Following the debut of the GMAT’s integrated reasoning (IR) section in 2012, it wasn’t entirely clear how much emphasis top schools placed upon its importance. This 12-question, 30-minute section is scored on a 1 to 8 scale, separately from the total GMAT score, which tops out at 800. Its key elements include table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning and two-part analysis, presenting a multifaceted challenge that mercilessly withholds partial credit, even for answers to multi-part questions.
Back in 2015, INSEAD was among the programs that said it wasn’t weighting IR scores in its evaluation criteria. But over the last five years, INSEAD and other programs have accumulated a strong body of data on IR scores from candidates and students, and how it correlates with academic performance. Now, INSEAD is placing greater emphasis upon IR score.
“For the selection process, we intend to include the IR section of the GMAT in our evaluation as of the September 2018 intake. It seems to be a good additional element to predict academic performance on the programme, says INSEAD Admissions Director Virginie Fougea. “We also suspect that the IR section could be a good indicator of the capacity for problem solving, critical thinking, judgment and decision making, skills that we definitely try to identify during the application process. The current average of IR scores is above 6, so we now recommend that applicants target a score close to 6 or above.”
Virginie puts INSEAD’s perspective into the context of its programmatic evolution and the introduction of the Personal Leadership Development Programme, or PLDP. “The major change is not on the admissions side, but rather on the Programme Management side with the curriculum review and the introduction, as of this August, of a Personal Leadership Development Programme,” says Virginie. “The PLDP is designed to provide students with a new standard of excellence in personal and interpersonal awareness, skills, and communication effectiveness. It introduces a set of tools and experiences throughout the MBA programme that will give them opportunities to enhance their short-term and long-term career success. In a sense, this is slightly influencing our selection process as we are even more looking at skills like emotional intelligence, creativity and cognitive flexibility.”