Dean’s Editorial: Business as a force for good

Dear alumni,

In the years following World War II, venture capitalist Georges Doriot believed that the world needed a new kind of educational institution—one that united people, embraced diversity, and leveraged business to rebuild nations and promote peace. He envisioned an institution that could make a meaningful contribution to society.

That institution, of course, was INSEAD. And in the decades since our school’s founding in 1957, we have never wavered from that vision. Our belief in using business as a force for good has come to define who we are, what we stand for and how we conduct ourselves in the world.

In these times, as nationalistic movements appear to be gaining momentum across the globe, it is critical that we remain steadfast in our values. Today’s refugee crisis, in fact, has reminded me that the first three student intakes at INSEAD included refugees from communist Czechoslovakia and Hungary. We need to continue to stand for inclusion, diversity and collaboration. And we need to demonstrate what it means to use business as a force for good.
This might seem like a lofty request. To that point, I’d like to emphasise that “using business as a force for good” doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture; it can present itself in small and subtle ways. Below are some examples of how all members of our community—alumni, students, faculty and staff—are contributing to this vision in their own way. You can read about many of these stories in this issue of Salamander.

Generating new insights and innovations
Through research, innovation and publishing, our faculty, students and alumni continue to inform and influence management practices in positive ways:

  • The INSEAD-Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab, a state-of-the-art research lab based in Paris, runs some of today’s most innovative studies in behavioural science. Since its founding in 2002, the lab has conducted hundreds of multidisciplinary studies and hosted more than 92,000 participants.
  • At the most recent Case Centre Awards and Competitions, INSEAD took home two awards for case publishing—continuing the school’s exceptionally strong track record in case publishing. The school won five of the last 10 awards in The Case Centre’s “overall case winner” category. In addition, among the 10 most-distributed cases managed by The Case Centre in the last 40 years, INSEAD authored six of them.
  • At the most recent MBA Impact Investing Network & Training competition (MIIT) at Wharton, a team from INSEAD took the top prize—and the opportunity to win a $50,000 investment—for their online medical education venture. Congratulations!
  • After serving as CMO of Millicom at the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lucy Quist MBA’05J is now bringing mobile technology to Ghana as CEO of Airtel Ghana. In this role, Lucy is equipping residents with a tool that can transact money and enable better access to healthcare and information.

Exchanging knowledge around the globe
It’s remarkable what can happen when you bring together a diverse group of people to discuss and debate critical issues of our time. INSEAD is fortunate to have ample opportunities for this type of engagement through global events and groups:

  • Last week, I attended the Alumni Forum Americas 2017 in Montreal, which featured a number of excellent workshops and discussions on the topic of innovation and entrepreneurship. All of us emerged from the event with a fresh perspective and new ideas for driving innovation.
  • INSEAD currently has eight global clubs for alumni—a remarkable number indeed. Through the MyINSEAD website, you can peruse our global events calendar to choose which events you’d like to attend and select from which clubs you’d like to receive information.
  • Thanks to a small group of dedicated alumni, the INSEAD Alumni Association South Africa has made great strides in reconnecting with the alumni community and building a mutually beneficial relationship with the school.
  • You can now virtually connect with your peers and learn about all things INSEAD through our new Facebook page for alumni. Note that our next alumni reunion is coming up in a few short weeks, we look forward to seeing the MBA’02 J & D and the MBA’07 J & D classes.

Giving back and changing the world
In the past few months, I’ve been humbled to see how many of you have generously given back to INSEAD and the community—through both financial support and contributions of your time. I extend my deepest thanks to these alumni, students and friends:

  • Lionel Sauvage MBA’87J and his family made a $5.5 million endowed pledge to the school, which will establish The Sauvage Family Endowed Chair for Academic Excellence. The family’s goal is to help educate the next generation and, in turn, help change the world.
  • In January and February, more than 700 donors across 56 countries contributed gifts to INSEAD as part of the Salamander Challenge and INSEAD Giving Day. These events raised a total of €323,156, which is a remarkable accomplishment. (Do take a moment to watch a fun video recap of the event.)
  • In February, I attended a wonderful event in Manila where alumni announced the creation of the Washington SyCip Scholarship, which will provide several full-tuition scholarships to INSEAD students. Thanks to two very generous €250K commitments from the Ayala Foundation (led by Fernando Zóbel de Ayala CIM’93) and the Jollibee Group Foundation (led by Tony Tan Caktiong), we’re already close to the fund’s goal of €750K.
  • Through the Splash programme, more than 4,500 INSEAD students have participated in a community project or taken action on a community issue. To date, these contributions have added up to $1.25 million in value for charitable organisations.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories and look forward to connecting with you.

Yours sincerely,

Ilian Mihov

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