An interview with IAA President Frans Blom

As the new IAA President, Frans Blom shares his plans for engaging more alumni worldwide

Leadership comes naturally to Frans Blom MBA’90D, IDP-C’20Jun, a Boston Consulting Group executive who has dedicated the past 30+ years to leading teams across Europe. So, it was only natural that Frans would eventually find himself in a leadership role at INSEAD, the place where his global career started. In June 2021, Frans accepted a three-year term as President of the INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA). More recently, he sat down for an interview to share his ambitions for the IAA.

What inspired you to accept the position of IAA president? 

INSEAD formed the foundation of my international career. It didn’t just give me an education; it gave me the international experience and exposure I needed to truly understand different points of view. When the IAA presidency rolled over, I was attracted to the opportunity to get involved and shape the next couple of years for our alumni community. And the timing was right — I was stepping away from a full-time job to take on a portfolio career.

At a high level, what is your three-year vision for the IAA?

First, let me say that we have inherited a very strong foundation, grounded in a network of National Alumni Associations (NAAs) that bring together thousands of alumni every year. Our Global Clubs have also grown over the last couple of years, and I am very grateful for the tireless work of volunteers that led to this. We also have a robust partnership with the school.

But by internationalising and simplifying the IAA, we believe we can unlock even more opportunities and efficiencies while strengthening our value proposition. We can leverage technology, for example, to help alumni better connect across boundaries and simplify the way we operate and what we offer. Today, our situation is quite complex to navigate, as we have many different groups, structures and layers of communication.

What other priorities are in the works?

A top priority for me is to increase engagement, both in terms of how many people we can get engaged and keep engaged. This is a true measure of success. Alumni want to stay connected; you can see this at the reunions we’re celebrating this year. At the same time, a sizeable number of our MBA alumni and EDP alumni are still not engaged, for various reasons.

Redesigning the value proposition of the IAA, I think, is one way we can change that. Streamlining our communications is also important. I think we need to go mobile, which is why we are working on developing an app to streamline all communications right now.

Tell us about the members of your executive team. 

I am supported by a team of people who bring incredible passion and a wealth of experience to the IAA. Impressively, most of them have served on the Executive Committee or as presidents of NAAs or Global Clubs. We also have diversity in terms of geography, age and expertise.

I think the people that say “yes” to this kind of opportunity are special, because they voluntarily take on a significant amount of work on top of their very busy lives. They have a drive to not only be involved in the IAA, but in setting its direction. Together, we want to make the IAA’s partnership with the school even stronger than it is now.

What makes the INSEAD alumni community so unique?

As alumni, we have a shared experience: Our time at INSEAD was intense and important, and it informed our lives and careers. Because we have been through the same kind of experience, we feel connected — even if we weren’t at INSEAD at the same time. Also, there is no community as global as ours. We appreciated this tremendously during our time on campus, and I think we can enhance that even more in the practice of the IAA.

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