The INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Network – a look back and ahead

In today’s world, many industries are subject to radical changes. However, the innovations currently transforming the healthcare sector may also have a profound influence on our lives as human beings, impacting a multitude of aspects, from conception to death. New medical technologies – ranging from genomics to digital health – will give us unprecedented power to predict, detect and manage severe health problems, and even promise to heal diseases considered incurable just a short while ago. On the one hand, these revolutionary developments will help us to address challenges caused by ageing populations or newly emerging diseases, while creating significant business opportunities; on the other, these novel technologies also give rise to complex economic and ethical questions.

To illustrate the reach of INSEAD’s alumni network in healthcare and life sciences, let’s look at two of the hottest – and most hotly debated – areas in healthcare innovation today: gene and cell therapies. Did you know that a number of INSEAD alumni are working at the very forefront of these new developments?

  • Pascal Touchon MBA’91J serves as SVP and Global Head Cell & Gene Therapy at Novartis Oncology, which obtained the first-ever US approval for a gene therapy product in 2017.
  • Fred Chereau EMBA’04Dec of LogicBio and Mark Rothera MBA’89D of Orchard Therapeutics are the CEOs of young gene therapy companies that raised large financing rounds in 2017.
  • In March 2018, TiGenix, led by CEO Eduardo Bravo MBA’91D, obtained the first-ever EU approval for an allogeneic stem cell therapy, while being bought by Takeda for $630 million.
  • Frank Verwiel also MBA’91D serves on the board of gene therapy firm AveXis which Novartis plans to acquire for $8.7 billion as of April 2018.

In fact, this list could easily be extended with the names of other INSEAD alumni involved in gene and cell therapies as entrepreneurs, executives, consultants or investors. And similar lists could be drawn up for many other subjects. My point is, whatever healthcare subsector, therapeutic area or geographic region you can think of, chances are that some INSEAD alumni out there have highly relevant experience and connections. That’s the power of our network.

Overall, at least 5% of all INSEAD graduates (i.e. 2,500–3,000 alumni on six continents) work in the healthcare sector, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices and healthcare services, as well as healthcare-focused consulting, banking, private equity, venture capital and NGOs. As the oldest of the global alumni clubs, the INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Network (also known as IHAN or the Global Healthcare Club) has provided a platform for contacts, learning, discussion and cooperation among alumni, the school and its faculty for more than a decade.

My own batchmates alone, from MBA’02D, include an executive at a vaccine-focused NGO, a practising paediatric neurosurgeon and the founder of an Asian genomics startup, not to mention others working on healthcare issues in pharma and medical device companies, insurance, consulting firms and investment banks. As well as these individual alumni, other important IHAN stakeholders include the IAA and NAAs (some of which have established local healthcare clubs), current MBA/EMBA participants as well as faculty and staff working on healthcare-related issues. In particular, Professor Steve Chick and the INSEAD Healthcare Management Initiative have been great partners and supporters of our global club for many years.

Over the last decade, many hundreds of alumni have participated in international INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Summits in different European cities, annual INSEAD Alumni @ JPM events in San Francisco and countless local events organised by various NAAs and their local healthcare clubs around the world. The Swiss Healthcare Club is just one example. It has typically organised three annual events in each of the last 15 years, some years including a Healthcare Trek in which current MBA participants meet potential employers from the Swiss healthcare industry. These offline connections are complemented by a global LinkedIn group with almost 1,200 members.

Despite (or, more precisely, because of) its large and vibrant member base, the INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Network urgently needs some fresh blood in the form of additional leadership and supporters!

Your active help is needed so that we can continue or launch initiatives such as:

  • liaising with local healthcare clubs to promote their events globally and exchange best practices
  • generating and updating electronic content for the relaunch of the IHAN website and newsletter
  • managing IHAN’s presence on LinkedIn and other social media channels
  • setting up webcasts on healthcare-related topics
  • organising meeting-in-a-meeting events similar to the popular INSEAD Alumni @ JPM series, e.g. at BIO 2018 (Boston, 4–7 June) or BIO-Europe 2018 (Copenhagen, 5­ to 7 November)
  • working with the on-campus healthcare club on healthcare treks and career development issues
  • helping to bring the latest healthcare insights from INSEAD faculty to alumni (and vice versa)
  • collaborating with other global clubs (IPEC, TMT, Women in Business, etc.) on issues of common interest
  • recruiting and managing industry-specific sponsors to fund al these initiatives
  • … and/or implementing entirely new ideas to engage with INSEAD’s network in the healthcare sector.

So if you can spare some time and energy to engage with fellow INSEAD alumni who share your interest in healthcare, please let us know.

  • If you would like to take on an active role in the Global Healthcare Club, please send an email to, indicating which activities you are interested in.
  • If you would like to become involved in your local healthcare club (or help to set one up), please contact your NAA.

If you want to make sure you receive our newsletter with healthcare-related updates and event announcements, please sign up here MyINSEAD (go to MyProfile and update your email subscription preference).

We look forward to hearing from you.

Chandra P. Leo, MBA’02D
Aleks Ruzicic, MBA’97J

Thanks to the many alumni and other kind souls who have supported IHAN over the years – and in some cases continue to do so, including specifically: Steven Flostrand, Marc Michel, Roman Rittweger and Ulrich Thess; Frank Verwiel; Steve Chick and Reinhard Angelmar; the entire INSEAD Alumni Relations team; the Swiss NAA (esp. Alexander Wyss and Richard Bissonnet); Sophie Bertin and the IAA; the many alumni engaged in local healthcare clubs around the world; all the organisers, moderators, speakers and panellists at IHAN events; and the sponsors who made our past IHAN activities possible.

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