As I meet with INSEAD alumni around the world, I am amazed and inspired by our alumni donors and volunteers and their passionate reasons for supporting the vision of the Dean and the impact of the school and its global community.
The Amphi A seat campaign, for example, stimulated wonderful conversations recently with an alumnus in Paris who named a seat in Amphi A to honour his late father who encouraged him to attend INSEAD, with an alumnus in Brazil who named one for his mother, and with another alumnus whose class named a seat for a classmate who had passed away.
Several alumni in Asia and Australia, and indeed around the world, are contributing to honour Professor Henri-Claude de Bettignies through the naming of an amphitheatre in the Asia expansion in Singapore. Other alumni are naming bricks in that campaign to commemorate their special times together on the campus in Singapore. And in late January, several alumni and INSEAD supporters created an outstanding Tribute Dinner near Lisbon to honour our former Dean Antonio Borges and raise funds for a scholarship in his name.
Other great successes of this academic year have been brought about by our volunteers from the INSEAD Alumni Fund, the National Alumni Associations and the National Councils. By launching exciting events in Singapore, Toronto, Brussels, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, Beijing, Berlin, Athens, Montreal and many other cities, our volunteers have brought alumni together both to celebrate their INSEAD connections and support the future of the school.
We are also privileged to count on more than 500 alumni who are loyal donors contributing annually. Our earliest alumni who have included INSEAD in their annual giving for more than 30 years (!) include Michel Gauthier, MBA ‘61, the founder of the INSEAD Alumni Fund, based in Paris and Angelo Abdela, MBA ‘68, former US Trustee for the INSEAD Alumni Fund, based in New York. And more recent alumni such as Stephane Foucaud, UK, and Constantin von Wentzel, US, from the class of MBA ’02J, and Marcus Von Garssen, Germany, and Dan Hananel, Turkey, both MBA ’06Js, have each given every year since graduation. The 14-year support of Mirjam Staub-Bistang, MBA ’99J, former IAF Trustee and current Chair of the Swiss Council and INSEAD board member, has culminated in her Gold salamander. “I started giving right after leaving INSEAD, mainly because I wanted to give back to the institution where I spent a wonderful year of my life… what I learned at INSEAD really helped me in realising my entrepreneurial ambitions.”
These are only a few examples and stories, more will be shared in future. The common thread is that regardless of background, culture or country, giving to INSEAD is a very personal decision. Often it is:
A statement of personal belief through projects that reflect values, interests and connections with the school
A call to action to the school’s leadership to pursue a bold vision
A vote of confidence in the school
A way to honour a parent, a classmate, a professor or a mentor
A sense of belonging as part of the INSEAD alumni network
A pledge to future generations of INSEAD students and alumni
A privilege and expression of gratitude as the experience at INSEAD was transformational
When we talked to more than 400 alumni last year for their advice on building an INSEAD story, the message was clear: make the emotional connection first, provide the facts and then explain how giving is making a tangible impact. More alumni are realising that investing in INSEAD’s future is necessary for the school to innovate, to compete, to achieve excellence and to benefit the global INSEAD community and the societies to which our alumni contribute. Alumni investments build on INSEAD’s solid operating model to make a tremendous difference to how the school innovates and positions itself in the future.
The resulting support is remarkable. We have just passed the €100,000 mark on pledges to the Dean’s Annual Fund for this 2013/2014 academic year and are receiving more donations every day. This is a vote of confidence and a responsibility that INSEAD takes seriously. Our Dean, Ilian Mihov has made the growth of alumni participation in fundraising one of his top priorities because he believes it is critical to the school’s future. He also takes on full responsibility of delivering the mission and reporting back to our donors frequently and thoroughly.
Caroline van Scheltinga, MBA ‘88, and IAF Trustee for the US, contributes regularly to INSEAD “because the one-year experience wasn’t just a degree to me but part of a larger movement of what INSEAD represents in the world.” She captured the benefits of collaboration beautifully: “I am so happy to see that our goals are being united into one: to ensure the future of INSEAD” she wrote. “The end goal is for INSEAD management and board, the IAF and the IAA all to be ONE. Speaking from one voice, one goal, one direction.”
I thank our many alumni volunteers for their passionate support of INSEAD. I also wish to thank our donors for their continuous support and for sharing with us their reasons for giving. Your investments in INSEAD are vital for innovation, competition and our unrelenting dedication to quality.