Case Study | From Education Consulting to Global Strategy: Mark's Journey to an INSEAD MBA

Mark, a first-generation college graduate with a diverse career in education consulting, faced challenges in gaining recognition from top business schools. After being a reapplicant, he successfully pivoted to corporate strategy and leveraged his international experience and finance credentials to secure admission to INSEAD. Post-MBA, he joined a leading consulting firm in the UAE and rapidly advanced to Engagement Manager. His journey exemplifies the power of strategic career planning and the ability to turn unconventional backgrounds into strengths.

American male applicant with 8 years of experience

Application Round: Round 3 (Sept Intake)

Mark's career path has been unusual and diverse. As a first-generation college graduate, he attended one of the best business schools for his undergraduate studies. He then left promising career opportunities to pursue an international career in the education sector. Additionally, he completed a part-time MS in Finance in China and earned his CFA. While his background is interesting and varied, it also posed several challenges.


Although Mark's experience is diverse, with stints in the UAE and China, the majority of his career was spent as an education consultant. This kind of role is not typically highly regarded by top business schools and firms. Additionally, Mark had applied to top business schools the previous year and needed to overcome the challenge of being a reapplicant.

Strategic Approach

Given his aspirations, consulting was an obvious career choice for Mark. We quickly identified INSEAD as the ideal MBA program for him due to the following reasons:

  • International Experience: INSEAD's admissions committee highly values extensive international experience, and Mark's experience across the Middle East and China was highly valuable. 
  • Consulting Placement: INSEAD's exceptional placement record in consulting would facilitate Mark's career pivot into management consulting.
  • Middle East Opportunities: Considering Mark's background in the UAE, we were confident he could secure a role with a leading consulting firm there, especially given the rapid expansion of their Middle East operations.
  • US Spotlight: Being a US applicant gave Mark a distinct advantage as INSEAD actively seeks top US graduates to rival elite US business schools.

Vision Crafting

To strengthen his profile, Mark had pivoted his career from education consulting to corporate strategy with a leading manufacturer in the year prior to his application. This successful transition showcased his ability to leverage his MS in Finance and CFA credentials to navigate a significant career change. By highlighting this strategic pivot, we demonstrated his capability to adapt and excel in different environments. It also helped us highlight the easiness of his career transition with the INSEAD MBA. 


Accepted. He joined a leading consulting firm in the UAE upon graduating and was promoted to Engagement Manager within two years, and has been pursuing a global career with the firm ever since. 


Mark's journey is a testament to how unconventional paths can lead to success with the right strategy. By aligning his diverse background with his future goals, we crafted a compelling narrative that highlighted his strengths and addressed potential concerns, ultimately positioning him as a strong candidate for the INSEAD MBA program.

Words from Liam:

"Jonathan did an amazing job at helping me achieve admission to my first-choice school - INSEAD - and guiding me through my entire MBA application process. Jonathan knew exactly what INSEAD was looking for and the best way to sell myself and my background to the program. Jonathan was very easy and efficient to work with and his advice was succinct, impactful and insightful. I highly recommend him to any other prospective MBA candidates.” 

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