Insead Essay 2 Tips: Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned (approximately 400 words).
Don’t get intimidated by the word ‘achievement’. The school is not just targeting the Type A candidates. They are more interested in candidates who have a perspective about their achievement in the grand scheme of things. Awareness about your career and personal growth is what the school is measuring with the essay, but there are some basic guidelines that you should adhere to, before shortlisting your proudest achievement. Since Essay 3 asks about your extra-curricular activities, use this essay only to mention your professional accomplishment.
1) List five professional achievements.
We normally ask our clients to list ten achievements, but since the scope is only for professional achievements, let us stick to five.
2) Five Themes: In MBA Application essays, five themes of professional achievements are used:
• Income Earned: This can be in the form of profit, revenue (gross or net), profit per Employee, or other long-term impacts of your contribution. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is the veracity of the data. Use a conservative estimate if you have information about the project revenue but limited information about the dollar value of your contribution. We have often seen candidates exaggerating income earned by quoting their contribution at values much higher than the revenue of the company.
• Time Saved: Any contribution where you saved money for the team/company involve exceeding the speed of execution of your competitors or saving time for the company. This can be from efficient scheduling, innovative solutions, or leadership that motivated the team to push beyond what is expected of them. Mention your role when you cite time saved as an achievement. Time saved will have no context unless you can translate it into dollars earned.
• Money Saved: Money saved is a theme used by candidates when they quote an innovative solution as their biggest achievement. One of our clients used part of the proceeds of the patent he sold for joining a premier MBA program. But more importantly, he was able to articulate the investment required by the purchasing company had they developed the solution from scratch – a cost that was 14x times higher than the cost of the patent.
• Enhance Brand Value: For candidates with Marketing background, enhancing brand value is a commonly cited achievement. Marketers will have a better sense of how the campaign translated to sales, but more importantly, they should be able to articulate how fast and wide the messages reached in Social Media and attracted visits to the client’s website/app.
• Size of the responsibility: Candidates should be able to demonstrate the size of the responsibility by quoting the budget, size of the client company (dollar terms – revenue, profit/employee), size of the project (team size, size of the account, budget), or the reach of their products/service/campaign.
3) Support the scale of your achievement by mentioning awards won, interviews published in leading newspaper/magazine, or other publically verifiable information. Even if it was just an appreciation letter from the client, quote a few lines from the letter. There is nothing more annoying than someone listing achievements without backing them up with recommendation letters or public data.
4) Create an IMPACT Table
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