INSEAD To Open A San Francisco Hub

INSEAD San Francisco Hub

An artist’s rendering of INSEAD’s San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation

Following a herd of business schools that have opened shop in the Bay Area, INSEAD yesterday (Dec. 11) announced that it would create a San Francisco Hub. The center, to be located two blocks from Giants’ Oracle Park, is expected to open its doors in February 2020.

Though INSEAD had studied the feasibility of launching an Executive MBA program in the Bay Area, the school will initially use its San Francisco base for several open enrollment executive education courses. The inaugural program, a $12,000, three-day program called Integrating Performance and Progress, will start on April 16, 2020. Over time, INSEAD expects to offer electives and study trips to the Hub for its MBA and Executive MBA students.

INSEAD follows a large number of U.S. business schools into the Bay Area market. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School began its presence in San Francisco 18 years ago in 2001 with a highly successful EMBA program as well as classes for both MBA and undergraduate students from its Philadelphia campus. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management began a quarter program in entrepreneurship and innovation in the Bay Area for its MBA students nearly three years ago in the university’s space in San Francisco’s Financial District. Lehigh University also has a San Francisco hub in the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center.


INSEAD’s San Francisco center will be the first time the European school will have a facility in the U.S. INSEAD, which has campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, is building two teaching amphitheaters with a large open multi-use space for its San Francisco hub. It will face formidable competition from nearby Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and Wharton — all of which have their own executive education offerings — among other schools.
“While it previously had an exchange program with Wharton, this is the first stake in the ground the INSEAD is planting in the Western Hemisphere,” says Linda Abraham, founder of, an MBA admissions consultancy. “It didn’t want to be the Business School for the Eastern Hemisphere only. San Francisco is a tech hub and the focus of INSEAD’s presence is going to be innovation so it makes sense that it would locate in San Francisco and the very innovative Bay Area, much like Wharton has done. And like Wharton, the initial focus of the hub will be executive education.”

To start, INSEAD is bringing little more than a handful of exec ed programs to the Bay Area in a new partnership with Singularity University, leveraging its expertise in digital technology and help in designing the programs. INSEAD said it would also use the new space to hold custom designed programs for companies.


Mary Carey of INSEAD

Mary Carey, regional director for The Americas INSEAD Executive Education

Mary Carey, who joined INSEAD eight years years ago after working for HEC Paris as a senior manager of corporate and career development in HEC’s MBA program, is directly involved in the effort as regional director for The Americas INSEAD Executive Education.

“From our origins in postwar Europe, INSEAD has distinguished itself in bringing together diverse people and perspectives to drive learning and build bridges as we develop responsible business leaders,” said INSEAD Dean Ilian Mihov. “Coming to North America opens an important new chapter in this journey.  We are deeply grateful to our many alumni donors who made possible the transformation of this historic building into a state-of-the-art facility for learning and exchange.”

The move to the Bay Area was overseen by Dean of Innovation Peter Zemsky who has overseen the development of the hub. “As tech innovation goes global, business leaders everywhere need to rapidly transform their strategies and organizations,” he said in a statement. “At the same time, tech leaders need to adapt to the dramatically shifting expectations about the impact of their products on societies worldwide. INSEAD is uniquely placed to facilitate this learning through our global faculty and network.”


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