An Interview With INSEAD Dean Ilian Mihov

New INSEAD Dean Ilian Mihov

New INSEAD Dean Ilian Mihov

This will really be the first time we attempt to do major fundraising with alumni. We’ve approached alumni in the past, but nothing like the way it is done in the U.S. I have my PhD from Princeton and there is continuous annual giving and a lot of communication going to the alumni. Most of the money we raised in the past came from corporate donors. The last campaign we raised 203 million Euros and the previous one was 400 million Euros.

In the U.S., most of the schools are required to raise the money before they build anything. At INSEAD, we always built by borrowing. If you manage to raise some money, that is good.

Fundraising is important and it’s not just for the sake of all these arguments but because I want to relieve the budget from investing in buildings to invest in our programs and students. I think we can do a lot more and right now we run a fairly tight budget. Going forward, the big challenge is for business schools to think about what we do in the classroom. what do we teach our students?

How do you see that changing?

In the next 20 or 15 years, we will see huge changes in the way work is done. A lot of manufacturing work is done today by robots but digitization is replacing a lot of white collar work like lawyers and accountants. A good part of their jobs can be done by computers with proper algorithms. When I think about the future, I have to think about what are the skills our students will need in the next 20 to 30 years.

Do you think the value of the MBA degree is increasing or decreasing?

It will hit schools around the world differently. The demand for education in top business schools is not going to go down. It will be steady or even increase in the future. But we have seen a decline in GMAT test takers in the past few years. What you see is a polarization between different schools. The top schools are doing well, but the others are suffering. Applicant are saying, ‘Why should I pay this huge amount if the quality is not as good as the top schools and i can get many of these courses online for free.’

What do you think of the explosion in business MOOCs?

We are thinking now that we may do that. We already use technology quite significantly in the classroom. The way I think about it is that technology has two purposes: One is to enlarge the size of your market and MOOCs achieve this. And the second way to use technology is to deepen the experience of your participants.

Do you think business schools are making a mistake by offering their content to students for free?

I don’t know if it is a mistake. Probably they achieve some other goals by doing a MOOC. I think at some point we will do something. The thing about INSEAD is that it is very much driven by the faculty, and the faculty have not been so excited about it. There are some who are talking about it but they have not been active yet.

What is your view of all the rankings out there that attempt to measure the quality of a given business school’s MBA program?

Rankings are important. Some of them are very informative. For me, I look at different criteria and different components of the rankings to understand where we need to improve. I certainly do not want to say this is not important. Having said this, there are some rankings that cannot pass the simple test of reasonableness. This kind of ranking I think people do not take seriously.

When I look at what our students think of our career services and aims achieved, it gives me a signal to go back to alumni and students and dig a little deeper. There are other things we can change in order to climb up in the rankings but that could change the culture of the school. Our students, for example, are older. They already come to INSEAD with high salaries. So four years later, their increases are not as great. If I take younger students, my percentage increase would be higher. This is an example of things you can change, but then that would not be INSEAD. It’s not something we want to address.