COVID-19 Response

When the global pandemic struck, the INSEAD community came together as a force for good.

The COVID-19 global health crisis struck at a moment of great promise for the school. In true INSEAD spirit, our community stepped up in response to a grave threat and turned a force majeure into a Force for Good.


Early 2020 was an exciting time for INSEAD. The school welcomed a diverse and accomplished MBA’20D class in early January. The Hoffmann Institute again sponsored the SDG Tent alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Design of the Master in Management and recruitment of the first intake were in final stages. The Campaign for INSEAD was in high gear, working hard to secure the future of the school. In late February, we inaugurated the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation, our venture to bring the global INSEAD education and perspective to a seedbed for big thinkers and entrepreneurs. The school was growing in new and interesting ways.


For INSEAD, 2020 was filled with promise.


Soon, this story took an abrupt turn. As COVID-19 began to sweep across the world with alarming speed, the school started to take steps to address this potentially grave and disruptive threat.



Global response to a global threat

The health and safety of the INSEAD community were of utmost importance as governments began to sound the alarm. The Crisis Management Team (CMT) took swift and decisive action across the school in line with government regulations and with the highest degree of transparency. Campus Services implemented temperature checks and other safety precautions on all campuses. Faculty and IT began to move delivery of classes online. Staff collaborated with leadership to work remotely while keeping the school’s critical functions on track and running smoothly.


COVID-19 Response

In true INSEAD fashion, our community responded to COVID-19 like any other challenge – by bringing business solutions to bear. When our MBA’19D students heard about the need for medical supplies in China, they set up a relief initiative to raise funds, source medical supplies and mobilise experts in all industries to support frontline medical workers for Wuhan. They also reached out to the INSEAD Alumni Association to promote the idea. By January 2020, “Project Green for Impact” was up and running at scale as a platform for alumni to make a difference in their countries and worldwide.


On campus, and then online, the response was similar – quick and focused on how to be a force for good. Under extreme circumstances, our global community stepped up and supported each other, inspiring more action and fostering a sense of goodwill that is crucial in challenging times. A similar story played out across the institution as the pandemic spread across the globe.


Taking “on-campus” online


The INSEAD flagship MBA programme was hit hard. The cross-campus programme only runs for ten months and any disruption interrupts the flow of learning. When the crisis struck, our MBA’20J class only had a few months until their graduation and the MBA’20D class had only just begun.


To accommodate these students academically, the school quickly worked on a seamless transition to remote learning. Inter-campus travel slowed with lockdowns and students had to remap their learning journeys. Professors had to think outside the box and adapt classes to uncertain and changing situations. The Career Development Centre had to connect students and employers through virtual events in an uncertain job market. In July, INSEAD held our first virtual graduation ceremony and welcomed the MBA’20J class to the alumni community.


Through all this, our MBA students were learning how business can be a force for good and applying these principles in student activities. In response to the crisis, MBA students set up a COVID-19 Innovation Competition to find sustainable business solutions to COVID-19. They also launched a Business Projects platform to showcase INSEAD talent and offer support to actual, running companies facing problems.


Thought leadership in turbulent times


The need for companies to overcome pandemic-related problems was clear, and our Executive Education was ready with solutions. A pioneer in online executive education, the school quickly launched INSEAD GO-Live. This new virtual Executive Education experience was designed to support leaders with topics such as decision-making in difficult times and managing supply chains in a crisis. With the same professors and course content as on-campus classes, virtual sessions engaged more executives worldwide than in-person classes could.


As populations of entire countries went into lockdown and severe travel restrictions were put in place, demand for online learning increased. INSEAD responded with virtual sessions featuring management insights designed to provide a deeper understanding of critical issues revolving around the pandemic.


The rigorous research by our faculty was channelled into a series of webinars rolled out by Lifelong Learning as “INSEAD Conversations”. Open to all at no cost, these discussions shared perspectives from diverse groups – our faculty, student clubs, alumni, and centres and initiatives. These conversations were interactive and relevant to pandemic-related business challenges. For example, a [email protected] INSEAD Conversation on “Start-ups Against Corona” discussed how corporations can use start-up solutions to address mission-critical problems. All in all, more than 60 Conversations were offered with 20,000 people engaging in them.


COVID-19 Response

The INSEAD Knowledge platform also offered insights and perspectives rooted in the academic research and business expertise of our professors and partners. With an eye on helping the community weather the crisis and emerge stronger, Knowledge published articles on crisis management, pandemic supply chain issues, inequality implications, organisational challenges and more.


As the COVID-19 crisis progressed, we also published an INSEAD Expertise repository. Featured on our dedicated COVID-19 resource page, this platform shared the latest expertise on the global health crisis from our faculty and centres of excellence. Amid these difficult times, the school opened access to its knowledge to help leaders build back better when the time is right.



At this crucial time, our research department got an unprecedented boost. An alumnus gave a transformational gift of €60 million, pledging €40 million to the INSEAD endowment for research and designating €20 million to secure the land the Europe campus is built on. It was the largest gift we have received in our school’s history. Other alumni also stepped up. Giving Day surpassed expectations, with donors giving a total of €2.3 million – the highest amount ever raised through this annual initiative. The faculty showed strong support, teaching pro bono and committing close to €2 million to key areas including scholarships and the Dean’s Fund. Alumni, staff and friends also gave generously to the Dean’s Fund, which expanded our capacity to address time-sensitive needs.


Pioneering during the pandemic


INSEAD’s response to the pandemic was rapid and robust. It was also coordinated amidst chaos. Extreme external pressures were placed on the school, and many solutions that emerged – remote collaboration, virtual reality learning and dual-mode teaching, to name a few – will be incorporated more widely moving forward.


This pandemic also showed the value of spontaneous interaction with peers and professors. As the early scramble to understand and react to the fast- moving crisis settled into a routine of isolation, students and educators alike missed the connection that comes with in-person learning. The school used this feedback to refine digital learning and establish protocols for in-person instruction for the new academic year. While COVID-19 is taking so much from so many, it may also give us the blueprint for more flexible and responsive education in the future.


For the world, this is a moment of immense tragedy. It is also a moment of hope as the global community unites to confront the threat of COVID-19. Around the school, and across continents and campuses, inspiring stories continue to emerge as our community responds. This pandemic has proven that even during uncertain times, we can be certain that the INSEAD community will step up as a force for good.


Thanks to all the faculty and staff who worked to move the INSEAD learning experience online quickly and completely. Special thanks go to the Class of MBA’20J and Class of MBA’20D for your resilience and dedication.


Master in Management: A New Era Begins

In the year that INSEAD celebrated the 60th anniversary of our MBA programme, we also ushered in a new era with the launch of the Master in Management.

When the doors opened in September 2020, the new school year looked a little different. It wasn’t just because students, faculty and staff across our campuses were wearing masks and were social distancing. This year, the student body was also distinctively younger as INSEAD welcomed our first ever Master in Management class.


The Master in Management, or “MIM”, has emerged in recent years as a valuable addition to the portfolio of degree programmes offered by leading business schools. This programme targets talented young leaders who have a clear sense of direction when they finish their undergraduate studies. These students want a deep dive into business theory and a complete set of management skills. In the true spirit of INSEAD, our MIM Programme also focuses on leadership in global business with international experience integrated into the course of study.


Honouring our history in a new era


The INSEAD MIM is a reflection of the founding values of the school. When INSEAD received its first intake of students in 1959, the MBA programme was built on a vision of academic excellence and practical relevance. This approach can be seen in the school’s founding values, and it is evident in the MIM programme today.


Master in Management: A New Era Begins


The INSEAD MIM is, first and foremost, academically rigorous and relevant. The programme taps into the proven teaching and research methods that consistently elevate INSEAD to the top of the business school rankings. Our MIM is an opportunity to study with some of the world’s foremost thinkers in management and to examine some of the world’s most pressing challenges.


It is also an opportunity to get close to business in the 21st century. INSEAD designed the programme in collaboration with top recruiters and employers of our graduates, who shared insights into the skills needed to succeed in today’s world. Company visits, business treks in Europe and Asia, and events with top business leaders give our MIM students unrivalled access to practical business knowledge.


Launching the MIM in our 60th year fits in with the qualities that set INSEAD apart from other business schools. The programme embodies the school’s entrepreneurial spirit, adds to diversity with younger perspectives and encourages independent thought and action in a moment when young people have an extraordinary impact.


The rise of social media as an economic driver, the influence of young voices like that of Greta Thunberg, and a growing demand for corporate and social responsibility show that young people are already changing the world. Our Master in Management ensures that the next generation of leaders of business and society benefit from knowledge built over 60 years of excellence at INSEAD.


Katy Montgomery, Associate Dean for Degree Programmes, puts it into perspective nicely: “These are students who have created social impact start-ups in their teens, who are working to address climate change, [and] to alleviate poverty. This age group wants to make an impact and really move things. They epitomise Georges Doriot’s quote that ‘without action, the world would still be an idea’,” she says.


For aspiring young leaders who want to make business a force for good in an increasingly global and tech-connected world, the INSEAD Master in Management is the ideal place to start.



A foundation for the future


The cohort of our historic MIM Class of ’21 is young and diverse. They are also smart, open-minded and motivated. There is no better class to meet the challenges of the first year of the INSEAD MIM programme head-on. And it has been quite a challenging year indeed.


This year, the launch of the MIM faced two significant hurdles. The first was to choreograph the complexity of designing a new programme and integrating it into the academic calendar while recruiting the first class of qualified participants. The second hurdle was to accomplish all this and bring this first class to campus for a programme built on international experience during a global pandemic.


The MIM was designed under the leadership of Programme Director Thibault Seguret, MBA’12J. The result is something he touts as “different from other MIM programmes out there while staying true to the INSEAD DNA”.


The programme is uniquely INSEAD. Ten months of academics are followed by four to six months of professional exposure. The full- time course of study is fast-paced, with three periods in Fontainebleau and two in Singapore. Each period includes core courses and skills workshops that culminate in a practical business scenario that Seguret describes as “two weeks of living the life of the professional you will become”.


The programme closes with electives that students choose to customise their learning journey. With fintech, entrepreneurship, sustainability, social media analytics and blockchain among the offerings, the programme explores the latest business trends. This is perfect for students who want learning tailored to their aims and aspirations.


The mix of international perspectives, diverse voices and practical experiences built on a foundation of academic excellence is a potent combination. Our first MIM students must also learn and adapt to a new kind of decentralised campus and digital experience, which further underscores the need to be agile and responsive.


The next generation of thinkers and doers


We are excited to launch this programme and engage a generation of leaders focused on making the world a better place.


We recruited the best and brightest for our first MIM class, and we have big expectations for them. These young achievers are a welcome addition to the INSEAD community and bring yet more energy to our campuses, even at a time when wearing masks and practising social distancing are the rule.


Special thanks to the INSEAD faculty and staff for your support and dedication in developing and launching the INSEAD Master in Management. We also thank all the participants in the inaugural MIM Class of ‘21.


Master in Management: A New Era Begins

A Landmark Year for Our Campaign: A Force for Good

As the global health crisis refocuses our priorities, the Campaign looks to lay a foundation for the future of INSEAD.

In the midst of a particularly challenging year, our collective accomplishments gave us reason to celebrate. 2019/2020 was a landmark year in our Campaign’s chronicle. With €76.6 million raised in gifts and pledges, we surpassed our goal of €250 million three years in advance. Although we have hit our Campaign target, our aspirations go well beyond this milestone, and the school will continue the good work of changing the culture of philanthropy at INSEAD.


More than the numbers, we are proud of our community who made these results possible. Their belief in the school’s mission, incredible engagement and support encourage and inspire us to move forward with the Campaign.


A highlight in the year was an all- time record of a €60 million gift from an alumnus and his wife who are long-standing patrons of the school. Their generosity will serve to set up an endowed fund for research and enable the school to buy the land on which our Europe Campus stands.


In a difficult year, alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends rallied together in support of the school and their collective giving reached new heights. Giving Day had the best results yet with 2,164 donors and a total of €2.3 million towards the Dean’s Fund, Scholarships and Research. The Dean’s Fund – a resource of unrestricted, current funds particularly critical in a year of financial challenges – received €2.9 million in gifts and pledges.


The outstanding engagement from our alumni advanced yet another Campaign goal in the year: we reached 42 percent of our 50 percent alumni participation target, with 12,008 alumni donors. The Force for Good Campaign is committed to building philanthropic support to deliver a positive impact on business and society. This collective project can only be realised through the enthusiasm and participation of each member of the INSEAD community and a collective belief in the school and its values. The Campaign continues to transform entire areas of the school:


Expanding Global Reach

In February 2020, we opened the INSEAD San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation. Our first learning facility in North America, created with the support of our donors, is a key milestone in our journey as the Business School for the World.


Growing the Endowment

The Campaign has helped grow the endowment from €174 million in 2014 to €282 million today. A high priority for the school, a robust endowment is more important than ever, as the world faces heightened uncertainty.


Investing in Research

The endowed fund of €40 million will provide the school with a permanent resource for research. Unrestricted, the fund will benefit faculty at all levels and across disciplines. The establishment of the Octapharma Chair in Decision Neuroscience additionally strengthens research in new and emerging areas. These, and all other gifts for academic excellence, are upholding our identity as a global leader in business research.


Funding Scholarships

Crucial for the diversity of nationalities and perspectives that feature prominently in the INSEAD experience, scholarships are particularly vital this year as the demand for financial aid increases. Altogether, 302 MBA students received scholarships in the ’20J&D classes combined.


We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Campaign, including our many dedicated volunteers, and look forward to another strong year. As our community comes together to support the school in these challenging times, the Campaign remains committed to promoting business as a force for good and to developing the next generation of responsible leaders.

60 Years of Excellence

As INSEAD marks 60 years since opening its doors to the first MBA class, our founding values point the way forward for the school and the world.

The Global INSEAD Day celebration looked a little different in academic year 2019/2020. This day was not just a celebration of the meeting of the first MBA class, it also marked the 60th anniversary of the opening of the school.


On 12 September 1959, INSEAD welcomed 57 students to classes held in the historic Château de Fontainebleau. The event fulfilled the vision of INSEAD founder Georges Doriot and helped usher in an era of European growth based on innovation and international cooperation.


Doriot’s vision was ahead of its time. It was unheard of for a business school to be international, independent, diverse, close to business and propelled forward by entrepreneurial spirit. With these founding values as their North Star, Doriot and a select circle of young, bold pioneers created an academic institution that today truly lives up to its name as The Business School for the World.


A new vision for business education


When INSEAD secured funding from the Paris Chamber of Commerce in 1957, the vision of the school was clear: a one-year programme with pan-European student recruitment, multilingual teaching by professors from different countries, and business education "from a moral viewpoint". Based in Europe but not just for Europe, such a school could grow as Europe grew. Today, we know the school has not only grown with Europe, but also with the world.


This year, we celebrated the founding vision and values that drive the school to excellence and what we have achieved in our first 60 years.


60 Years of Excellence


Highlights from our history


The founding of INSEAD established the first one-year MBA programme in the world.


The school prioritised diverse perspectives in management education and was one of the first business schools to welcome women participants. The modern campus at the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau became an incubator for some of the most brilliant business ideas of the twentieth century.


This setting proved perfect for pioneering new approaches to management education. In the late 1960s, INSEAD launched Executive Education at the school and established the world’s first company-specific Executive Education Programme just a few years later. Around this time, the school began a pivot to Asia that would shape both the school’s direction and the global economy.



Over the years, the school grew in influence and academic relevance. By the time a second MBA intake was added in 1983, the school was known for excellence in both, teaching and research and as a pioneer in business simulations.


The launch of the PhD Programme further asserted INSEAD as an academic institution of excellence.


When the era of globalisation arrived in the 1990s, the school was ready. Economies in Asia were opening up and INSEAD was the largest provider of executive education in Southeast Asia. With growth accelerating and the world becoming more connected, INSEAD opened the Asia Campus in Singapore in the year 2000 and became the first business school with full campuses on two continents.


The start of the new century was the beginning of a new era for INSEAD, and growth accelerated. The first decade saw the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) and Tsinghua- INSEAD Executive MBA (TIEMBA) launch, with the Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change following soon after. Interest in the Middle East region began with a research centre and the full Middle East Campus in Abu Dhabi opened in 2010.


The future in focus


The most recent decade led to a pivot to digital. INSEAD lead the way by launching the world’s first customised online programmes for executives, and leveraging tech to enhance the MBA and other degree programmes.


This decade has emerged as a time to consider the future of global growth, and INSEAD has restructured the curriculum around business and society. Through the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, the school is a leading voice in the global conversation regarding how business can champion responsible leadership and sustainable development.

60 Years of Excellence

With this history, it was natural for the community to organise a celebration around our 60 years of excellence at the Global INSEAD Day 2019. Students and alumni groups worldwide held events to share stories from years past and hosted service activities to be a force for good in local communities.


As Doriot did back in 1957, we want to show the world that business can and must lead from a moral point of view. We want to open space for conversation and cooperation featuring diverse voices and viewpoints. We want to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and independent thought that nurture peace and prosperity at a global scale.


In this way, we honour the enduring vision that inspired the founding of INSEAD, and we look forward to another 60 years of excellence.


INSEAD would like to recognise the contribution of each and every member of our community for their contribution to the school’s success. To learn more about the history of the school and our founding vision, please visit

SDGs in Focus: Aligning INSEAD with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

A smart approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals gives business leaders in the INSEAD community a competitive edge in the 21st century.

As academic year 2019/2020 got underway in September, the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society put a spotlight on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.


At various venues, from the World Economic Forum to our own Alumni Forum, the Hoffmann Institute engaged in conversations about how the UN SDGs need to shape the future of business. We hear the same from world leaders and business leaders in our community.


As public and private sector leaders face new 21st century challenges, these goals are a framework for a new kind of sustainable growth. So the Hoffmann Institute celebrated its first anniversary by hosting the “SDG Week” across all three campuses, launching a #SDGSMART awareness campaign and partnering with the SDG Tent to bring the SDGs to the World Economic Forum in Davos. To excel in global business today, leaders should know where these goals come from and how they open opportunities.



Sustainable Development Goals


In 2015, 193 countries of the world came together to face the future. What they saw was daunting. Risks from extreme weather, geopolitical instability and other disruptions threatened, and continue to threaten even today, local communities and the global economy. These countries knew that billions of people worldwide shared hope for a better future.


Our Focus

So governments agreed on the SDGs. These 17 goals imagine a future free of poverty and hunger in a healthy, equitable world which is safe from the worst environmental degradation. It is indeed an ambitious plan to build a better world for people and our planet while promoting global prosperity.


The business case for action on the SDGs is clear. We face severe risks that can destabilise markets and slow growth. Even before the pandemic struck, the International Monetary Fund estimated climate change alone could slash global GDP by 7% by the end of the century, a high cost for failing to act. The total economic cost of the pandemic is unknown, but we can already take away several lessons.


Sustainability offers less risk and more opportunity. The Business & Sustainable Development Commission estimates that achieving the SDGs opens $12 trillion a year in sectors such as energy, health, urban growth and agriculture. The Hoffmann Institute raises awareness of the SDGs to enable business leaders to navigate the changing risk landscape and to capitalise on this opportunity.


Sustainable Development Goals at INSEAD


The Hoffmann Institute is integrating the SDGs across INSEAD – in learning, research, engagement and operations. This effort began in October 2018 at the Force for Good Conference. Hoffmann Institute Advisory Board Member Paul Polman called the SDGs the “the biggest business plan that we’re sitting on from any perspective”. Today, the Institute works with 42% of the faculty across all nine academic areas to bring this message to students, and the INSEAD community at large, with academic rigour and relevance.


The SDGs are integrated into teaching in innovative ways. One is Master Strategist Day, a core component of the MBA Programme that now features non-profit companies working on critical global issues, including healthcare and natural capital.


The Institute also supports the award-winning SDG Bootcamp, an intensive two-day elective that explores the intersection of profit and purpose while seeking entrepreneurial solutions. For our executive participants, the SDGs feature in programmes hosted by the Gender Initiative and the Social Entrepreneurship Programme.


To bring the SDGs into knowledge creation, the Hoffmann Institute supports research that contributes to the Goals outlined in the SDGs. The Institute is also partnering with faculty from the Technology and Operations Management area to tag outputs to SDG targets, which gives us a better picture of how academic solutions contribute to progress towards the Goals. And by bringing sustainability-related INSEAD research to forums like the WEF, the ChangeNOW Summit and more, the Institute shapes global progress.


The SDGs have become a common theme for Institute engagement. In January, the Institute co-sponsored the “SDG Tent” in Davos alongside the World Economic Forum. In the Tent, faculty and alumni joined leaders from business, government, foundations and civil society to discuss business education in global development. The SDG Week and #SDGSMART engage students, faculty, and staff on campus and online. The SDGs feature prominently in our Dean’s vision of business as a force for good. And when the COVID-19 crisis struck, we integrated a business and society component into Lifelong Learning webinars open to members of our community and the interested public.


To show how INSEAD is walking the talk on the SDGs, the Institute produced a Sustainability Report to outline our sustainability action. The Institute uses the Global Reporting Index sustainability standards and reporting in order to improve our economic, environmental, social and governance performance. The report is also useful to set the next round of INSEAD sustainability goals.


The pandemic has changed the ways we connect and educate, and it will be great to return to the full programme when the health situation allows. Until then, the Institute is supporting virtual engagement around the SDGs, and business and society.

Spencer Harrison, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD, Julia Berdugo, food tech entrepreneur, and Jan Boelen, Artistic Director, Z33 House for Contemporary Art & Artistic Director, Atelier LUMA

Rising to the challenge


This year proved the INSEAD community’s power to have a positive impact. In December 2019, the first Community Impact Challenge was launched with the active support of alumni in parallel to the first SDG Week. The Challenge involved cutting out single-use plastic water bottles and contributing less to plastic pollution. The initiative engaged over 180,000 people in our extended network and 98% of our participants reported lasting changes to their behaviour. These challenges will happen more frequently, and we encourage everyone to join in.


It is a step towards the SDGs and a better world. It is also a step towards fulfilling the INSEAD mission to develop responsible leaders. For The Business School for the World to be a force for good, we must align with the signal sent by governments. Educating and engaging on the SDGs is not just the right thing for a leading global business school to do, it is the smart thing to do.


For a complete look at everything that the Hoffmann Institute accomplished in academic year 2019/2020 and to stay up to date on the latest happenings, visit Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Institute’s success this year.


Annual Report Description
We are pleased to provide downloadable versions of Our Year in Review 2018/2019 and annual reports from previous years. All downloads are available in the PDF file format.