INSEAD MBA Essay 1 Tips: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person)

Essay 1: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary (approximately 500 words).

This essay perhaps is one of the toughest questions to answer, not because of the complexity of the question, but for most of us, writing about our weakness is an ego buster. INSEAD MBA Admissions team knows that leaders have one unifying quality – “they have an encyclopedic awareness of their Strengths and Weaknesses.”

Why is Self-Awareness Important?

Self-awareness evaluates your leadership quality. If you have never reflected, at least informally, about your weakness, you are blinded by the halo of grandiose – a quality that is cited as the major reason why top performing professionals are rejected from the application pool.

Team Building

The value of self-awareness is not limited to your emotional intelligence but acts as the foundation for team building. A competent team needs functional experts. While recruiting, leaders have to pick individuals who complement their skills. Even if a team leader picks the right mix of skills and temperament, the dynamic nature of the technology landscape and consumer preferences means leaders have:

1) To continuously monitor the skills of the team
2) Set up training schedule based on the team’s strengths and weaknesses
3) Set up training program according to changing markets

During the learning process, to develop new skills and mitigate the risk of skill deficiency, teams have to collect real-time feedback about the experience. After the training, the leader has to evaluate whether the acquired skills have helped the candidates.

Evaluating weaknesses and strengths of the team as a unit, and at an individual level is a skill that Managers and leaders should possess. Without a clear understanding about the skills, tasks will be misallocated, problems will remain unresolved, and projects delayed.

Emotional Intelligence

We are not talking about excessive self-praise. Even high-performing team needs a leader who recognizes the fears and insecurities of the team and takes small but essentials steps to ease the tension.

For INSEAD, they want candidates who can recognize their and the team’s strengths and weaknesses. This quality would play a major role during negotiations, sales pitch, and motivating the team towards challenging goals.


When you describe your strengths and weaknesses, don’t just list them out in a plain vanilla form. Use one life-changing event to demonstrate your strengths, and cite the weaknesses that you had to overcome to meet the goals, jump a hurdle, or overcome a setback. Overcoming a setback is a narrative that will encapsulate both weaknesses (the reason for your setback), and strengths (overcoming them).

The most common essays are about Time Management with four variations:

1) A key member leaves the team.

Will the departure lead to missed deadlines?

2) A complex project assigned to an inexperienced team.

Is delay inevitable?

3) An unforeseen problem starts to plague the schedule.

Will the problem cause the team to miss the final deadline?

4) An overbearing customer adds requirements at the last stage of the project.

Will the change in scope, impact project delivery and team morale?


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Testimonial - Insead MBA Essay Guide

"I zone out whenever an essay asks me to write about Strengths and Weakneses. I downloaded a few sample essays and found what other applicants had written, but it never helped me to write as my true self. F1GMAT's Insead MBA Essay Guide gave a process to shortlist strengths and weaknesses at a personal and for the role I was assigned. Now this is what makes the book special. The Essay Tips chapter showed the power of "W" pattern narrative while citing strengths and weaknesses. I understood why the Essay Question is important at the end of the exercise. " - Verified Purchase

"My first draft had a few achievements that looked silly after reading the Essay Guide. The IMPACT table gives clarity to what you have achieved, right to the dollar terms. The Strengths, weakneses, and how to use narrative were other tips that I used for my essay." - Verified Purchase

"The 16 Personality type test was a starter kit for finding my strengths and weaknesses. I was surprised by the result. Thank you!" - Verified Purchase

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Insead MBA Essay #1

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Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

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