Two articles I spotted in the local press today refer to INSEAD:
Here are relevant excerpts about INSEAD:
“French business school Insead reports more applications today from the unemployed, compared to a year ago.”
Our local press always refers to us as a ‘French’ school despite our slogan, ‘The Business School for the World’. Our PR team really needs to work on this. I thought our Dean Frank Brown was very particular about our positioning as international, not French, especially now that we have centres in other regions as well.
On increasing the cohort sizes:
“Others like Insead are expanding enrolment next year, from 919 to 960.”
This statement as a standalone is OK, but wait till the end of the article…
There are quotes from various MBA applicants in Singapore and their reasons for doing an MBA now. An incoming INSEAD MBA is cited:
“Computer engineering graduate Chow Lee Ling, 28, is looking forward to starting at Insead’s Fontainebleau campus next month, because she will ‘get to analyse the crisis as it unfolds in her classes with people from different backgrounds’.
She also hopes that networking with successful Insead alumni will give her a ‘leg-up’ in her career.”
(To the incoming student: Actually, your Finance classes will begin with a much more basic and mundane topic, the time value of money, and in between you will probably get insights from professors on the crisis. But yes, the networking is great :))
[Update: Lee Ling wrote to me after viewing this post - she was misquoted in the article.]
What is slightly puzzling is how the article is structured, such that after quoting these students from various schools, it then ends by mentioning two ‘top’ schools - Rutgers and Chicago.
“However, schools say the spike in applications means it may be harder to get in as top schools like Chicago Booth School of Business, which takes in about 90 students yearly, and Rutgers, which accepts 50 students a year, are not increasing their intake.”
The sentence is clumsy and misleading. I interpret the overall point is that the really good schools wouldn’t increase their cohort size - perhaps referring to quality control. Which then implies that INSEAD isn’t as good. Admittedly, overcrowding is a valid concern as we’re already feeling there are too many students on campus. But increasing cohort sizes isn’t indicative of diminishing quality. Some top US business schools have far larger intake sizes than we do. So the point here is weak.
Also, the writer should understand that a top university doesn’t necessarily have a top business school. For instance, universities like Oxford and Cambridge are also top in many areas but their business schools are ranked above average, not number 1. We should compare apples to apples.
Next, I wouldn’t deny that Chicago is a very good university with a great business school, but it only has an EMBA programme here - the MBA programme is only in Chicago - so again, the journalist is not making the right comparisons.
And when you do make the right comparisons: INSEAD’s ranking is far better than Rutgers’s business school, which is not in the BusinessWeek top 100 at all but is only listed as as “U.S. Programs Also Considered For Ranking”. INSEAD is currently #3 on the non-US list, #6 in the Financial Times 2008 rankings after Harvard, with Chicago as #9.
The article also praises Rutgers for updating their syllabus to include macroeconomics to help students better understand the current economic crisis…
“Others like Rutgers are wasting no time retooling their MBA programme to make offerings more recession-focused. Come next year, it will offer electives like a macroeconomic policy course examining the US credit crunch to address the current climate.”
…when INSEAD has long included macroeconomics as a core (compulsory) course. We saw it coming a long time ago. And ‘International Political Analysis’ is also a core course, so you can say we’re very holistic; definitely a school with an international, big-picture outlook that fits our slogan.
In short: Between us and Chicago, we are the best business schools with campuses in Singapore. And we have the best MBA programme in the country.
Maybe we have a communication problem; maybe our official spokespeople aren’t that passionate about it and other schools seem to get the limelight more. But I’m sure many classmates are proud of being at INSEAD for many other things as well and we ought to have better recognition overall.
Of course, what matters more is how much you get out of the school, not just the prestige that goes with the brand name, but I’m also sure if you name-drop “Harvard” you will see Singaporeans going all agog with admiration. INSEAD is much newer, more specialised (business only), and thus it faces an uphill battle in name recognition among people outside the business community.
There is another article which briefly quotes INSEAD’s Executive MBA director on Singapore’s decision to embark on a trilateral partnership involving US and Chinese universities.