The Covid-19 pandemic could have derailed plans for the Robin Hood Campaign, an annual fundraising initiative led by INSEAD students. But it didn’t—all because of a group of committed students who wouldn’t give up.
During the 2019/2020 academic year, students in the MBA’20J and MBA’20D classes rallied in support of the Robin Hood Campaign, with the MBA’20J class raising €23,526 (49% participation) and the MBA’20D class raising €18,172 (47% participation). Both campaigns supported the creation of need-based diversity scholarships for INSEAD students in the 2021 classes. At the same time, they helped move the school closer to its broader participation goals for the Force for Good campaign.
Sagnik Mukherjee MBA’20J didn’t hesitate to volunteer as an ambassador for his class’s campaign. “I firmly believe that the INSEAD MBA experience is transformational,” he said. “If we can make this affordable for one or more students in need, then we should do so.”
Another ambassador, Krati Tripathi MBA’20J, felt a duty to pay it forward for future students. “As an Indian who grew up in Nigeria and India, I have come across too many genuinely talented individuals who are unable to pursue their dreams and fulfil their potential due to a lack of resources,” she said. “I feel immensely grateful and privileged to have been able to pursue my MBA at INSEAD and be aided by the INSEAD Women’s Scholarship while doing so.”
In keeping with the Robin Hood Campaign’s tradition of “fun fundraising,” both classes organised lively, creative events during Robin Hood week to keep students engaged and entertained. For the Secret Crush event, for instance, students had roses and chocolates delivered to their friends and crushes on the Fontainebleau and Singapore campuses. For the Robin Hood Auction, students bid on prizes ranging from cooking lessons and waxing services to French vineyard tours. Other events included trivia nights, live concerts and fun runs through the city.
While most of the events went as planned, the pandemic disrupted all events scheduled on the Fontainebleau campus in November 2020, when the French government imposed new lockdown measures. As a result, students in MBA’20D had to move all of their events online with only a week’s notice.
“The team really had to improvise,” recalls Maryna Kumeda, Assistant Director of Development, who supported the team in Fontainebleau. “But their events were really fun, with lots of singing, laughter and celebrating with champagne. It just showed that we can be in lockdown and still come together to support future students.”
Maryna adds that the students’ ability to power through the pandemic—particularly in the interest of helping others—bodes well for their future and their relationship with INSEAD.
“Robin Hood is a steppingstone for students to become INSEAD leaders,” she explains. “It is their first experience in driving their classmates’ engagement and sending the message that it is important to support INSEAD. It’s a pretty special initiative, not only because it builds connections between students, but because it has an impact on someone’s life.”
Image caption: Robin Hood volunteers from the MBA’20D committee in Singapore. From left to right – Ashwini Vaidya, Mokshda Wandchoo, Yun Fang Lee, Ruilong Guo