Real World. Real Learning: IMD MBA Admissions Q&A


 According to BusinessWeek, “global MBA programs are showing themselves to be more selective, more rigorous, and more desirable to recruiters.” Shouldn’t you explore the possibility that IMD‘s intensive, 10-month MBA will be a better fit for you? Come learn about IMD’s admissions policies, program, and student life in our interactive Q&A on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM PT/11:00 AM ET/5:00 PM Swiss time, with Lisa Piguet, Associate Director of Admissions and Marketing. Don’t miss your chance to discover why IMD’s unique business approach, “Real World. Real Learning,” has made the program a leader in the global business scene.

Register now to reserve your spot for the IMD MBA Q&A.

What time is that for me? Click on the link to find out the exact time for your location.

Photo credit: LouisL ~ Helping You Write Your Best

IMD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

This IMD 2011 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. You can access the entire series at My tips for answering IMD’s essay questions are in blue below.

The Two Questions Before the Essay Questions:

1) Position sought after graduation

Please give us your short term career goal post MBA (up to 5 years). Describe how the IMD MBA will help you achieve this goal and how you will approach your job search.

Forward-looking, connect-the-dots MBA goals question with a twist. To answer this question, you need to know what you want to do after you complete IMD’s short, intense programs, and you also need to relate how that program will help you achieve your MBA goal. Finally, you have to show that you have a plan for your job search. That last element implies that you know what IMD career services provides and how you intend to use and supplement it.

2) Most important achievement

What do you consider to be your single most important achievement and why?

Your single most important achievement should ideally show impact, leadership, and cross-cultural and cross-functional savvy. If you can’t have all the above, make sure you have at least two.

You have room here for a story. Don’t think for an instant that IMD wants the great American novel for this essay. Keep it succinct, but this essay should engage the reader. Afterall, it is your most important achievement. You may want to review a few of these resources before writing:

Finally, realize that the “why” is as important as the “what.” Convey those reasons in your response.

IMD 2011 Essay Questions

Essay 1: Two situations of importance to you

Situation 1 (maximum 1230 characters)

Situation 1 (maximum 1230 characters)

Before responding to any of IMD’s questions, review its criteria for admissions, which are posted on its website and in a video on YouTube.

Then choose two experiences that demonstrate the qualities IMD seeks and complement each other, the other essays, and the other elements in your application.

Realize that the character limits work out to around 200 words, and that is not a lot of room. Be succinct, and include both the challenge and why you think it is worth including in your IMD application. Why do you care about it?

Essay 2: Failure to reach objective

Briefly describe the failure — and make it a real one, taking responsibility for your actions and showing self-awareness. Bring out what you learned and how you have implemented those lessons successfully in more recent situations.

Essay 3: Leadership

Describe a situation where you had to demonstrate strong leadership skills. Explain how effective you were and what you learned. (maximum 1230 characters)

Leadership takes many forms, but it usually involved persuasion and motivation of others. What did you do? What was the impact? And what did you learn — what worked and why? Have you had occasional to repeat the experiment subsequently with equally beneficial results?

Essay 4: Describe yourself

How do you imagine your superior would describe your strengths and weaknesses to someone who does not know you. (maximum 1230 characters)

Take a look as a recent review from your boss. You will probably find a good source there. You may also want to review:

Essay 5: International Exposure

Describe a situation where you successfully worked across cultures and/or nations. (maximum 1230 characters)

This is a very important essay for IMD, a school that values its global culture and cross-cultural experience. Describe the situation briefly, a challenge unique to international work environments, and how you met it. If you have room, lessons learned are always good to include.

Essay 6: Differentiators

IMD receives numerous applications per year. Give us four bullet points that clearly differentiate you from this applicant pool. (maximum 1230 characters)

Your essays up to this point are probably very professionally focused. Several of the bullet points could be personal. Think about that IMD video I suggested you watch. IMD wants to know about you as a person, as well as you as a professional. This may be a great place to inform the reader of distinctive features in your background or personal life. Your resume and the other essays will have already told them about unusual aspects of your professional life.

Essay 7: Alternatives

If you are not admitted, what alternatives will you consider? (maximum 1230 characters)

How will you achieve your professional goals discussed earlier in the IMD application if you are not admitted to an MBA program? How would you acquire the skills you seek?

Essay 8: Finance

Please explain how you intend to finance your studies at IMD. What would be your budget? (maximum 1230 characters)

Just answer it. Loans, your own funds, parental assistance? Whatever it is, provide the answers. The same is true of the budget question.

Essay 9: Disability / illness

Do you have a disability or illness that could affect your performance at IMD? If so, please explain. (maximum 1230 characters)

If necessary, describe the disability and how you intend to compensate for it. Also show that you have compensated successfully for this illness or disability in the past.

Essay 10: Additional Information

Optional question: Is there any additional information that is critical for the Admissions Committee to know which has not been covered elsewhere in this application? (maximum 1230 characters)

Between IMD’s nine essay questions and two questions preceding the essay questions, this may be the one application where the optional essay is really unnecessary. Nonetheless, if you have something to explain — a low GPA, a gap in employment, etc. — this is the place to do it.

IMD 2011 Application Deadlines

February 1; April 1; June 1; August 1; September 1

While you can choose any of the above deadlines, we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Our rolling admissions process helps us to assemble a unique mix of participants who will maximize your learning. After each deadline, the IMD MBA admissions committee reviews all the complete applications and performs an initial evaluation.

Within 6 weeks, we inform you if we would like to meet you for the on-campus assessment day.

If you would like help with your IMD MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or an IMD MBA School Package, which includes advising, essay editing, and a resume edit for the IMD MBA application.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

A Few of the Mostest at

This is the time of year to look back at the most, best, (worst), etc. I am going to stick to the positive.

Top Ten Most Visited Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010:

In a nutshell, rankings and application tip posts rule. (I am only listing the current tip post when last year’s tip post also made the list):

  1. Financial Times Global 2010 MBA Rankings
  2. Forbes ROI MBA Rankings for 2010
  3. Harvard HBS 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  4. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  5. NYU Stern 2011 MBA Application Questions, Tips, Deadlines
  6. Common Application Essay Tips
  7. Columbia 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  8. 2010 MBA Rankings Released by BusinessWeek
  9. Kellogg 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  10. London Business School 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

Three Most Commented Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010

  1. Harvard HBS 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (269)
  2. INSEAD 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (246)
  3. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (60)

Keep ’em coming! (Please post your questions about this year’s applications on this year’s tips.)

Five Most Popular Articles on of 2010:

  1. Go for the Goals in your Statement of Purpose
  2. Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation for Medical School
  3. 4 Must-Haves in Residency Personal Statements
  4. MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA 
  5. Sample MBA Interview Questions

Most Popular Resources of 2010:

Our Absolute, Best, Most Superlative Asset: YOU, our readers, followers, fans, subscribers, and most of all, our clients.

On behalf of Accepted’s staff, this post is where I

Thank you, all of you Acceptees, for making 2010 our best year ever!

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

International MBA Programs: Are Global B-Schools Right for You?

Thinking about applying to an international MBA program? Like the idea of having international experience on your resume, but don’t know much about your global options? Not sure if you should attend an internationally-run program or an American-based program transplanted to foreign soil? 

Internationalizing the MBA, a special report written by Accepted editor and international b-school expert, Tanis Kmetyk, will explore the pros and cons of joining the overseas MBA scene, helping you make your big decision—should you study for your MBA on home soil, or take the leap and head abroad to an international or American b-school in a foreign country?

Learn whether an international MBA is right for you by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these different programs.

Download  Internationalizing the MBA.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Financial Times Global 2010 MBA Rankings

The Financial Times  published today its 2010 ranking of global MBA programs. Its ranking attempts to “assess the effect of the MBA on … subsequent career progression and salary growth.” Consequently it draws its data from the schools themselves and from surveys of graduates at least three years after earning their MBA degree. In building its rankings, FT analyzes “alumni salaries and career development; the diversity and international reach of the business school and its MBA programme; and the research capabilities of each school.” For complete information on FT’s methodology, please see “Getting to Grips with the Method.”

Rather than list all my important caveats for using rankings, I’ll simply refer you to our MBA Rankings Report.

The best business schools according to FT:

  1. London Business School
  2. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
  3. Harvard Business School
  4. Stanford GSB
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. IE (tied with Columbia)
  8. MIT Sloan
  9. Chicago Booth
  10. Hong Kong UST Business School

I have long argued that far more valuable than the overall rankings are the specialty rankings. Here are FT’s specialty rankings:

Top for international business
1 Thunderbird School of Global Management
2 University of South Carolina: Moore
3 Georgetown University: McDonough
4 Insead
5 George Washington University
6 Hult International Business School
8 Manchester Business School
9 University of Southern California: Marshall
10 London Business School

Top for finance
1 University of Chicago: Booth
2 New York University: Stern
3 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
4 Rice University: Jones
5 University of Rochester: Simon
6 London Business School
7 Columbia Business School
8 Macquarie Graduate School of Management
9 University of Iowa: Tippie
10 University of Toronto: Rotman

Top for accountancy

1 Brigham Young University: Marriott
2 University of Chicago: Booth
3 University of Texas at Austin: McCombs
4 New York University: Stern
5 Macquarie Graduate School of Management
6 University of Rochester: Simon
7 Cornell University: Johnson
8 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
9 Rice University: Jones
10 Texas A & M University: Mays

Top for entrepreneurship
1 Babson College: Olin
2 Stanford University GSB
3 Imperial College Business School
4 UCLA: Anderson
5 University of California at Berkeley: Haas
6 MIT Sloan School of Management
7 University of Cambridge: Judge
9 Wisconsin School of Business
10 Insead

Top for economics
1 University of Chicago: Booth
2 Cranfield School of Management
3 MIT Sloan School of Management
4 Yale School of Management
5 University of Rochester: Simon
6 Imperial College Business School
7 Melbourne Business School
8 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton
9 IE Business School
10 New York University: Stern

Top for corporate social responsibility
1 University of Notre Dame: Mendoza
2 University of California at Berkeley: Haas
3 Yale School of Management
4 Ipade
5 University of Virginia: Darden
6 Brigham Young University: Marriott
7 Esade Business School
8 University of Michigan: Ross
9 University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler
10 Thunderbird School of Global Management

Top for general management
1 University of Virginia: Darden
2 Harvard Business School
3 Ipade
4 Dartmouth College: Tuck
6 University of Michigan: Ross
7 University of Western Ontario: Ivey
8 Northwestern University: Kellogg
9 Stanford University GSB
10 Duke University: Fuqua

Top for marketing
1 Northwestern University: Kellogg
2 Duke University: Fuqua
3 Indiana University: Kelley
4 Ipade
5 Esade Business School
6 Wisconsin School of Business
7 Imperial College Business School
8 University of Michigan: Ross
9 HEC Paris
10 Cornell University: Johnson

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of