I received an email from Alex Gladstone, INSEAD Class of July 2010, regarding the INSEAD language requirements which some incoming students may be slightly concerned about.
Some already know 3 or more languages - think of the Europeans, especially the Swiss. But there are others who don’t know a 3rd language yet - think of the Americans :P Let me put it this way: P1 and P2 will be hectic and by P4-P5 you’re likely to be busy getting a job. You should really get the 3rd language requirement out of the way so you don’t receive a blank scroll at the graduation ceremony (that’s what I heard they give you if you haven’t met all the requirements yet!).
I’ve copied Alex’s message below. It is mainly for admits from the US and Canada, whose second or third language is likely to be Spanish.
If you are an American or Canadian INSEAD admit that needs certification in Spanish you basically have 3 options. The first is to fly to France and take the language test in Fontainebleau with FL&C language school, but I wouldn’t suggest that unless you are already pretty close to fluent.
The second option is to study independently or with a school familiar with the DELE exam, but this is fairly difficult since the DELE exam is only given twice per year. Regardless of whether you are in a January or July start and when you might get your acceptance letter, you will be in a situation where you’ll only have one shot to take the test. The DELE takes a very long time to return your results (up to two months?) so while you wait you’ll have to keep studying hard in case your fallback is to take the FL&C test instead.
The third and IMHO the best option is to take classes with tradfax.com to prepare for the FIDESCU D.I.E. (I know its a terrible acronym for an exam but don’t worry) which is also accepted at INSEAD. Tradfax is the first (and right now the only) school and examcenter_ in North America that is associated with FIDESCU.
Tradfax is physically in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Its run by Francis Guinazu who has been teaching Spanish, Portuguese, and English as a foreign language for over 25 years. He’ll assess your skills and if necessary set you up with an intensive course of study (say, 8 hr/week or so) to help prepare you for the exam, and you can do it in person via skype or even by phone. You can take the test with tradfax directly rather than having to fly to Spain or elsewhere.
I’m plugging them because I personally used their services and went from a very basic level of Spanish to the required level in just a few months while working a full-time job by using their intensive course.
Check them out at http://www.tradfax.com And good luck to you all!
Thanks Alex for helping out your fellow classmates, in true INSEAD spirit.
If anyone else has any feedback on language schools, just post a comment here. Or, continue the conversation on the INSEAD MBA intranet when your online account has been activated.