Faculty & Research
Learn about the ideas, innovation and inquiry driving academic excellence
The multiple waves of Covid-19 during 2020/2021 brought continued uncertainty for both research and teaching. Policies on in-person meetings and in-person access to data constantly changed, which exerted a direct impact on our faculty’s ability to conduct research. Likewise, policies on in-person teaching and school opening also changed frequently, leading to last-minute changes to staffing and delivery modes. These uncertainties required professors to be flexible and agile, which exerted an indirect pressure on their research.
Despite the myriad challenges, our faculty rose to the occasion and maintained their exceptional research output in terms of both quality and quantity. During the academic year, our faculty collectively published 155 peerreviewed papers, many in top or “A-level” journals. In March 2021, the school rose 15 places to #3 in the research category of the Financial Times global MBA ranking, helping us to regain the #1 spot overall. In the other major league table of scholarship, the UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings, INSEAD remains by far the highest placed institution outside the US and the only standalone business school in the top 40.
For the first time in many years, we recruited no new resident faculty members over the course of 2020/2021. However, in September 2021, we were proud to welcome Lite J. Nartey as Visiting Professor of Strategy and the inaugural professor of our new INSEAD Africa Initiative Fellow Programme – see the Centres and Initiatives section to learn more about the INSEAD Africa Initiative. The academic recruitment process has now resumed in preparation for September 2022. Meanwhile, with few departures or retirements in 2020/2021, the strength and depth of our faculty has been maintained.
Although cultural diversity remains a key strength, INSEAD continues to strive for greater gender diversity among its professors. While the overall percentage of faculty who are women now stands at 23%, it is close to 40% among junior ranks. We are currently working towards a public commitment for women to comprise 50% of new faculty hires as part of our membership of the HeForShe Alliance.
Gender remains a significant research topic, as well as a key theme for teaching materials developed by faculty. To underline our commitment, in May 2021 the INSEAD Gender Initiative co-hosted the third Diversity, Equity and Inclusion academic meeting, with delegates from all leading business schools.
The school took time during the year to strengthen its internal processes and governance, with a complete revision of the Faculty Guidelines. There were also several promotions, effective as of 1 September 2021, notably: Paulo Albuquerque (Marketing) to Full Professor; Michaël Bikard (Strategy) and Henning Piezunka (Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise) to Associate Professors with Tenure; and Erin Meyer (Organisational Behaviour) to Professor of Management Practice.
The other main changes of the year concerned leadership of the Faculty and Research departments. In January 2021, Javier Gimeno assumed the role of Dean of Faculty, taking over from Laurence Capron, under whose management the faculty achieved record size and gender-balanced recruitment. Professor Gimeno (Strategy) has been at INSEAD since 2001. He has an outstanding record in research, teaching and programme direction, and has won many awards over the course of his career. He has already held the leadership positions of Dean of Executive MBA and Academic Director of the PhD Programme, and currently holds two Chairs: the Aon Dirk Verbeek Chair in International Risk and Strategic Management and the Sauvage Family Endowed Chair for Academic Excellence.
In September 2021, Lily Fang (Finance), took over as Dean of Research from Ziv Carmon, who, during his tenure, significantly raised the level of support for INSEAD research, improved the conversion of scholarly output for consumption by practitioners and worked closely with other departments, such as Advancement. Professor Fang conducts pioneering research to understand the impact of mass media on financial markets. Her broad research interests also include intellectual property rights protection, innovation, and workers’ social capital and career outcomes, especially in terms of gender difference. She has a deep appreciation of collaboration across all areas of business scholarship and is the AXA Chaired Professor in Financial Market Risk.
In addition to the nine areas representing traditional academic subjects, INSEAD also has 17 cross-disciplinary hubs of faculty and research excellence. Each has its own distinctive remit, usually involving a combination of research, teaching and engagement with business practitioners.
In 2020/2021, the foundation of the INSEAD Africa Initiative marked another milestone in our long and rich relationship with the continent. The new initiative’s mission is to develop and disseminate the best of business insights across this vast and diverse region of 54 countries, with its great cultural heritage, unique values, wealth of natural resources and incredible flair for innovation. As an institution, we believe that business has tremendous potential to be a force for good in Africa and, through the creation of the Initiative, seek to support organisations that are driving economic, societal and environmental progress there.
Under the academic leadership of Professor Prashant Yadav, Technology and Operations Management, the Africa Initiative has already held several events and is helping to boost the school’s research about the continent.
Another noteworthy addition is the INSEAD Marketing & Sales Excellence Initiative. Co-directed by marketing professors, Wolfgang Ulaga and Christoph Senn, its primary objective is to provide a global meeting space for senior executives to learn, create new knowledge, disseminate insights, and share best practices with peers who share an interest in marketing and sales.
In March 2021, another recently formed pole of research excellence, the INSEAD China Initiative held its inaugural conference – virtually. Conducted over two half days, the event brought leading scholars and practitioners together to discuss the highly topical theme of “Organisational Innovation in a Deglobalised World”.
Other than academic research, INSEAD produces a range of reports for practitioners in partnership with corporate sponsors. These include the annual Global Innovation and Global Talent Competitiveness Indices, both topped by Switzerland in 2020/2021. Research for the latest editions focuses on innovation and talent as a driver for emerging from crises.
The INSEAD Corporate Governance Centre also conducts regular surveys and reports on the results. In January, it published “Leadership in AI 2021: boards, barriers and new beginnings” in collaboration with Board Agenda and Mazars. The headline finding was that, despite considerable interest in AI and expectations for imminent implementation, many organisations and their boards lack the knowledge and skills to make this happen.
As usual, INSEAD faculty won their usual abundance of awards and competitions during the academic year. However, in June 2021 there was a rare celebration indeed: a “Festschrift” symposium in honour of economics professor, Philippe Aghion – and his co-author Peter Howitt – to mark the 30th anniversary of their book, A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction. The four-day Zoom event united more than a hundred distinguished economists and was addressed by French President, Emmanuel Macron.
Other notable achievements for celebration include the election of Steve Chick, Novartis Chaired Professor of Healthcare Management, as a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in honour of his lifetime contributions to the subject. Professor Theos Evgeniou was also appointed as a World Economic Forum Academic Partner for Artificial Intelligence.
In addition, Philip Anderson, the INSEAD Alumni Fund Chaired Professor of Entrepreneurship, became the fifth winner of the INSEAD Dominique Héau Award for Inspiring Education Excellence. The award celebrates the recipient’s passion for teaching, pedagogical innovation and mentoring of colleagues – all traits shared by the late and much-missed Professor Dominique Héau.
As the world began to emerge from the pandemic, INSEAD Knowledge was there to support business practitioners with free, practical and topical content based on the school’s research and the views of faculty members and prominent alumni. Updated daily, with its dynamic mix of articles, blogs and video interviews, the platform also makes INSEAD articles available for publication by the world’s press at a time when so many people are seeking inspiration.
2020/2021 saw the launch of the INSEAD Knowledge LinkedIn Showcase page, designed not only to increase usage of the website, app and newsletter, but also to promote INSEAD research and teaching. During the year, Knowledge, along with other media-outreach activities, helped INSEAD gain a higher global “share of voice” than almost any other business school in the world – behind only Wharton and Harvard.