Dean’s Editorial: Why connections matter

Dear alumni,

It’s well-known that we’re living in an increasingly connected world. The rise and rapid adoption of social media, the Internet of Things, and the myriad of emerging new digital technologies have opened up new opportunities for cross-continental connections that weren’t possible a decade ago.

In keeping with this trend, engagement between INSEAD’s students, alumni, faculty and supporters is also growing stronger. But while it’s fair to attribute some of these increased connections to technology, I give more credit to the people within our community. There’s no network quite like INSEAD’s—and it’s not just because our alumni and friends are spread across the globe. We are all working towards the shared goal of using business as a force for good, which influences the way that we conduct ourselves in the world and how we support one another.

Strong connections are part of our school’s legacy, and they’re also instrumental to our future success. This issue of Salamander celebrates different types of connections within our network while demonstrating the impact these relationships can have on individuals, companies, societies and economies across the globe. Here’s a preview of some of the stories you’ll find within, along with other important news from the school.

The power of alumni connections
To understand the impact created by alumni connections, look no further than the INSEAD Alumni Association—an independent organisation that was created by alumni in 1961 and now oversees 48 National Alumni Associations along with countless alumni clubs and groups around the world. It’s remarkable what a passionate group of alumni volunteers can accomplish in terms of strengthening the network and ensuring that INSEAD remains a world-class business school. The INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA) recently created the INSEAD Alumni Vision 2020, a partnership agreement focused on improving and enhancing alumni engagement, which you can read more about in this issue. Alumni also continue to support each other in a professional sense, as Cimpress CEO Robert Keane MBA’94D, can attest. In June, the INSEAD Alumni Association named Robert the first recipient of the prestigious INSEAD Alumni Global Entrepreneurship Award for his remarkable achievements as an entrepreneur and socially responsible leader.

Lasting connections among alumni are continuing to increase. Last week, we welcomed our newest graduates to the network—the MBA Class of July 2017, which included 521 graduates representing 73 nationalities. This increases the size of our alumni network to more than 55,000 alumni in 170 countries.

Forming connections through gifts
INSEAD’s scholarship programme is central to our ability to attract the best and most diverse talent from around the world, and we’re so grateful for the many donors that have given back to INSEAD in support of these scholarships. We had the opportunity to celebrate some of those donors at our first scholarship dinner held on 15 June in Paris. It was a joy to connect our donors with current students and exchange stories about their respective experiences at INSEAD.

One of our current initiatives is focused on creating more scholarships for students from Africa. I extend my deepest thanks to Wiet Pot MBA’82 and his wife Carien, who recently funded the creation of The Pot Family Foundation Scholarship. The first of these full-tuition scholarships was just awarded to a South African student in the Class of MBA’18J. Another new scholarship is the Africa Leadership Fund for meritorious candidates who have been educated and worked in Africa.

Under the leadership of Emma Goltz MBA’98J, the new chair of the INSEAD Annual Fund, we hope to continue to engage those who would like to create new scholarships or provide gifts in support of the school. I share Emma’s sentiment when she says, “Giving to INSEAD is not about giving back to the school. It’s giving forward by investing in the future of INSEAD and in people like us.”

Connected as lifelong learners
Connections continue to form among alumni in the INSEAD classroom, thanks to our extensive selection of Executive Education programmes. Do take a moment to review the selection of programmes that are particularly relevant to alumni (highlighted in this issue) or read about our participants experience in the Advanced Management Programme. Remember that, as a member of the alumni network, you receive an exclusive 30% discount on Executive Education open enrolment programmes at INSEAD.

INSEAD conferences are another great opportunity for making new connections while learning about topical issues relevant to your industry. We just completed the INSEAD Private Equity Conference, which explored the topic of navigating macro headwinds in pursuit of growth. Kudos to the IPEC Alumni Club for helping to lead the event and growing its chapters across 25 countries on six continents.

Building connections across campuses
As we continue to increase our connections in Abu Dhabi, I’m pleased to announce that the INSEAD Middle East Campus will move to ADGM Square in Maryah Island at the end of August. This high-quality facility will serve as a bridging place for about five years until the permanent campus is built.

On an internal level, we have several colleagues who are preparing to lead vital outreach efforts for INSEAD. Please join me in congratulating Peter Zemsky, deputy dean, who will oversee leadership teams for Advancement, Alumni Relations, and Communications; Nida Januskis, who will become associate dean of advancement and alumni relations; and Axel Tagliavini, who will become Chief Communications Officer. Please also join me in thanking Anand Vengurlekar for his excellent service to INSEAD, as he is leaving the school to pursue other opportunities.

Finally, it’s a great honour to be reappointed as dean of INSEAD for a second five-year term that starts in September 2018. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to continue to build connections with all of you and ensure that INSEAD continues to develop as one of the most impactful and innovative business schools in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Ilian Mihov

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