Dean’s Editorial: Reflecting on our role

In a world where change is the only constant, leaders and organisations can’t afford to be complacent. Remaining competitive requires continual iteration and innovation—to business models, products and services, strategy and operations, and more.

But there’s something else that leaders need to practise in this environment: reflection.

At INSEAD, we’re acutely aware of the need to reflect. As a mission-driven business school—one that operates without owners, shareholders or the drive to maximise profits—we are constantly reflecting on who we are, why we exist and what role we want to play in the world.

Certainly, our overarching mission is clear: We equip leaders to advance business as a force for good—to use the power of markets to lift people out of poverty, create economic opportunities and make a positive impact on the world. But now we want to take that notion a step further. Our goal is to ensure that the drivers of economic growth and economic welfare are also fuelling social progress and social welfare in equal measure.

To achieve this goal, we need to change how leaders and organisations address issues at the intersection of business and society. Instead of responding to a social problem with a static solution (e.g., by donating to a non-profit) or a transactional solution (e.g., by initiating a CSR initiative), we must create transformational solutions that have a significant and sustainable impact on the world.

This issue of Salamander magazine highlights some of the ways that INSEAD is progressing in this direction.

Creating a gender-balanced business world
This year marks the 50th anniversary of women at INSEAD. In honour of this important milestone, we are reaffirming our commitment to empowering and advancing women business leaders through a series of events, programmes and initiatives.

  • Celebrating the past and future of women at iW50: On 12 September 2017, we kicked off iW50—a year-long celebration that recognises our history, builds our legacy and empowers women at INSEAD.
  • Launching a new initiative to extend the impact of iW50: The INSEAD Gender Initiative is a long-term initiative that aims to increase gender diversity in business through education while engaging both men and women in the effort.
  • Recognising top women leaders with a bold campaign: Limitless is a new campaign that celebrates women who have pushed beyond their own limits and conquered obstacles in their lives.
  • Supporting INSEAD alumnae around the world: The INSEAD Women in Business Global Club (IWiB) serves to support, empower and connect INSEAD alumnae worldwide and engage the entire alumni community in the effort.

Deepening and disseminating thought leadership
Our faculty continue to contribute new insights about topical issues in management, while our staff are leading efforts to share that knowledge and facilitate its application in the business world.

  • Breaking ground with Blue Ocean Shift: INSEAD Professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute, have just published the book Blue Ocean Shift—an essential follow up to their highly influential book, Blue Ocean Strategy. It’s already been called one of the biggest books of 2017. Be sure to read the interview with the authors.
  • Understanding the dynamics of professionalising a family business: What happens when a founder-led company becomes a management-led organisation? Professor Morten Bennedsen and Research Fellow, Brian Henry offer new insights about this process in the context of Chinese family businesses.
  • Launching new opportunities for lifelong learning: To make it easier for alumni to discover opportunities for lifelong learning, we recently launched a new website for lifelong learning, which includes information about our new open online programmes. Do take a moment to explore whether any of these opportunities are right for you.

Expanding globally while connecting locally
INSEAD continues to extend its global reach while working to create tighter communities on a local level.

  •  Orchestrating events worldwide: This year’s Global INSEAD Day, held on 27 September, was a great success, with events held in 59 cities across 43 countries.
  • Making headlines in Asia: In an effort to better support growth in the Chinese market, INSEAD announced the reinstatement of our Chinese name 欧洲工商管理学院 (European Institute of Business Administration) on 26 September. Looking ahead, INSEAD is hosting an Alumni Forum in Hong Kong on 17-19 November with the theme, “Re-imagine Asia: The new digital frontier.”
  • Increasing alumni activities in Belgium: The INSEAD Alumni Association of Belgium currently represents more than 1,800 alumni and hosts a wide range of events, including the Innovator Prize and Viewpoint.
  • Rising in global rankings: The momentum among entrepreneurs from INSEAD—who collectively raised €7.7 billion in venture capital this year—was recently recognised by Pitchbook in its 2017 Universities Report, which ranked our MBA programme as #4 in the world for founders. The report also ranked INSEAD’s MBA programme as #7 in the world for female founders.

Recognising multiple generations of INSEADers
We’re focused on engaging the next generation of business leaders while recognising the achievements of current leaders—and fostering relationships between all generations.

  • Spending a summer at INSEAD: Summer@INSEAD, held from 30 July to 12 August 2017, welcomed a group of 80 high school students from 37 nationalities to campus for a unique opportunity to widen and enhance their academic pursuits.
  • Continuing the tradition: Don’t miss the story about Manuel Serzedelo de Almeida MBA’75 and his three sons who all did their MBA at INSEAD.
  • Recognising outstanding alumni at INSEAD: Each year, the INSEAD Alumni Recognition Awards aim to honour the outstanding achievements of our alumni. You’re invited to submit nominations for the INSEAD Alumni Force for Good Award, INSEAD Alumni Global Entrepreneurship Award and INSEAD Alumni Volunteer Leader Award.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories—and perhaps feel inspired to engage in reflection of your own.


Yours sincerely,

Ilian Mihov


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