“Work hard, play hard”

IAA 2The forest of Fontainebleau reverberated with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat on Saturday 28 May, as 56 alumni volunteers, along with the alumni relations and advancement teams, competed in physically and mentally challenging team-building activities, taking place to mark the Alumni Volunteers Meeting (AVM) of the INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA) and the INSEAD Alumni Fund (IAF). The team building session is a new initiative bringing together alumni volunteers for work and fun during the weekend of 27 to 29 May.

INSEAD has a unique model of alumni relations where alumni volunteers enhance the alumni network, engage alumni and provide them with the required services, as well as promote and support the School.  Currently, there are 48 National Alumni Associations (NAA), seven National Alumni Clubs (NAC) and seven Global Clubs. All of these entities fall under the IAA umbrella, each with a President and Executive Committee.

The AVM, which takes place twice a year, is an opportunity to exchange information, share best practice and build on the relationship between the associations, clubs and the school. These meetings are deliberately planned at the same time as the INSEAD Alumni Fund President, Trustees, and Global Directors meetings so that there are opportunities to dialogue and collaborate.

For the alumni volunteers, the excitement of getting together began on the first evening of the weekend, when everyone went for dinner at the Samois-sur-Seine Country Club. On the bus ride to the Club, there was much recollection of past meetings along with plenty of nostalgia about time spent at Fontainebleau and INSEAD as students.

Typical of the work hard / play hard tradition at INSEAD, the AVM weekend was packed with a variety of sessions and activities. Working group sessions and fireside chats were alternated with lectures on strategy, communication and branding. Highlights included a lecture from the L’Oreal Chaired Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Creativity, Pierre Chandon, on “Pleasure Size and Marketing” in the area of nutrition and diet, as well as a highly anticipated update on the school and its recent remarkable achievements by Dean Ilian Mihov and Associate Dean, Advancement and Alumni Relations, Joanne Shoveller.

IAA 1On Saturday evening, during the Dean’s Leadership Reception, six alumni were presented with Salamanders in recognition of their cumulative giving to INSEAD. Dean Ilian Mihov and Deputy Dean Peter Zemsky were also recognised for their personal donations to the school demonstrating leadership by example, and each received a Bronze Salamander. The evening culminated with the famous “Le Bal de Josephine” (the INSEAD Summer Ball), which was so popular that tickets were sold out three weeks in advance.

Despite a late night, the volunteers were up early on Sunday morning to continue their work. Everyone departed on Sunday afternoon, boosted by a weekend of campus immersion and interacting with the INSEAD community.

“Ce n’est qu’un au revoir” until the next AVM on the Singapore campus in November 2016.

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