IMD Business School MBA Application Insider

What do you need to know to ace your IMD Business School MBA application? We speak to Anna Farrus, director of MBA recruitment and admissions at Switzerland's top business school, to find out

The IMD Business School MBA is triple-accredited and ranked first in Switzerland and 19th globally by the Financial Times.

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The one-year MBA program is known for its strong leadership stream, and the school’s admissions team is looking for genuine candidates with a strong interest in business. That's reflected in the IMD MBA curriculum, which alongside leadership focuses heavily on digitalization, entrepreneurship, and global thinking. 

The classroom is academically rigorous, with an average GMAT score of 680 among students. The IMD MBA is also one for career switchers, with 97% changing function, industry, or geography after graduation. 

So how can you join the IMD MBA? BusinessBecause spoke to Anna Farrus (above), director of MBA recruitment and admissions at IMD, to find out how you can stand out in your application.


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What do you look for in your MBA applicants?

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The focus of the IMD MBA is leadership and personal development, so we’re looking for applicants who demonstrate the potential to develop an awareness of their existing strengths and weaknesses. 

Having an open mindset, accepting other’s opinions, and being able to work in diverse teams is also something we're looking for. In addition, applicants need to show a willingness to explore what really makes them tick and possess a desire to learn, strong values, and the intellectual ability to complete the program.  


What’s the biggest mistake you can make in an MBA application?

Participants sometimes focus too much on telling us what they think we want to hear, instead of just being their true selves. This can lead to inconsistency in their overall story, but more importantly, our goal is to see if IMD is the right fit for them, their personality, and their goals. 

Our whole admissions process is geared towards really getting to know everyone. By being genuine we often get to see things that the applicant might have overlooked that can help us to understand either why the IMD MBA is the right fit or to explain why it might not be.  


What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in an MBA application?

I could write a book with some of the things I've seen and read in some applications. However, the most memorable applications are those that paint a true picture of the applicant. What are their past experiences, what are their aspirations, and what do they have to offer? That’s all we want to know.


What questions should candidates expect in their admission interview?

Our questions are based on filling in any gaps from the application and better understanding the individual, their personality, drive, goals, and values; their ability to work in a team and their leadership potential; their achievements and cultural awareness; their adaptability and self-awareness; their analytical and problem-solving skills versus their ability to think out of the box; their ability to inspire and be inspired. 

We love the curveball questions, but they are typically inspired by the context of the conversation we are having. One question they should always expect is “Why an MBA?”. 


Can you tell us one thing about the application process at IMD that most people wouldn’t know?

Our interview process is quite unique and so much more than just an interview. Shortlisted candidates are asked to participate in an assessment day which has been designed to help us get to know each individual very well, and to see them in action. 

During this time, among other things, we observe their interactions and how they collaborate with each other; their communication and listening skills; their cross-cultural awareness, their drive; and their assertiveness. 

This helps us to create a diverse but balanced class of experienced, mature, and globally-minded participants who can learn from and work with each other, and form life-long bonds.

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