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IMD Dean Talks About Admissions, Future in P&Q Interview

IMD dean Seán Meehan has sat down for an interview with Poets & Quants, sharing his perspective on MBA admissions and the future of IMD’s program.

In the last year, interest in IMD’s small but prestigious MBA program has spiked, with applications rising by 63 percent.

According to Meehan, that jump is thanks to last year’s Forbes ranking of international one-year MBA programs. IMD finished first in that ranking, edging out INSEAD.

But Meehan emphasizes that the result wasn’t a fluke. Over the last several years, the school has been streamlining its admissions process to be more attractive to applicants.

Some steps the school has taken include lowering its application fee, shortening the time until applicants hear back, and adding a “fast track” option in which highly competitive applicants can do an online interview rather than going to “assessment day” in person. 

Of course, the school hasn’t only been revamping its admissions process. Meehan says IMD continues to refine the MBA program itself. He says the school is planning for a future that it sees as more digital, more international and more entrepreneurial, and that it has been updating its offerings accordingly.

Naturally, Poets & Quants asked Meehan the question on the minds of all MBA applicants: how does IMD, which now has an admit rate of 28 percent, select students for its program?

Meehan says the school looks for people who both have “the ambition to lead” and who are willing to learn and grow. After all, he says the program is about “training and developing” leaders, so the school wants students who are able to evolve.

In his interview, Meehan offers several pieces of advice for candidates. These include to “be yourself” and, on a more practical note, to get a letter of recommendation from an alum if it’s an option. He says an alum’s opinion carries weight because “they know what you’re getting into.”

Finally, Meehan points out that many different kinds of information can be helpful in painting a picture of who you are for the adcom. In his words: “All sorts of examples can show us your leadership potential, from your work, private life, hobbies and sacrifices you’ve made along the way.”

This emphasis on the three-dimensional story of who you are as an applicant is one that’s common at top business schools. For example, while IMD has a clear preference for applicants with high GMAT scores, Meehan says that in some cases a powerful story can even make up for a low GMAT.

At EXPARTUS, our approach is to help you figure out how to assemble the different aspects of who you are into a coherent and compelling personal brand.

We focus on this goal because, as Meehan’s interview highlights, applicants who can make their unique personal strengths obvious to adcoms are at a major advantage. If you want feedback on specifically what areas should anchor your own personal brand, we’re happy to help – just ask us for a free assessment!