Dean’s Editorial: Innovating in support of our mission

Dear alumni,

At INSEAD, we often talk about how “entrepreneurship is in our DNA.” That sentiment is backed by data: More than half of INSEAD graduates — about 53 percent — participate in some type of entrepreneurial venture in their career. Considering that there are more than 50,000 INSEAD alumni, that adds up to a remarkable number of innovators spread across the globe.

This high level of engagement in entrepreneurship makes perfect sense for a place like INSEAD. The school was borne out of an entrepreneurial spirit, as it was founded in 1957 by the great innovator Georges Doriot, a Harvard scholar regarded as the father of venture capital. In the years since then, that spirit has never waned.

Dean's editorial

‘Thinking outside the box’ by Vietnamese artist Duy Huynh

In fact, INSEAD’s commitment to innovation has fuelled its success for decades. Just think of all the ways the school has stood as a pioneer in management education: INSEAD was the first school to offer an MBA programme outside of North America. It was the first school to offer a one-year MBA globally. It was the first school to offer customised executive education for companies. It was the first school to create multiple campuses across different continents. And the list goes on.

As we explore in this issue of Salamander magazine, here are some of the ways that INSEAD continues to innovate as an institution and carve a new path for entrepreneurship education.

  • We’re creating new learning experiences for students and alumni. INSEAD has always taken a unique approach to teaching entrepreneurship, as you’ll read about in “Entrepreneurship is in our DNA.” Now, we’re innovating further, creating new immersive experiences, simulation exercises and digitally enhanced coursework for INSEAD students. To extend that educational experience, we’ve also developed a new “Lifelong Learning” platform for INSEAD graduates. Read more about this new initiative in “INSEAD Launches Fourth ‘Campus’ to Alumni.”
  • Our entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to expand. A team of alumni recently formed INSEADERS, a start-up incubator and network that you can read more about in “INSEADERS: Join the venture adventure.” We also have alumni to thank for the creation of INSEADAlum Ventures (IAV), a new investment company that provides seed funding, value-added resources and mentorship to ventures run by INSEAD alumni entrepreneurs. Read about IAV in “Funding the next generation of entrepreneurs” and note that the fund is still accepting applications from INSEAD alumni.
  • Entrepreneurial alumni are making headlines. INSEAD is currently ranked no. 2 globally for the number of “unicorns” (i.e., start-ups valued in excess of $1 billion) created by its alumni. According to Pitchbook, start-ups created by INSEAD MBA graduates raised more venture capital than those from any other non-U.S. business school. INSEAD alumni are also making their mark on an individual level. In the article, “Driving a medical revolution,” learn how Justin Gover MBA’98D is leading the creation of breakthrough medical treatments at his company, GW Pharmaceuticals.
  • INSEAD donors are multiplying our impact. Donors gifts are having an incredible impact on entrepreneurial initiatives at INSEAD. In the article, “Advancing Entrepreneurship the pivotal role our donors play”, we describe the many ways that our entrepreneurship faculty, facilities and centres are benefitting from the generosity of our donors.
  • We’re exploring topical issues in entrepreneurship around the world. In September, we hosted the first INSEAD Alumni Leaders Forum in Dubai, where attendees explored the topic of “Digitisation and Disruptive Innovation.” For highlights from the event, please see “INSEAD Alumni Leaders’ Forum (special edition) UAE.” Also in September, the Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise hosted the Family Enterprise Day on the Fontainebleau campus, which you can read about in the article, “Hénokiens Say Yes to Entrepreneurship.” The event featured a fascinating discussion with the Hénokiens — an association of 47 family-run firms that are more than 200 years old — about driving and sustaining entrepreneurship.

All of these efforts ladder up to INSEAD’s broader mission of inspiring and equipping leaders to use business as a force for good. We believe that if INSEAD develops thoughtful, innovative leaders, those leaders will drive business creation and innovation that, in turn, will generate economic growth and improve the welfare of people. In other words, by investing in the entrepreneurial education of INSEAD students, we hope to prepare them to create value — not just for themselves or their companies, but for the broader society that surrounds them.

Business is the strongest lever for driving social change. INSEAD is committed to leading that change by harnessing the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s in our DNA. It’s part of our legacy.

Yours sincerely,

Ilian Mihov
Dean

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