Case Study | Breaking Boundaries: Natalie's Journey from Banking to Consulting at INSEAD

Natalie, a Singaporean female professional with nine years of experience in the banking sector, embarked on the challenging journey of applying to top MBA programs. Despite being considered a "late applicant" due to her extensive work experience, Natalie was determined to pursue a full-time MBA rather than an Executive MBA, seeking the transformative experience of a traditional MBA program. With strategic guidance, we addressed her career progression concerns and crafted a compelling narrative that highlighted her unique background as a first-generation Singaporean and her expertise at the intersection of technology and banking. Our tailored approach led to her acceptance at INSEAD, an internship in consulting with a return offer, and a senior-level position at another leading investment bank.

Singaporean female applicant with 9 years of experience

Application Round: Round 1 (Sept Intake)

Natalie is what we call a “late applicant.” She had experienced remarkable career progression with a leading bulge bracket investment bank, being fast-tracked through most of her promotions. As she approached her first decade in her career, the call to pursue an MBA grew stronger. When we initially met with her, we advised her to wait one or two more years to apply for the INSEAD EMBA. We were concerned that her opportunity cost might be too high and didn’t want the MBA to derail her career. However, fully aware of this risk, Natlie was adamant about experiencing the full MBA journey and strongly preferred the full-time program.


Our primary challenge with Natalie was her years of experience. INSEAD tends to softly reject applicants nearing the 10-year mark of work experience (towards their EMBA), so we had to strategically address this to ensure her application stood out.

Strategic Approach

Our approach was two-fold: 1. We wanted to minimize the risk exposure for Natalie from a career perspective, and quickly secured a non-binding return offer from Natalie's firm to mitigate her career risk, ensuring she had a safety net post-MBA; 2. We wanted to present realistic and achievable career goals.Based on our experience with a similar candidate a few years earlier, we knew that a placement in a consulting firm, though uncommon, was feasible. Given Natalie's extensive experience at the intersection of technology and banking (digital transformation), we were confident that her profile would be highly attractive to leading consulting firms.

Vision Crafting

We wanted to beat the odds by presenting Natalie authentically as both an exceptional person and a remarkable professional. Beyond her stellar career, Natalie is a first-generation Singaporean who embraced the challenges of living in a foreign country for most of her adult life. This unique aspect of her journey allowed us to craft a compelling persona that resonated perfectly with what INSEAD seeks in candidates. In the optional essay, we specifically addressed her career trajectory and motivations for pursuing a full-time MBA, building a powerful and persuasive narrative. We thought that proactively addressing this main weakness would be the most effective way to overcome it. 


Aadrika received an offer at INSEAD, completed an internship in Consulting (with return offer) and joined another leading bulge bracket investment bank at a more senior level.


Odds are meant to be beaten, and with the right strategy, they can be. We successfully helped Natalie, along with several others in similar situations, achieve their goals. Our approach proves that with tailored strategies and a compelling narrative, even the most challenging odds can be overcome. We remain committed to assisting more applicants like Natalie,  so if you are a “late applicant” do not hesitate to reach out and we will be in touch with you!

Words from Natalie:

"Earlier this year, I decided to apply to the MBA program at INSEAD, after debating about applying for an MBA program for a few years. A friend referred me to Jonathan and I am very glad to have received his advice and guidance throughout the application process. From my first conversation he was very encouraging and asked not just about the MBA but about my broader career goals and the various alternatives outside of the MBA to help me achieve the same. This helped understand my true motivation to apply and set the tone for my story. My GMAT score was in the average range and I needed someone who would guide me through the areas that I could focus on. The brainstorming sessions helped me articulate my strengths and long term goals which are critical parts of the essays. He was very friendly and approachable throughout the application process which made the overall process less intimidating. I am grateful for his support, guidance and mentorship which was instrumental in helping me achieve my admission offer."

Related posts

Explore More Related Posts


Maximize your MBA application success with a free 60-minute session with an MBA coach. Gain personalized insights on your profile and discover key actionable steps to enhance your application outcomes!
Thank You!
You will be hearing from us soon!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.