INSEAD’s Ilian Mihov Imagines The Future

Besides its main campus in France, INSEAD has campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi (above)

What will the next few years bring at INSEAD? What is the outlook in Fontainebleau (and Singapore, and Abu Dhabi)?

The outlook is very good. We’re very fortunate with not only the rankings but to me the really important thing is that when you look inside the school, is there the energy, enthusiasm, passion for what we do? Do we have students coming and wanting to study at INSEAD? Do they get really good jobs?

And when you look at these criteria — because, again, as you know, all these rankings have a bit of arbitrary weight on one metric or the other — but when you look at INSEAD there is so much energy, so many ideas, and at some point I just feel like we are the most complicated business school in the world. We have two campuses fully fledged in Singapore and Fontainebleau, another campus in Abu Dhabi, we are the biggest school in terms of students: every year on the market, 1,000 MBAs appear and need to find jobs. And even though the two-year programs might have more people on campus, every year on the market they put fewer than what INSEAD does.

These students come from 94 different countries. They want sometimes to be in Singapore, sometimes to be in Fontainebleau, 75% move between the two campuses — which actually is a big value add at INSEAD, that you can experience Asia and Europe. We create field trips to places like San Francisco, too. So this is why I say it’s the most complicated school. And also when a student says, “I want a job in Japan,” we have to help them find a job in Japan. At a school here is the U.S. , they say, “Go find yourself a job in Japan.”

It is complicated, but at the same time we think that through our projects with the Institute for Business and Society, changing the mentality, changing the mindset of how we do business, there is even more enthusiasm. There is a huge project in digitalization. There is phenomenal work in machine learning and artificial intelligence in the future of management: What do you need to know as a student about machine learning? AI is a lot of speculative things, but machine learning is here.

So all these things are pulling the school in many different directions, and it’s exciting.


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