INSEAD. The European Institute of Business Administration

The A-Z of Business schools
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The Independent Online
Age: 39

History: One of the first business schools in Europe. Set up after the Treaty of Rome by a group of far-sighted Frenchmen who fancied the idea of a truly European school for management education modelled on the top US business schools. Heavy input by Harvard - the US business school donated books to help to establish the library.

Address: Fontainebleau, 65km from Paris, on the edge of the forest.

Ambience: Modern buildings plus new additions including amphitheatres, offices, a fitness centre and dining areas set in 10 acres near the chateau. Lively, informal campus life. Lots of social activities. Students work and play hard. Campus accommodation is available but rarely used. Students prefer to rent in the private sector.

Vital statistics: The ultimate elite international business school, INSEAD takes the best and brightest (eg our very own Eurosceptic William Hague) and sends them out to conquer all. Participants benefit from a heady mix of intense study, intellectual debate and student-style high-jinks. Strong friendships result and long-lasting loyalty to the school. There are 600 par- ticipants on the one-year MBA - mainly young managers who are after international careers.

Added value: Strong partnerships with companies. The Euro-Asia Centre gives close links with Asian businesses. MBA electives include "Understanding Japanese Business" and "Business in China". You can also take a study trip to Asia. Extensive network comprises 15,000 alumni.

Easy to get into? No. You need a good degree, four to five years' work experience (but no minimum requirement), fluency in English, a second language plus high GMAT scores (way higher than Harvard's).

Association of MBA's accreditation: Yes.

Glittering alumni: Helen Alexander, chief economist, the Economist; Claude Brunet, chief ceo, Ford France; Kenneth Courtis, strategist and chief economist, Deutsche Bank Asia-Pacific; Simon J Critchell, president and ceo, Cartier; Vivien Godrey, vice president, Haagen Dazs; William Hague, leader of the Conservatives, UK; Lindsay Owen Jones, ceo, L'Oreal; Sir Andrew Large, deputy chairman, Barclays Bank; Lord Simon of Highbury, minister for Trade and Competitiveness, ex-ceo of BP.

International connections: No nationality is allowed to exceed 15 per cent, so it's pretty multicultural. Faculty has been recruited from all over the world. Now 101 professors represent 24 nationalities. Students come from 50 nationalities.

Gurus: Chan Kim, whose articles on the knowledge economy are all-time bestsellers of Harvard Business Review reprints; Herbert Gatignon, marketing professor; Luk Van Wassenhove, world expert in operations management.

Student profile: Average age of MBA students is 28.5. Only 18 per cent are women.

Cost: Around pounds 15,000.

Return on investment: You will be able to say you're an INSEAD graduate and network for the rest of your life.

Who's the boss? Economist Antonio Borges, former deputy governor of the Bank of Portugal.

Next week: Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris