Meet the leaders driving organisational excellence at INSEAD
Yet, despite these difficult moments and the continuing uncertainty, we ended the year feeling optimistic about the future. The ability of our alumni, faculty, staff and students to respond with agility, resilience and an entrepreneurial spirit to the challenges placed in our way, has filled us with great pride and only served to underline what a special community we have here at INSEAD. While many organisations have focused on survival and consolidation, we have refused to let the pandemic stop us from moving forward. We are confident that the new initiatives, strategies, partnerships and programmes we have rolled out firmly support our aims. This Annual Report is a testament to those achievements and the hard work and dedication of everyone involved within the INSEAD community.
This commitment to constant innovation was perhaps best demonstrated by the successful completion of our pioneering Master in Management class. It was a remarkable effort to pilot this new programme under such trying conditions, and huge credit must go to everyone involved in making it such a success. It was also a real pleasure to welcome this cohort to our campuses, and their enthusiasm, energy and optimism were a real tonic for the whole community.
Of course, ensuring safe conditions for our students, faculty and staff on campus continued to be paramount throughout the academic year. A big thank you for achieving this must go to the efforts of the cross-department Crisis Management Team. They helped keep staff updated on protocols, implemented strict safety measures across campuses and oversaw rigorous testing protocols on the Europe Campus. The ever-changing restrictions obviously made life challenging, but our community continued to come up with creative solutions to the obstacles placed in our way. A case in point was our hosting of the first-ever hybrid graduation ceremony for the MBA’21J cohort.
Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit were also alive and well in other areas of the school. Executive Education, perhaps hardest hit by the ongoing travel restrictions, continued to grasp the opportunities offered up by the shift to remote learning. Taking full advantage of the school’s investment in technology, the team’s ability to pivot the business quickly has allowed for a large uptick in revenue generated by a new suite of virtual and online courses. If these levels can be maintained alongside a revival of face-to-face programmes, then there are clearly huge possibilities for Executive Education to grow.
Newly appointed Dean of Executive Education, Sameer Hasija, who took on the role in January 2021, has overseen a major restructuring of the department – with the creation of an Executive Education Executive Committee – to ensure we have the flexibility and agility to respond to the rapidly evolving needs of individuals and organisations.
The other main changes of the year concerned the leadership roles of the Faculty and Research departments. In January 2021, Javier Gimeno assumed the role of Dean of Faculty, taking over from Laurence Capron. And, in September 2021, Lily Fang took over as Dean of Research from Ziv Carmon.
An undoubted highlight this year was INSEAD securing the number one spot in the Financial Times global MBA rankings. This is the third time we have ranked first in the last six years — a fitting testament to the hard work by everyone at INSEAD. It was particularly pleasing to see the improvements the school made in the categories relating to research and gender diversity. Our progress in the latter category was reflected in the MBA’21D cohort featuring a 39% women ratio, the highest ever for an MBA class.
Despite this progress, we know there is much work still to be done when it comes to gender equality. That is why the school became a member of the UN HeforShe Alliance in September, announcing a whole raft of commitments for greater gender parity amongst our Board, MBA cohorts and faculty, while doubling down on the need for more research in this field.
In fact, the school’s commitment to rigorous and relevant research remains a key priority. Despite the challenges, there was no drop in the pioneering research output of our faculty, with over 155 journal publications produced in the last academic year. We continue to command a strong position in global rankings – as exemplified by the fact that we rose 15 places in the research category of the Financial Times global MBA rankings – and remain at the cutting-edge of conversations on important and timely topics such as artificial intelligence, vaccine supply chains, gender inequality in the workforce, circular economies, and climate change.
A desire to be part of the most important conversations was a driving force for the launch of the new INSEAD Africa Initiative this year. With Prashant Yadav as Academic Director and Vinika Rao as Executive Director, the Africa Initiative aims to help develop and disseminate the best of business thought leadership, teaching and research on this vast and diverse continent of 54 countries. The Initiative has already helped run several talks and webinars and welcomed its first Visiting Professor, Lite Nartey, under its African Fellows Programme.
Of course, as the world geared up to COP26, the issue of sustainability was a central topic of discussion in 2021. We welcome the growing awareness of the need for businesses and business schools to get involved and INSEAD has continued to play a big part in that conversation this year through our research, actions and engagement with various global stakeholders.
Much of the work around championing and integrating the UN Sustainability Development Goals into all aspects of the school has been led by the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business & Society, which celebrated its third anniversary in 2021.
Through their efforts, there are now sustainability components in over a third of our core course content. Outreach and engagement are also essential, and this year saw the Institute launch their new Mission to Change podcast series and reach out to over 13,000 participants through 27 events, as well as developing numerous external partnerships.
Of course, our global alumni community remains our strongest and most important partner. Despite another year where the ability to hold physical gatherings was seriously restricted, we continued to maintain our close ties through a raft of highly engaging virtual alumni events, Lifelong Learning webinars, digital reunions and a hugely successful virtual Alumni Forum. Still, we relish the opportunity to come together and meet in person at the upcoming reunions planned for the summer and autumn of 2022.
Our global community’s unwavering support for and confidence in the INSEAD mission was once again underlined at our annual Giving Day in June. Despite the pandemic preventing in-person events on the day, for the second year in a row we still managed to raise a record-breaking €1.3 million from 2,514 donors – including many staff and faculty.
We also broke records for our overall academic year 2020/2021 targets, raising €25 million for the year thanks to contributions from over 5,000 individual donors. Such overwhelming levels of support have made a hugely positive impact on the school at a time of continuing uncertainty.
As this Annual Report shows, we have been incredibly buoyed by the way our community has come together to help one another and to support our mission to develop responsible leaders who can be a force for good in the world.
The pandemic has meant we have had to make difficult decisions, from adapting the way we operate, to developing new teaching methods and learning new ways of working together.
However, we also believe that these actions have placed us in an incredibly strong position in the future. Financially secure, increasingly agile and armed with a host of innovative new products and programmes, we are now well placed to grasp the opportunities that we believe will arise in the post-pandemic economy.
We do not quite know when this current crisis will abate, and the global political landscape today is, without doubt, cause for concern, but what is clear is that the dedication and commitment of the INSEAD community means we will emerge on the other side stronger and better prepared to face the future.
Thank you all for your continued support and dedication.
Chairman of the Board
Dean of INSEAD