INSEAD Alumni Forums help alumni stay connected while engaging in lifelong learning
One of the benefits of an INSEAD education is membership in a lifelong, global community of practitioners and scholars. For many alumni, meeting up with peers from around the world at the INSEAD Alumni Forums has become a tradition.
Held three times a year—in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific—the Forums provide opportunities to discuss urgent topics and learn best practices while engaging with the INSEAD community. Each Forum showcases top faculty and research and facilitates collaboration with local and regional business leaders. Social and networking events, including mini reunions and a Gala Party, create a lively atmosphere of connection and celebration.
“The Forums offer an incredible opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with thought leaders from around the world,” says Nida Januskis, Associate Dean of Advancement. “Bringing together such a diverse group allows for an open dialogue and debate, which leads to fascinating insights.”
Dedicated alumni volunteers from National Alumni Associations (NAA) organise each forum with support from the INSEAD events team. Each Forum has a faculty lead, who helps ensure the programmes align with INSEAD’s vision of business as a force for good.
The Forums have grown tremendously since they began 15 years ago, says Fadilah Ahmad, Senior Director, Alumni & Institutional Events. “We even have Forum fans who go from one Forum to another, and many organise mini reunions,” she says. “It’s not just the content or meeting the dean and the faculty, but also the networking across and within promotions that attracts alumni.”
Around 400 alumni representing all industries from around the globe attend each Forum, says Ahmad. “It’s difficult to find a place where you have 400 people at this intellectual level gathered together.”
Inventing the future
At the Alumni Forum Americas in San Francisco on 13-14 April, C-level executives, global decision makers and INSEAD thought leaders engaged in lively conversation about trends shaping the business landscape. The theme of the event, “Inventing the Future: Inspiration, Intelligence and Inclusion,” was tied to INSEAD’s philosophy on the relationship between business and society.
“The NAA and INSEAD are united in the notion that business is a force for good,” explains NAA USA President Mike Davis MBA’10J, Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder at MPOWER Financing. “We are business leaders for the world, embracing innovation.”
The programme featured topics such as entrepreneurship, innovations in venture finance, the impact of technology on public trust, the future of cryptocurrencies and how gender influences negotiation outcomes.
“What you see in the programme is a continuation of that same INSEAD experience that people have grown to love,” Davis says. “It’s the three pillars—academic, social and professional. We had academic discussions on entrepreneurship and private equity. The social pillar was represented with a phenomenal opening ceremony and the gala party at the end. The professional pillar is the continuous commitment to networking amongst fellow alumni.”
The location also offered the chance to learn more about INSEAD’s proposed San Francisco facility, which the NAA USA and INSEAD have been working together to foster, says Davis. “The San Francisco facility is really going to be a game changer; it gives alumni a place to congregate and gives the school an opportunity to continue to lead the charge of business as a force for good.”
Business and society
The Netherlands welcomed the INSEAD Alumni Forum Europe on 8-10 June, gathering a large crowd of INSEAD alumni, faculty and inspirational speakers. With the theme “Business and Society—European Leadership in a Changing World,” the programme addressed challenges leaders face in today’s shifting world and the necessity of being proactive in their companies and society.
The goal of this year’s event was to inspire alumni and spur action, says Charles Kotting MBA’00D, Dutch NAA President and Founding Partner of 5CS Capital Partners.
“This is a chance for alumni to renew their education and learn about new topics that may not have been around when they were at school,” he says.
“It’s important for us to not only have interesting and inspiring speeches from all sorts of people, but also to try to get alumni to think and act when they leave the conference.”
Programme highlights covered urgent topics relating to the pressures on society from increasing population, advancements in technology, extreme weather and rising water levels, increasing inequality and immigration. The aim was to collaborate on how to use business to tackle these issues and have a positive impact on society and the world at large.
“People are in the process of creating purpose and doing better for the world, while at the same time creating successful companies,” says Kotting. “It’s not an easy task, but we’re doing it and we’re heading in the right direction.”
A force for good
If you haven’t had the chance to attend any of the Forums this year, there’s still time to register for the INSEAD Alumni Forum Asia, held 9-10 November in Singapore. With the theme “Business as a Force for Good,” the event offers a unique environment to interact with influential thinkers, leaders and academics on how business can be an engine for positive change in the world.
It’s a great opportunity to get an update on what INSEAD is doing while networking and engaging in lifelong learning, says Davis. “The Forum is a nice refresher and reminds us of how on top of it INSEAD is in terms of curriculum and content. They allow folks to get a little sense of that INSEAD magic while reconnecting and making new friends.”
Many thanks to Charles Kotting and his team for having put together such an excellent Alumni Forum in Noordwijk in June.
The aim was to walk away inspired, with at least one bright new idea and one new sterling friendship.
I hope I can speak of many who attended that that goal was definitely acheived!