Innovation in the Classroom: What’s New at INSEAD?

If you could take a break from your busy life and return to INSEAD as an MBA or EMBA participant, what would you experience today?

To start with, you would find familiarity in the courses’ intensity, which is as strong as ever in all of our degree programmes, including the latest Master in Management (MIM) course. This intensity, on top of our unparalleled diversity would, once again, create the vibrant INSEAD environment.

You would also appreciate that all teaching content, across courses and disciplines, remains backed by rigorous research. INSEAD professors have earned the school a sterling reputation. We are #1 outside of the US in both the latest University of Texas, Dallas Business School Research Ranking as well as in the Research category of the Financial Times Business School Global MBA ranking. In the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject that bases itself both on academic reputation and research impact, INSEAD ranks #2 in Business and Management Studies.

From this solid base, you would immediately see that the focus and content of courses has evolved. As always, INSEAD is close to the ground of business realities, so curriculum changes are in keeping with shifting business needs. “We operate in the bigger picture of market-driven changes,” said Urs Peyer, Dean of Degree Programmes. That includes not only recruiters but also trends from prospective and current students.

Urs Peyer, Dean of Degree Programmes in a class on the Europe campus

INSEAD faculty are constantly innovating, bringing new content and cases into courses from all nine academic areas that cover fundamental business practices. In recent years, however, teaching innovation has particularly increased in the areas of technology and data, leadership, and sustainability.

Digital disruption

Today’s programmes feature extensive content on digital technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics. “Learning how to use digital technology, leveraging data, visualising it, but also being aware of its limitations and ethical implications are particularly emphasised in the MIM programme,” explained Peyer. A list of electives to choose from in the MBA programme includes courses like AI Strategy for Startups and C-Suites; Data Science for Business; Crypto Entrepreneurship; Digital Entrepreneurship; FinTechs; The Future of Digital: NFTs, Web 3.0 and the Metaverse; Org 2.0: People Analytics; and more.

It is a point of pride that INSEAD was among the first to introduce data analytics in its MBA curriculum. A decade ago, Theodoros Evgeniou, Professor of Decision Sciences and Technology Management, developed the first course on data analytics in the MBA programme, based on Open Source coding. Since then, demand has grown exponentially. “Today, the maturity of our participants in terms of innovative use of the technologies is really impressive,” said Evgeniou, who is currently exploring decisions and recommendations made by AI and their relation to trust and safety.

Virtual reality used in Professor Guillaume Roels’ MBA elective ‘Competitive Supply Chains’ 

Additionally, we could not talk about learning experiences today without mentioning the use of Virtual Reality. “As a school that has always been leading in terms of simulations and bringing new tools into the classroom, we believe that the next step is Virtual Reality,” said Ithai Stern, Associate Professor of Strategy, and the Akzo Nobel Fellow of Strategic Management. So, get ready to be immersed in multisensory, data-driven learning on the challenges of wet markets in Singapore, turtle conservation in Cape Verde or a mission to Mars!

Leading the future

If you are looking to develop your leadership skills, there is the outstanding Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLDP) in the MBA programme and the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) in the EMBA. The PLDP is arguably the largest group and individual coaching intervention amongst all business schools, which starts even before the student joins the programme. “We are trying to humanise leadership,” said Derek Deasy, Senior Affiliate Professor of Organisational Behaviour and PLDP’s Programme Director, “and trying to give people permission to be themselves, be more curious, less judgmental and more compassionate. These are just effective behavioural skills.” The LDP has been a key feature of the EMBA programme since its launch. In collaboration with its coaches, the LDP helps participants to develop their authentic leadership style.

Business for a better world

You would also see a significant increase in the number of courses on sustainability, a subject that is deeply related to our mission of developing responsible leaders who transform business and society. Studies in sustainability – environmental and social – have a long history at INSEAD. For example, our faculty have pioneered research on closed-loop supply chains that help provide a solid foundation for the circular economy, and the broader INSEAD faculty research forms the basis of the 20 electives on sustainability in the MBA programme.

The recently launched INSEAD Sustainable Business Initiative, led by Professor Atalay Atasu, the Bianca and James Pitt Chair in Environmental Sustainability, will support research from environmental, social and governance angles that will lead to more teaching innovation. But this is merely the beginning. INSEAD is well into its curriculum review to increase the focus on sustainability in our programmes. Watch out for more on this topic in the coming months!

All in all, INSEAD has an exciting and forward-looking line-up of new learning experiences to choose from, coupled with the familiarity of rigorous coursework and exceptional diversity. Doesn’t it make you want to relive that unique INSEAD student experience once more?

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