Transforming business education to ensure that leaders and organisations benefit society and the environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a challenging home and work environment. Months of teleworking and Zoom meetings, lockdowns and curfews, mask-wearing and PCR testing, uncertainty about the future, caring for family and dependents, and financial sacrifices – they all took their toll. Thanks to the commitment, flexibility and resilience of our people, we can look back with pride on our collective achievements this year.
Against the odds, INSEAD remained “open for business”. Our best-in-class teaching and research went on, our people were kept safe and redundancies were avoided. This was made possible thanks to lowering our operating costs and our people accepting a temporary salary reduction and partial activity, foregoing salary increases and bonuses – all at personal expense. Generous government support programmes in Singapore and France have also been extremely helpful in this regard.
Since COVID-19 started to spread, the Crisis Management Team, supported by IT, Campus Services, HR, Legal and Communications, has worked tirelessly – and successfully – to ensure continuity in our operations, and to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders across our four locations. The intense and constructive collaboration with the Comité Social et Economique (works council) on the Europe Campus contributed to this achievement, and others.
Our colleagues in Degree Programmes and Executive Education adapted to the challenges posed, welcoming a record number of degree programme students – including our inaugural Master in Management class – while executive education participants embraced our new GOLive technology. The teams also succeeded in securing student and participant pipelines for the next academic year.
Yann has been a long-term fixture of our customer-facing IT support and service operation on the Europe Campus. He has been referred to as the “rock” of IT support, always helping others to overcome challenges and adapting quickly to new norms of working. Overseeing a team supporting students, staff and faculty through the COVID-19 pandemic, Yann not only took the challenges in his stride, he embraced them. His passion and professionalism were memorable despite a completely new operating environment and unprecedented demands for IT support. Within one week of campus closures, all INSEAD staff could work from home and within one quarter, all staff were assigned a permanent laptop. Yann and his team also delivered a high-quality service to facilitate the introduction of Dual mode teaching, GO-Live and Virtual Reality.
One of the first members of our INSEAD family on the Middle East Campus, Zeina consistently walks the talk of our key values, including diversity, professionalism, innovation and being a team player for the good of the entire institution. In her various roles over the years, Zeina has had the opportunity to be involved in many different areas of the school. As a result, she is constantly thinking about how to break silos and create impact across the entire organisation. In the last academic year, Zeina played a key role in scaling up our new Lifelong Learning offering. She also led our first digital Global INSEAD Day celebration, which engaged more than 7,000 alumni and friends. She consistently goes beyond the call of duty to make the best of the crisis, always with a great attitude.
Throughout the last academic year, Cindy managed a smooth campus exchange process despite many challenges and last minute hurdles. Due to the global pandemic situation and Singapore’s border controls, she stayed laser-focused on changing visa regulations and supported students with heavy paperwork for their entry application to Singapore. Maintaining good relationships with Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and multiple Government Agencies, Cindy usually helps several hundred MBA visa requests every quarter. This academic year, she has worked hard with Master in Management Programme Operations to ensure a smooth start for our first cohort to arrive on the Asia Campus. She was also involved in our pioneering P6 module for the MBA’20Js and ’20Ds and helped with massive deferrals to the Class of July 2021. Cindy maintains a high level of professionalism and responsiveness for students despite the remote working context.