It took INSEAD many years to bring both campuses on the same plane and today the efforts seem to have paid off. “Even though our approach is more resource-intensive, it may have a stronger impact in terms of brand building than other approaches,” says Jain. Today thanks to the Singapore campus, INSEAD is a well-known name in Asia-Pacific and has strong ties with companies, governments and institutions in the region.
“U.S. schools like to be global but the difference is in their approach to being global. INSEAD is the only school that has been successful in setting up another campus. This is a very major achievement,” says Jain. Today, INSEAD’s Singapore campus has 55 full-time faculty members in residence. “Even Chicago’s Booth School of Business has a campus in Singapore, but it’s more of what they call a ‘fly-in and fly-out’ model without resident faculty,” says Jain.
The Road Ahead
INSEAD’s Singapore campus has completed 10 years and is ready for the next stage in its evolution. “We are trying to see what we can do more in Singapore,” says Jain. Part of the plan is to use Singapore as a gateway to China and India, two economies which are on the growth trajectory and are fertile grounds for executive education. Plans are also on for a physical expansion of the Singapore campus. The Economic Development Board of Singapore, the government agency, which played a huge role in getting INSEAD to establish a campus in Singapore, is helping INSEAD with the current expansion.
“The expansion would help us to increase our executive education portfolio in Singapore. We are trying to see what else we can do in the executive education market because that is very important for us,” says Jain. INSEAD is bringing its four-week Advanced Management Program targeted at senior executives to Singapore – so far it was available only in Fontainebleau. “We would like to attract people who will not come all the way to Fontainbleau, but who will prefer to come to Singapore. Asia is growing and companies here need such programs,” says Jain.
Next on the list of priorities is the creation of more research centers. “We want to use each campus to create some sort of identity on the research side,” says Jain. He is exploring the idea of creating an emerging markets research center in Singapore and perhaps one on social media or digitization in Abu Dhabi.
What about Abu Dhabi, the newest addition in the INSEAD clan? “By having a campus in the Middle East, which is a growth area no matter what people say, we are attracting people from different parts of the globe. That to me is a very important message – Abu Dhabi to me would complement our circle in terms of our influence in the different regions,” says Jain. For now, he is looking at Abu Dhabi as a potential base for INSEAD in the Middle East and Africa. “The plans that we have for Abu Dhabi are much broader than you can think of. Abu Dhabi is currently a center for executive education and our Executive MBA. Right now we just want to continue with that and later on we’ll definitely want to expand,” he adds.
Another issue on Jain’s list of priorities is increasing INSEAD’s endowment. At 135.6 million Euros, the school’s endowment is smaller than that of other comparable business schools. “If you depend so much on executive education and executive education is dependent on economic conditions then you need to be very careful in what we try to do,” says Jain. “The basic issue is building a culture of philanthropy – that is a very U.S. type of phenomenon. My personal feeling is that this is a slightly long-term thing.”
Europe. Asia. Middle East. America?
Years ago, then INSEAD dean Gabriel Hawawini had talked of the possibility of setting up a campus in the U.S. But that plan never saw the light of the day. Instead, INSEAD has said it would leverage its alliance with the Wharton School. Jain is revisiting that plan. “We do need to have some presence in the U.S. You can’t be a business school for the world unless you have a link to the U.S.,” he says. “What form that will take – setting up our own campus or creating an alliance – that’s what we are revisiting.”
But what about the existing alliance with Wharton? “We are talking to Wharton about how to take the alliance to the next level. We are working on that,” says Jain.
Going forward, Jain wants to build on INSEAD’S marketing slogan as “the business school for the world.” “For that we need to make sure that all these campuses that we have right now are well-coordinated. We need to leverage whatever we have and continue to be the best in whatever we do,” he says. “My overall vision for INSEAD is that we continue to build our reputation. Because if you ask me what is our currency? Our currency is our reputation.”