IMD vs INSEAD MBA: Comparison based on Size, Ranking, Class Profile, Curriculum, Post MBA Jobs & 11 Other Factors

IMD vs INSEAD MBAIMD and INSEAD MBA programs seem to be different tier programs, but both MBAs are often shortlisted by aspirants who are planning to get into a top program in Europe. Let us look at eleven factors and compare the MBA programs.

1) Size

The primary difference between the two programs is the class size. IMD is targeted for a select few with just 90 students selected every year for the Full-time MBA Program. INSEAD Full-time MBA accepts over 1000 students.

2) Location

IMD’s Campus is located in Lausanne, a french-speaking City in Switzerland. It is just 62km from Geneva, one of the Financial Centers in the world. The largest employment opportunity in Lausanne is for the services sector, followed by manufacturing and processed goods sector. INSEAD, on the other hand, has a three-campus structure: Fontainebleau (Main Campus), Singapore and Abu Dhabi. With this structure, students can leverage the strengths of each of the locations – Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Insead > IMD

3) Ranking

When you compare the average rank from two major rankings: Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, and The Economist Full-time MBA Ranking, INSEAD MBA program scored an average rank of 7 against IMD’s 22 with Insead at #1 for the latest Financial Times Global MBA ranking.

IMD vs Insead MBA Ranking

Ranking: Insead > IMD

4) Incoming Class Profile

The Small Class size (90) of IMD is represented by 39 nationalities with Average Experience of 7 Years and Average GMAT Score of 670. The women candidates in the class are at 19% against Insead’s 34%. INSEAD attracts less experienced candidates. The latest class had an average experience of 5.7 Years and Average GMAT Score of 707. The 1000-sized class however has better diversity in nationalities, represented by 93 nationalities.

The Majority of the INSEAD MBA Class has a background in Engineering (29%) and Business (33%). IMD is has a similar preference: Engineering (31%), Business/Finance (37%). 

The pre-MBA industry has one thing in common for the two incoming classes. Over 20% are from Consulting while 37% in IMD MBA program are from Manufacturing, while 23% make came from Financial Services for Insead MBA program.

IMD MBA program has an interesting mix of functional backgrounds: Finance (16%), Strategy & Planning (14%), Marketing & Sales (13%), Operations (13%), General Management (12%), IT (12%), Business Development (10%) and Project Management (10%). Diversity in job function is a higher priority for IMD – a strategy that might help the candidates get maximum value during peer to peer learning.

Diversity (Nationality): Insead > IMD
Diversity (Job Functions): IMD > Insead
Diversity (Women): Insead > IMD

5) Curriculum

In INSEAD, the core is divided into three periods with the first dedicated to Foundational courses in Financial Accounting, Marketing, Pricing, Strategy & Organizational Behavior. The second period digs deeper into courses to build the functional expertise for a management position. Finally, the third period gives a bigger picture on how the functional skills interoperate in an enterprise.
IMD has integrated a unique mix of streams – regular classes, projects, personal learning, and leadership Stream. The regular classes cover the core courses and train students to handle growth, change, and uncertainty. The projects give students hands-on experience in Entrepreneurship or Consulting. The personal learning plan allows students to pick up electives according to post-MBA goals. The leadership stream is integrated across the course, giving students the experience of working effectively within and with teams, handling the tough Business environment and learning how to influence individuals and teams across organizations.

Insead follows the traditional approach in core, but 9 themes of the electives offer candidates a wider choice in selecting post-MBA goals.

IMD Insead MBA Core Courses

9 Elective Themes (Insead)

• Accounting And Control
• Decision Sciences
• Economics And Political Science
• Entrepreneurship And Family Enterprise
• Finance
• Marketing
• Organisational Behaviour
• Strategy
• Technology And Operations Management

Curriculum Flexibility: Insead > IMD
Leadership Focus: IMD > Insead

6) Teaching Methodology

In INSEAD, students are divided into groups of 5 to 6 based on age, experience, gender, nationality, and background, making the group a mix of diverse students. This type of grouping gives each student the opportunity to learn from a wide range of experiences. There is no single tool for learning. The faculty utilizes case studies, project work, study tours, simulations and role-plays for teaching.

IMD stresses on action learning where students are encouraged to use the knowledge attained during the course to develop a plan of action, execute it, and observe the results. The tangible outputs from the action are used to build new skills and update the knowledge already attained through the class lectures. With just 90 students, the environment is ideal for team-based learning at a more personal level.

Experiential Learning:
Insead > IMD
Peer to Peer Learning: IMD > Insead

7) Exchange Programs

INSEAD MBA Students first have to pick one campus in France, Singapore, or Abu Dhabi as their home campus and then bid to get entry into exchange with Wharton or Kellogg. Students in the December Intake will have additional seats in Wharton for the exchange program. The three-campus structure allows students to learn various modules across campuses in Fontainebleau, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi.

IMD, however, does not offer an exchange program as such but the International Consulting project, The Discovery Expedition, and Asia Trek allow students to solve real problems across the globe. The previous international project and travel destinations include Singapore, India, Kenya, and Argentina.

Insead > IMD

8) Internships

For INSEAD January Intakes, there is a 6-Week Summer Internship opportunity. Companies who are interested in INSEAD MBA students create special projects to align with the student’s schedule. Because the 6-Week Internship can be at a Global location, the work-visa requirement has to be met for International students. IMD MBA program does not have internship opportunity.

Internship: Insead > IMD

9) Post MBA Salary

Even though location, class profile, and learning methods play a big role in selecting one school over the other, MBA aspirants often pick their school based on post-MBA Salary.

The median base Salary for IMD MBA students was $119,996 against INSEAD’s $102,500. Although the bonus payment was around the same range (22k to 25k), the base salary contributed towards the difference in total median salary. The primary reason for this $20k difference is the experience level of IMD MBA graduates (7 Years vs. INSEAD’s 5 Years).
IMD vs Insead Post-MBA Salary

Majority of IMD MBA graduates found job opportunities in Europe (71%), a much higher % than the total European representation in the incoming class (42%). Since 66% of the latest class switched geography, it is safe to assume that the largest group from that found opportunities in Europe. INSEAD Students received much lower job offers in Europe and 39% of the class joined companies in Europe but given the incoming class composition (38% from Europe), the net job offers in Europe was zero. With a three campus structure, INSEAD divides the program on geography while offering opportunity to switch job function or industry.

IMD vs Insead Post MBA Industry
When you look at the sectors that found favor among INSEAD MBA graduates, Consulting leads with 46%, and Finance was a distant second at 14%.

The Top 5 Recruiters in 2016 were McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Amazon, and Strategy&.

The diversity of sectors in which IMD MBA graduates found opportunities were evident according to the latest Post-MBA Placement report. Corporate sector as a whole (Energy, Education, Travel, Public Sector, Transportation / Logistics, Corporate Services) found the maximum representation at 69%, followed by Consulting (29%), manufacturing (17%) and Pharma (16%).

Some of the top recruiters in IMD were McKinsey & Company, Hilti, The Boston Consulting Group, Amazon, Syngenta, Straumann Group, Siemens, Danaher and Aquilo Sports.

Post-MBA Salary:
IMD > Insead
Post-MBA (Consulting): Insead > IMD
Post-MBA (Finance): Insead > IMD
Post-MBA (Manufacturing): IMD > Insead
Post-MBA (Healthcare & Pharma): IMD > Insead
Post-MBA (Europe Placement): IMD > Insead

10) Career Service

Both IMD and INSEAD MBA Career Service team prepare students for the interview, enable networking, and bring some of the best companies to the campus. To give you a perspective of the effectiveness of the career service, let us look at one metric - Ratio of Recruiters to Students during on-campus recruitment. INSEAD brings 1 recruiter for every 2 students, while IMD brings 1 recruiters for every 1 students. However, do note that Insead’s class size is 10 times that of IMD and a 6% are Entrepreneurs not seeking employment.

11) Alumni Network

INSEAD’s Alumni has 49,535 members worldwide with a reach of over 173 countries. The school offers networking opportunities with recruiters from consulting, financial, healthcare, and high-tech sectors. Over 50% of INSEAD students find their first post-grad jobs either through the Global Alumni Network or INSEAD Career Service.

IMD Alumni Network has over 75,000 executives spread across 140 countries. The interesting statistics to note here is that over 90% of IMD alumni are in leadership positions – 45% in Senior Management and 27% at board level.

Further Reading
Comprehensive MBA Research Guide
Insead MBA Essay Guide
Insead MBA


Although both IMD and INSEAD are in the same league, IMD is a more favorable program for students interested in a career in Industry, Pharma & Manufacturing sectors while INSEAD is a clear favorite for Consulting and Finance. IMD however, is not that far behind in consulting too.

For students who are interested in a small class size and to work in the mid-level executive position, post-MBA, IMD is the MBA program for you. For Career Switchers, INSEAD is your school.

Hope you liked our extensive analysis. To check whether your profile is ideal for IMD or Insead MBA program, subscribe to our Detailed Profile Evaluation Service

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