have located many facilities in India, so there is a growing pool of experienced managers who know how a global enterprise operates. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are flourishing, both established centres such as Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai and fast-growing hubs such as Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Building Businesses in India is designed for those who want to understand what kind of companies will come out of India’s entrepreneurial explosion, how the Indian context will shape the great enterprises that are founded in India over the next ten or twenty years. It is suitable for those who are considering starting companies themselves, who want to understand what kind of advantages and opportunities India will offer.
This field trip class will include a combination of guest lecture, site visits, and service component along with cultural learning to ensure that students who complete this field trip will leave with a heightened understanding of Nepal’s socio-economic situation and sustainable social enterprise. There will be social impact service projects organized for student groups; these will be discussed in a pre-departure meeting.
The course with the help of a local partner to engage in meaningful social impact projects alongside customized options of cultural immersion and mindfulness. INSEAD attracts diverse high-potential MBA students who will go into senior corporate roles. The experience provided by this Nepal field trip is intended to help INSEAD MBAs go into corporate jobs with a strong understanding of social business practices, sustainable corporate social responsibility and possibilities of aligning social good into corporate strategies. The focus is on making INSEAD a business school for a “better” world.
The local company, Sight-Impact, founded by an INSEAD alum, has strong connections through family and friends in Nepal’s business, social development, political and culture sector. Thus, meetings with respected intellectuals and close ties with local non-profits will facilitate identification of meaningful social impact projects for INSEAD students on the field trip. The local knowledge will also help to ensure that the field trip provided a holistic experience for the students who participate. This will include:
During the field trip, students will attend guest lectures and meet with a diverse set of individuals to get a strong understanding of sustainable social businesses and social/economic development. Examples of such organizations hard at work in Nepal as part of ongoing development and relief efforts include:
Examples of potential service projects include (please note that these may change depending on the needs of local organizations in October 2016.):
Early Childhood Development Center - Non-profit residential home for 40 children who were born in prison to provide them a better place to grow, learn and rehabilitate. Founded by Pushpa Basnet, CNN hero of the year 2012. A possible service project would include work on developing a go-to-market strategy and marketing plan for handicrafts and environmentally friendly products made at ECDC through e-commerce, or physical store in Kathmandu.
Tewa – local NGO that works to advance and empower women by fostering a culture of self-reliance through community philanthropy and grant making to organized groups of women throughout Nepal. A possible service project would include work on developing the organization more fully. After Nepal’s devastating earthquake of April 2015, Tewa extensively supported with earthquake relief and reconstruction by mobilizing and empowering 1000+ women. The project entails appropriately synthesizing Tewa’s earthquake relief efforts and working with women social entrepreneurs to make an actionable business plan for their small businesses.
Nepal Wireless - Not-for-profit that brings wireless technology to remote villages of Nepal by bridging the digital divide. It was founded by Mahabir Pun, an Ashoka Fellow and recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2007 (Nobel Prize of Asia). A possible service project would include work on helping Nepal wireless increase digital literacy among the rural population through online education. The service project entails researching and recommending unique methods of enhancing digital literacy among Nepal’s rural poor.
Samriddha Pahad – UK based social business started by INSEAD alum and visiting Professor Graham Wrigley to facilitate access to financial services to Nepal’s mountain communities. A possible service project would include work on developing an appropriate financial product catered to local community needs taking into consideration the type of business, household income, etc.
Learning how to succeed as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is the most influential place for entrepreneurship in the world, and it operates to a large extent according to its own sets of rules, which are starting to be adopted in other entrepreneurship pools elsewhere. It is more a culture than a place. How can you “break into” entrepreneurship, be successful in building a business and succeed as an entrepreneur, general or functional manager, or venture capitalist there? The purpose of this course is to offer insights into that question. The only way to fully understand Silicon Valley is to be there and interact face-to-face with some of its key actors. Hence this entire mini-elective takes place in Silicon Valley. Each day will include a mix of lecture/guest speaking sessions and a field trip (for a total of 12 sessions), and each session will be hosted and run by a key Silicon Valley actor - an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, an executive in a large company, or by Professor Cha herself. Through INSEAD’s connections in Silicon Valley, participants will get to meet players in the region. The course will focus on Internet, ecommerce, social media, and hardware technologies, although its lessons are universal. An engineering background is not necessarily needed to enrol. A strong motivation to be in technology businesses, to understand and collaborate with “techies”, to engage with Silicon Valley guest speakers are required.
Silicon Valley essentially consists of four types of actors that together comprise its “eco-system”:
Important to note: The course is part of P4 bidding, requires a short 3-line motivation statement and takes place towards the end of the P4-P5 break. Students are responsible for getting to Silicon Valley (including visa several weeks before the trip), booking a hotel room, and for all costs associated with the trip.
Ideal for careers in:
A guide to Building a Great Company
The Business Planning Workshop will help you learn the key tools for building a successful startup or a new business inside of a corporation and at a minimum help to reduce the risk of failure. The mini-elective uses the concepts taught by Steve Blank in his Lean Launchpad class. The Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and Blank’s Customer Development tools are used in class. It is must for students hoping to pursue careers in entrepreneurship. The course is designed as a stand-alone elective but is also a natural complement to Effective Fundraising for Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship in Action, New Business Ventures and Realising Entrepreneurial Potential.
This class is a simulation of what startups and entrepreneurship is like in the real world; chaos, uncertainty, impossible deadlines in insufficient time and conflicting input. The format for the elective is very similar to EFS. There are just 2 or 3 formal class sessions at most. You are on your own as you look for the ‘problem/solution’ fit for your idea. Enrolees work in teams directly with the professor to frame the project and to check in once or twice during the term to ensure that the project is progressing. Enrolees will also have access to a number of lectures online.
You will learn the key steps you need to follow when developing a business. We will start with SEARCH. The steps in the Customer Development process: how to identify and engage the first customers for your product, and how to gather, evaluate and use their feedback to make your product, marketing and business model far stronger. The focus will be on SEARCH. i.e. PLANNING comes BEFORE THE PLAN.
The course will give you the tools needed to develop an idea into a fundable high potential business (whether a startup, an existing venture, or a new business inside of a corporation). BPW is designed to develop practical skills to help you find the right business model to build a REPEATABLE SCALABLE business.
The Business Planning Workshop is NOT about “writing a business plan”. We will laterally process through the details that make a business viable, achieving understanding, and then reflecting that thinking and understanding in documents that are a persuasive and focused defence of, and advocacy for, the business. We will use the Osterwalder Business Model Canvas to develop your business model.
Most “business plans” are glorified reports with STATIC data, opinions and pie charts. The average “plan” shows little execution planning and critical thinking, let alone defensible math driven forecasts for results and returns. Most plans are dusted off to send to an investor, and then ignored until they are dusted off in a hurry later on. On the other-hand, using the Osterwalder Business Model Canvas, it will be a live document that keeps track of your hypotheses and confirmation of the facts. Whether you intend to create a new business, or refine and evolve an existing business, if you are planning the business activities of a small venture, a business unit of a large mature corporation or a hungry entrepreneur this workshop will help you achieve insight and perspective into the planning of a business.
Ideal for careers in:
Learning how to successfully build a new business inside a corporation
This course helps students recognize and overcome the challenges unique to building a new business inside an established firm. Creating a successful new business inside a corporation is often a critical early step in the careers of many successful corporate executives. Thus, this course is ideal for students planning to work in established firms where they will be expected to identify and build new businesses or to provide support for new businesses, as well as students who plan to work for consultancies advising these firms.
Corporate entrepreneurship is in essence about building new businesses inside established firms. This includes starting new lines of business or new product units, setting up new practice areas, beginning offices in new geographies, managing spin-offs, or creating new joint ventures—as well as establishing processes to ensure the successful development of new businesses.
This course is designed to help students recognize and overcome the challenges they will face when building new businesses inside established firms. Corporate entrepreneurship is important for firms because it is the key to achieving sustainable growth. Moreover, successfully building a new business for the firm can make a manager’s career—but a failure to do so can break a career. Thus, in short, this course is about how to start a new business inside a corporation without “getting yourself killed in the process.”
Corporate entrepreneurs trying to build a business inside an established firm encounter a set of challenges that are different from those faced by entrepreneurs. Examples of the challenges we address in his course include the following:
This elective provides a forum for students interested in conducting their own entrepreneurship-related project, alone or in teams of two. Projects can include a venture feasibility study for a start-up, evaluation of an existing company in conjunction with a venture capital or private equity firm, or original research with an entrepreneurship theme. The common element is that the work should provide original value and include some element of field research (e.g. focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.).
The course works like an independent study in that there are no formal class sessions. Rather, enrolees work directly with the professor to frame the project and to check in once or twice during the term to ensure that the project is progressing.
Field studies should involve original field research and should speak to some aspect of entrepreneurship: start-up, venture capital, private equity, turnaround/buyout, corporate entrepreneurship, or family enterprise.
Course participants are welcome to choose and work on their own project. Indeed, this is the option commonly pursued. If you would like to do a field studies project but have not identified a suitable subject, the Professor may suggest a collection of pre-approved projects submitted by alumni, selected INSEAD partners, and professors.
Each field study should demonstrate that the project team member(s) have created original value and application to a specific situation. This usually involves the application of frameworks, models, theories or methods encountered in prior courses, or found in the literature, to a study question or problem at hand. It may also involve the original creation of such a framework, model or method, tailored to the relevant entrepreneurship context.
Ideally, field studies not only allow course participants to solve a problem, but also enable them to establish contacts with important industry professionals.
Deliverables for internal projects are negotiated with the professor. Deliverables for external projects are negotiated with the external professionals who have submitted a project proposal.
Ideal for careers in:
Entrepreneurship in Action
Experiencing venture management in a new business start-up: A simulation
Entrepreneurship in Action uses a business simulation that puts participants in the shoes of an entrepreneurial team that is competing in a consumer durable market. The course objective is to simulate the management of a new venture in the critical second-round financing stage. The simulation begins after the successful launch of the company has demonstrated the existence and growth potential of a market, but before the business is established enough for an IPO or some other ‘exit’ vehicle for the initial investors and/or founders. During the course of the simulation, entrepreneurial teams develop their company’s strategy, including brand and market positioning, physical and human capital and manage operations in order to sustain profitable growth in an increasingly competitive market.
The highlight of this course is its relentless focus on action – participants take dozens of strategic and tactical decisions under enormous time pressure, significant uncertainty and intense competition to build their business.
Using the SIGMA ChallengeTM, participants will be immersed in an intensive business simulation that covers the different aspects of entrepreneurship in an international business setting. This course uses several techniques to accurately replicate the “pressure-cooker” environment that is typical of start-ups. First, the course is short and intense, lasting four days, anchored around a single weekend. Second, the class “sessions” run for a long time, sometimes lasting up-to 12 hours. Third, decision periods are time compressed and require immediate action in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Fourth, at all points in time, the management team needs to manage its cash position carefully to avoid getting into bankruptcy.
This environment enables participants to learn, experientially, the key skills and competencies that will let them hit the ground running when they execute their own venture idea or join a high-growth venture’s management team.
Ideal for careers in:
The unique dynamics and strategy of family firms
Family Business Management explores the how unique management, leadership, and governance challenges of a family firm arise from a set of key assets and constraints that are similar across firms, countries and cultures. The course applies thinking from multiple disciplines of economics and management research to address the fundamental decisions of ownership, succession, and exit in family firms. It uses a variety of teaching approaches that include case studies, lectures, benchmarking, exercises, class discussion, and guest speakers (depending on availability), and aims to deliver a set of tools to identify and execute efficient management and governance strategies that improve the well-being of the firms and the families behind the firms.
An important benefit from taking the course is the interaction between participants who have a family business background and participants who do not. The course is of interest to anyone who seeks a role in family business management or finance, including:
Business schools have now recognised that family-controlled firms are both the prevalent form of business organisation around the world and that they create unique competitive advantages and challenges. Well-known companies like Bertelsmann, BMW, Cargill, Michelin, Tetra Laval, Hermes, Roche, Wendel, LVMH, GAP, Peugeot, Ford, Heineken, the Swire Group, Henkel, Kikkoman, Timken, Wal-Mart, Solvay, Lego, Yamaha have a family or families as controlling shareholder. They represent one third of the S&P 500 list in the US, between 80 and 90% in Europe and over 90% of the businesses in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Family firms are the most common firms participating in mergers and acquisitions all over the world.
The key points covered in this course include specific family business content but also process thinking that applies in any context:
Buying into entrepreneurship: Learning some of the strategies for success in a buy-out
This elective provides an introduction to the principles of leveraged buy-outs. It explores the main value creation strategies involved in successful leveraged buy-outs, and helps students evaluate the risks and rewards involved in each of them. The course has a strong practical focus, covering specific examples from the real world of buy-outs. There will be a heavy emphasis on case studies. Ideal for students seeking a career in private equity, corporate finance, management consulting or investment banking, but has overall relevance for those working in industry giving the increasing importance of private equity as an asset class.
This elective provides the opportunity to examine all aspects of leveraged buy-outs from both the point of view of the equity provider and other stakeholders – the management team, the banks, and the vendor. The course contains a strong flavour of the practical aspects of doing buy-outs both through the case-based nature of the programme and the use of visiting speakers who have been involved in the cases directly.
The introductory phase of the course will briefly cover how buy-outs work including mechanics and key issues, and will provide some contextual background to the industry to help participants understand the realities of buy-outs. This part will in particular emphasise that, in an increasingly “perfect market”, it is imperative that buy-outs must be based on a well-thought-out value creation hypothesis.
The specific cases in the course will illustrate some of the different value creation strategies implemented, using real life examples and focussing in detail on the key issues involved. In each of them, the class will work together to explore the risks and returns involved in each of the potential investments, and attempt to develop a common framework for analysing buy-out investments. To get most value from the course, you must read and be prepared for the discussions, both in terms of having completed the well-targeted preparation work and having an attitude determined to join the class discussions.
While the cases illustrate different aspects of the buy-out model they are also getting increasingly complex as the course progresses, culminating in a final practical team exercise. This last case will require the teams to submit a well thought out investment recommendation with a high degree of granularity around investment thesis, structuring and post investment value creation plan.
Ideal for careers in:
This course introduces students to the challenges of managing critical turnaround situations in corporations globally. It is known for its clear link to the Turnaround industry through recent case studies and the involvement of industry experts as guest speakers in class. The course not only teaches how to handle turnaround situations, but reveals the critical points in any company and thus making the lessons learned applicable to regular business practice as well.
To consistently preserve shareholder value throughout the ups and downs of the business cycle, it is vital to understand the reasons why companies slide into decline and what the mechanics of executing a successful turnaround are.
The course builds on the earlier classes in the MBA programme, is a natural follow on to courses in Entrepreneurship and Private Equity and is particularly relevant for those who are interested in working with investors in struggling companies or the management of distressed assets, and possibly (financial) consultants.
Course setting & overview
The current global economic crisis and recession will lead to a substantial increase in turnaround activities and demand for turnaround management expertise. The turnaround industry continues to attract new players such as private equity and hedge funds and is set to grow as the downturn plays out over the next two years.
The course discusses turnaround management by introducing the relevant theories, concepts & strategies with a close eye on best-practices in the industry. It gives up-to-date insights into the various stages and processes of turnaround management through the use of case studies and discussions with guest speakers from the industry and will be, where possible, set within the context of the present economic environment.
The following topics will be covered:
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How to Apply
English language certification (Only required if English is not your native language)
We accept TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and the Certificate of Proficiency in English test. For INSEAD purposes, scores are valid for two years. With the TOEFL, please arrange to have ETS send your test scores directly to INSEAD, code 0970. For PTE Academic, the relevant code for INSEAD is:22W-R2-00. As with the GMAT, a copy of your score report is sufficient for us to begin evaluating your file. Your original test score report will only be required later on during the evaluation process.
You can also demonstrate fluency in English by a degree from a university where all courses were taught exclusively in this language. If your university degree was exclusively taught in English but in a non-English speaking country, proof that the language of instruction was English must be sent with your application.
Entry language certification (If English is your native language)
For more details, please see the Languages section. If you are unable to supply certification at the time of your application, the deadline is 1st June for the September intake, and 1st November for the January intake.
Letters of Recommendation
Two professional recommendation letters are required, providing information about your leadership and management potential. As such, at least one recommendation should come from your workplace; your current supervisor or manager is usually a good choice. The other recommendation should be from someone who has had a chance to evaluate you in a professional setting, for example, a client, a former supervisor or a colleague from your community service or extracurricular activities. Academic recommendations are acceptable but they are less likely to address our main interest, which is to assess your ability to work with and manage others as well as your potential for senior management. If you feel it would add value to your application, you may also upload an optional third letter of recommendation as part of the supporting documents.
It is important to note that your recommenders can submit their online letters to us at their earliest convenience after receiving their links, and no later than 48 hours after the application deadline, to which you are applying.
Your curriculum vitae can either be on a free format or follow the format of the INSEAD official CV e-book.
Please also attach scanned copies of your transcripts and diploma and any other documents you wish to share with the Admissions Team.
Your transcripts should indicate both diploma and grades achieved from each college or university that you have attended. We accept transcripts in English or French. All others must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Each transcript must bear the official seal and signature of the institution.
The transcripts need to reach the Admissions Office by the deadline. For us to start processing your application, the transcripts may be either uploaded with the application form (scanned copies) or sent to INSEAD via post by the applicant or by the academic institution directly.
The size of each of your attachments should not exceed 1 MB. If you have more documents to send, please divide your pages and upload two lighter documents instead of a single big one.
Should you be admitted to the MBA Programme, you will be asked to send your original transcripts and degree to the Admissions Office by post. Photocopies are only accepted if officially certified by a public or professional body (solicitor, embassy, town hall, etc.).
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