Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Weakness 2: INSEAD MBA is too short, too shallow

With 10 months, that is a most valid concern. Adding to that, the Party Hard culture, new environments (discovering France, discovering Asia), new people you meet (taking time to befriend), make it even less time to study and work on projects. After all, there's a 24 hour limit to a day...
I could say that it is a continuity to the corporate world, that it's a matter of prioritising. Fast pace is the single most striking characterisitic of today's world. Etc etc.

At the end of the day though, what really matters is your objectives. Will INSEAD help you reach them?
In my case, I came in with clear learning objectives: using the School's expertise in some fields on some of my sponsor's business/strategic issues, and doing the Entrepreneurial Path. I only applied to INSEAD, and would not have done an MBA in 2 years.
To me, BSchools will go the 1 year model. Consider that the 2 year model is as much a cultural inheritance as a necessity. It's still the model from 1900 Industrial America. I discussed with an exchange participant from Wharton, who claimed that the second year is very much about job search.

Thus, it clearly becomes a matter of goals and experience. If you come right out from undergrad (or so), chances are you'll be hugely disappointed. If, like me, you have more than 5-6 years of experience, it's just the right format -for all stakeholders (partners, sponsors, families) as well.
Of course, there are always some frustrations: having more of VOBM for instance, more time to speak to guests, to work on cases, on projects.
I believe the answer that the School is providing is the following -this is only my call, and I'm a notorious over-thinker. Because students are students, in the sense that the more you give them time, the more they will take time (to have fun), lengthening the programme will not add any depth to personal experiences. What the School seems to be doing (or how I experience it), is provide Paths. Take my case. P1 and P2 could be viewed as general, but I had personal takeaways in Entrepreneurship because I knew what I wanted to get out of the MBA. Then, even though VOBM seemed short, it was complemented by other levels of learning in Family Business, Negotiations (a little). Then in P4, I know that it'll tie nicely with Realising Entrepreneurial Potential REP, New Business Ventures NBV, and Industry Competitiv Analysis ICA. In this perspective, Entrepreneurship is not restricted to a single course VOBM. All others build on it, and complements one another.
The real frustration, in that regards, does not come from shallowness, but availability. I would have felt the experience incomplete (hence shallow) if I could not take all these electives. In reality, I did not get all of them, not even auditing rights, but I'll still attend the courses I need for my path. I don't think any Prof. could spot me and ask me to leave, right?

So, too short? I would say not, but it depends on your particular cases. In the end, consumers always want more, but they don't know why. It's not more that matters, it's better, and more available.

To skim through the History of the MBA:

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