Meet the leaders driving organisational excellence at INSEAD
INSEAD has always been about the strong bonds and lifelong relationships forged between the diverse members of our global community. Yet, the strength of those bonds was sorely stretched during the Covid-19 pandemic as lockdowns and border closures made maintaining connections so much harder. While the school and community adapted remarkably, quickly shifting online to participate in virtual forums, webinars and reunions, there was no denying that the opportunity to meet face to face was deeply missed.
That explains the joy and relief that greeted the lifting of restrictions mid-way through this academic year. The school certainly made up for lost time, organising a host of different events and activities that breathed life back into our four locations and helped to reconnect our global family.
Staff were able to join faculty and students back on site, and the corridors and canteens were once again buzzing with colleagues catching up for lively debates and discussions. There is simply no way to replace the value of these impromptu interactions, which provide the chance for informal learning and offer fertile ground for developing new ideas and insights.
Sharing knowledge is such a central aspect of INSEAD’s mission as we aim to develop responsible leaders who can help make a positive difference to society after they leave us. We also understand the need to share and compare this knowledge with our peers in other academic institutions, which is why the resumption of conferences both on the INSEAD campuses and externally have been welcomed so warmly by our faculty.
The ability to return to campus was clearly a major boost for our Executive Education team, who were finally able to welcome back clients and programme participants after nearly two years of online delivery. And the good news was that they returned in record numbers, showing the unique and lasting attraction of in-person learning and adding to the vibrant feel on campus.
After the economic challenges of the past year, this was also incredibly important for our financial situation. As we welcomed a resumption of customised programmes, we were also able to see our revenues bounce back to reach pre-pandemic levels. This is testament to the hard work, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of all our staff over the past two years who have had to go above and beyond in their efforts to keep Leadership From the Chairman and Dean the school on a steady course during the most challenging period of our 60-year history.
It was therefore refreshing this year to be able to shift from an attitude of survival to a focus on developing innovations, investments and initiatives that would ensure the school is well-placed to grasp future opportunities. This was underlined through the resumption of hiring for both staff and faculty and the launch or resumption of a number of key projects.
This academic year saw us welcome our first head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as we redoubled our commitment to tackling this important topic (see special feature) and we continued to walk the talk when it came to sustainability through the announcement of a Carbon Reduction Pledge (see special feature). New programmes, pioneering initiatives and global academic partnerships were also among the key developments that you can read about in this Annual Report as we enjoyed an incredibly productive year on all fronts.
The academic year also saw us take the first important step in our efforts to redesign the Europe Campus, so that it can better support INSEAD in leading the future of business education with the purchase of the land and buildings formerly owned by The European Centre for Executive Development (CEDEP). This marks the first concrete action of the Europe Campus Renewal Project, a 10-year plan that will improve learning opportunities while ensuring we meet our inclusion and sustainability targets.
This important move was only made possible thanks to the backing of our global community. Their ongoing support during this difficult period has been essential and helped place us in a position of relative strength as we face up to an uncertain future. It also underlines why keeping our alumni engaged and active in the school and its mission is vital to our long-term success.
Special thanks must therefore go to all the volunteers who helped make the many gatherings organised and held this year by our National Alumni Associations such a success and for giving our alumni the chance to experience the pleasure of reconnecting after the period of enforced separation. The power of this reconnection was perhaps most evident at the annual Alumni Forum, which took place in New York in late March and early April.
However, even the highs of the forum could not touch the summer reunions when it came to scale and organisational complexity. As we celebrated the opportunity to come Together Again, our Europe Campus played host to over 7,600 alumni and friends from 57 classes over seven weekends stretching from June to October.
It was wonderful to see so many INSEAD alumni returning to re-engage with the school. Immense credit must also go to all the faculty, staff and suppliers who helped put together such an incredible series of events. It was a truly monumental effort but its impact on helping rebuild community connections was immeasurable.
The success of the reunions was even more remarkable when you consider that they were not the only gatherings taking place over the summer. June also saw an unprecedented six graduation and commencement ceremonies taking place in Singapore and Fontainebleau, two of them happening on the same day.
It was particularly special to see those graduates who had been denied an in-person ceremony by the pandemic getting the chance to celebrate along with friends and family in the summer sun amidst the beautiful setting of the Chateau Fontainebleau. Again, huge appreciation must go to all those who worked behind the scenes to make these memorable days happen. They were a clear and visible example of what we can achieve as a community.
Of course, it would be remiss to not mention that next year will see a new Dean of INSEAD co-writing this cover note. It has been an honour and privilege to have served the school over the last ten years and we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved together. Looking ahead to what INSEAD is currently working on, we remain optimistic about the school’s place in our future and are excited to see what The Business School for the World will achieve with a new Dean at the helm.
INSEAD is a truly joint project, and as the many events you can read about in this report demonstrated, we are, indeed, stronger by being Together Again, something that is definitely worth celebrating. It has never been more important that we remain united as a community during these disrupted and divisive times. By continuing to work together, we can achieve great things and continue to be a positive force for good in an uncertain world.
Thank you all for your continued support and dedication.
Chairman of the Board
Dean of INSEAD