See the strong ties bringing the INSEAD community closer than ever before
Before reporting on the events of 2020/2021, we would like to thank all members of our 63,000-strong alumni community, especially our volunteers and our donors. It is thanks to your support – moral, practical and financial – that we are emerging from crisis to such a position of strength.
Indeed, despite the limitations on in-person events, our alumni community is closer and stronger than ever before, with record levels of engagement. And despite the economic uncertainty, this was a fundraising year that surpassed all expectations and eclipsed all targets.
The umbrella for all ongoing INSEAD fundraising activities is “The Campaign for INSEAD: A Force for Good”. At the end of 2020/2021 new gifts and pledges toward the Campaign, since we started counting in 2013, totalled an amazing €277 million.
Thanks to our incredible donors, the Campaign has surpassed all our expectations. Our thanks go out to everyone who has given. But big thanks are also due to the early investors in the school’s Endowment Fund. Launched in 1995 to provide stability in times of uncertainty, it stood at €351 million in August 2021. The Endowment has now helped the school to weather a worldwide financial crisis and a global pandemic.
In 2020/2021, the annual fundraising total went just over €25 million, received 5,087 individual donors. This is a record level of participation, which has had a major impact on the school in a year of continuing upheaval. Overall, with 13,700 unique campaign donors by the end of the academic year, we are well on track to reach our participation goal by the end of the Campaign. It is truly extraordinary to have so many friends, alumni, faculty, staff and volunteers who believe in our vision and leadership.
Our annual target was exceeded largely due to major and principal gift donors who gave generously to research, scholarships and the Dean’s Fund this year, together with fellow members of the alumni community whose annual and leadership support was similarly invaluable to these areas. Of particular note, the INSEAD drive for social and environmental progress was infused with a welcome boost with an endowed scholarship fund for students from Africa; a gift to develop material for a new online course on embedding the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in companies; donations to the school’s Gender Initiative; and funds to support case studies related to SDGs, social impact, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
We are proud to announce that the annual INSEAD Giving Day in June 2021 raised a record-breaking €1.3 million from 2,514 donors – including many staff and faculty. This was our second Giving Day of the pandemic, which made the results all the more impressive. We would particularly like to thank our Challenge Donors who helped to drive participation and giving. During Giving Day, Hong Kong-based graduates also kickstarted a North Asia Scholarship Fund.
The power of collective giving is that it creates a ripple effect through the generations. A prime example is the highly successful Robin Hood Scholarship Campaign undertaken by the class of MBA’21D. With the nudge of a participation challenge, some 401 classmates – 66% of the MBA’21D class – succeeded in unlocking extra funding. In total, nearly 900 students gave their first-ever gifts to INSEAD. They included our youngest ever donors, the pioneering MIM’21 class, who achieved a phenomenal participation rate of 92%.
Participation challenges also played a major part in Reunion Giving. Campaign Board members inspired the young alumni of MBA’19J&D as well as the MBA’16J&D classes in their five-year reunion class gift and the entire Young Alumni Initiative community.
In addition, 2020/2021 was a very successful year for the Dean’s Fund of unrestricted donations, which gives the school the flexibility to respond to urgent needs, whatever they might turn out to be. During the year, 2,492 donors gave a total of €2.6 million to provide some much-needed reactivity and financial impact as INSEAD began to emerge from crisis.
Even more impressively, the wider INSEAD Fund, which includes not only the Dean’s Fund but restricted funds for causes such as scholarships and research, had a record-breaking year. In 2020/2021, an extraordinary 5,087 donors – alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends – gave a total of €4.5 million. Their generosity provides the school with a steady annual income it can rely on to move its mission forward across areas of strategic importance.
Finally, a moving collective gift was launched in November 2020. Friends and colleagues of the late Michele Pedercini MBA’92J, including the Intesa Sanpaolo bank and its employees, donated a significant sum to create a scholarship in his memory for talented Italian MBA students.
As the disruptions of the pandemic continued, we know that many members of the global INSEAD community themselves faced economic uncertainty. Their record-breaking levels of generosity this year, along with the endowment built by previous donors, are therefore all the more remarkable – and more appreciated than ever. Thank you once again for your extraordinary support.
May 2021 marked the end of an era, as Sadia Khan MBA’95D stepped down from her role as President of the INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA). Sadia was our first-ever woman MBA graduate from Pakistan and stands as the longest-serving president of the IAA in the school’s history. Appointed to the role in 2015, she had a major impact on strengthening the partnership between the school, the IAA, the INSEAD Alumni Fund (IAF) and the alumni community as a whole. Along with an excellent IAA Executive Committee, she drove the recent expansion of networking, lifelong learning and career support for her fellow alumni. Her role has been vital in ensuring that we remained connected and united, as we progress – together – towards better times.
Fortunately, the IAA is continuing in strong hands. Sadia is succeeded as President by Frans Blom MBA’90D, who, beyond his MBA, also gained an INSEAD Certificate in Corporate Governance in 2020. Currently Senior Partner Emeritus at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Frans has had an impressive and extensive global career, including serving as a member of the BCG Global Executive Committee for six years and volunteering for INSEAD and other organisations. In 2018, he founded DenkWerk, a small, high-powered think tank devoted to critical societal issues.
Frans has appointed five new vice presidents to the IAA Executive Committee:
One of the joint initiatives developed under Sadia Khan’s leadership is the annual Alumni Recognition Awards. Although there was no glittering in-person ceremony in 2020/2021, the awards were presented virtually with as much enthusiasm. And the winners are...
Another joint IAA–INSEAD innovation that was initiated under Sadia’s leadership is our lifelong learning programme. It started with open online programmes for alumni at a deep discount and exploded during the pandemic with the development of free webinars featuring mainly faculty and alumni expert speakers. Today, lifelong learning is offered in a variety of old and new formats, including the popular alumni forums – in person and online – as well as the innovative online pop-up programmes, with a focus on important subjects such as strategy and social impact.
Across the year 2020/2021, lifelong learning developed more than 20 webinars, engaging more than 10,000 unique alumni on a range of topics from six thematic pillars: leadership development, business and society, digital and innovation, entrepreneurship, economics and geopolitics, and career development.
At the beginning of the year, yet another innovation was launched in partnership with the Career Development Centre. This was iLink, our new peer-to-peer advising and mentoring platform for alumni and students. By August 2021, more than 5,000 members of the INSEAD global community had connected on the platform.
Another new development was our first-ever all-digital Global INSEAD Day, our annual, worldwide celebration to mark the anniversary of our first MBA Opening Ceremony. In September 2021, this took the form of a 24-hour event, consisting of live webinars and celebrations around the world. This was also an opportunity to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the INSEAD Alumni Association, complete with a coffee-table style e-book.
Global INSEAD Day sent the message that, even though there was a pandemic, we were determined to stay connected with our alumni. Our amazing year of online events was attended by more than 15,000 alumni in total – a record-breaking level of engagement. We continued to experiment with new formats and digital platforms, and in April, we held our first-ever virtual Alumni Forum Europe in partnership with the National Alumni Association of Germany. The event brought together over 600 alumni and friends from throughout the world for two days of thought-provoking discussions on strategies for rebuilding and rebalancing business and society.
The annual cycle of Alumni Reunions also took place online – again with extraordinary levels of participation. Overall, between June 2020 and June 2021 more than 3,000 MBA graduates e-reunited at INSEAD, to celebrate between one and 45 years as alumni – and representing a magnificent 35% of the classes concerned. Despite the huge success of these Virtual events over the past two academic years, we very much look forward to welcoming our alumni back to campus in person in 2022. Gathering in person after a pandemic promises to be an especially powerful experience.