MBA careers center interview with INSEAD

What can students expect in the way of career support when enrolling at INSEAD? In this interview, Agnès Cosnier-Loigerot and Katja Boytler, associate directors at the Career Development Centre (CDC) of its Europe campus explain their team's top-to-bottom involvement with students.

This MBA careers center allocates career coaches to its MBAs at the start of the program to help them establish selling points and value proposition. It also, “organizes coffee chats with hiring managers, HR professionals and/or alumni to help students establish a cultural fit with organizations,” throughout the program's duration. In addition, the center collaborates with the MBA admissions team, for example in sharing lessons learned from the performance of those with particular employment profiles during the course of their career journey at INSEAD. Read on to learn more!

INSEAD's Fontainebleau campusDoes the INSEAD Career Development Centre team work with the MBA admissions team during applicant assessment? If so, how?

The INSEAD Career Development Centre (CDC) team contributes to our admissions process in a variety of ways. For example, the team provides input for the career-related essays in the application, as well as for the newly created video component. The team frequently shares their findings with admissions, in terms of types of students who were either successful, or who may have struggled during their career journey at INSEAD. This helps our admissions team draw conclusions about the performance of certain profiles during the program in order to find ways to better support them. The CDC team actively participates in welcome days for admitted students and will engage with new admits early on to ensure that their questions are answered before they start their MBA. While the admissions and CDC teams collaborate, the CDC team does not have decision-making powers over applications and students admitted to INSEAD.

When do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at INSEAD?

January/February (investment banking internships for the December class), March-April (internships for the December class and permanent roles for the July class) and September-October (permanent roles for the December class).

Are there particular skills that the career development team helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

We emphasize the importance for our MBAs to understand themselves. As such, our students are allocated a career coach from the start of their program that can help them develop their unique selling points and their value proposition. The CDC team also offers workshops around relationship-building and storytelling to help our students hone their pitch. The team emphasizes the importance to prepare for the most desired skills such as strategic thinking, communication and leadership skills.

How does the Career Development Centre help MBA students prepare for recruitment events?

The INSEAD Career Development Centre delivers a comprehensive career journey for our MBAs which starts before students arrive on campus and extends long after they become alumni. During the initial stages, students will go through online learning modules for CV writing and LinkedIn profile development. The marketing toolkit is completed early in the program through facilitated peer group and individual reviews supported by sector-specific workshops run by the Employer Engagement team.

Experience-sharing with INSEAD alumni is also a key component of the careers program at INSEAD, helping students through their exploration phase. Finally, the team organizes specific treks to key employment destinations and works closely with students to organize company visits throughout the year. The program also contains sector-specific components, including ‘Crack the Case’ workshops (on case interviews) and a comprehensive mock interview program.

In what ways does the career development team help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

Our career coaches will work individually with students to clarify career and life themes that are important to them. These themes will impact students’ choices and help them clarify which types of organizations and roles they would like to have in the future. In addition, INSEAD’s CDC team organizes coffee chats with hiring managers, HR professionals and/or alumni to help students establish a ‘cultural fit’ with organizations. CDC’s Employer Engagement team also provides sector-specific CV books to recruiters for easier identification of the talent they need.

Are there any new companies recruiting on campus? Have you seen a change in industries?

At INSEAD, like in most other business schools, we have seen an increase in technology, media and telecoms, as well as in tech-related opportunities across different sectors (e.g. fintech). Over the past four years, we have also seen a rise in demand for INSEAD graduates coming from startups and SMEs across industries.

Are there any changes to the way in which companies are recruiting?

While we have seen more webinars and virtual career fairs over the years, on-campus recruitment remains an attractive option for recruiters to engage with MBA talent. Companies who cannot come to campus are also happy to host MBA students at their premises, and some will develop assessment days to let MBAs tackle real business problems, allowing recruiters to assess their performance in action.

What kind of contact does the INSEAD career development center have with MBAs after they graduate?

INSEAD offers a comprehensive web portal with resources for alumni. An experience-sharing series of video-recorded interviews were published last year. For recent graduates, the allocated career coach remains in contact with their student cohort and students are welcome to reach out to the Employer Engagement team for sector-specific advice. The CDC team also nominates alumni ambassadors in various companies, allowing us to develop or deepen those relationships for future recruitment and careers support to INSEAD students.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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