For nine consecutive years, St. Gallen has topped The Financial Times’ ranking of European Master in Management programs. But now the Swiss school could be facing a new challenge from one of the biggest hitters in the business school world: INSEAD. The French school, which has main campuses in Fontainebleau and Singapore, has never previously offered a MiM, but is currently recruiting participants for its inaugural class in September. The cost will be about US$53,000.
If the quality of INSEAD’s MBA is anything to go by — it was ranked third in the FT’s global MBA ranking last year, behind Harvard and Wharton — the new program could soon shake up Europe’s MiM landscape. But why, after 60-plus years of existence, is INSEAD making this dramatic move?
The broad answer, says Thibault Seguret, the course director, can be found in the school’s founding mission of fostering innovation and bringing together people from different countries and cultures. “At some point, we felt that in order to stay true to who we are, we had to include this younger population of people aged 20-24,” he says. “From our perspective, it’s less about entering a market than including a new age group.”
3 ‘ACCENTS’ IN INSEAD’S NEW MiM: SUSTAINABILITY, DIGITAL & DATA, AND SOFT SKILLS
It’s no surprise that the new program will have a distinctly INSEAD feel. For starters, it looks significantly different than most MiMs, taking place for the first six months in INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus before the cohort of 80 relocates to Singapore for the remaining four months. There are also optional field trips to Abu Dhabi, the U.S., and China, making this MiM a very international experience.
The program is split into five two-month segments, the first four of which will consist of core courses, workshops, and practicals; in the final segment, candidates will take six electives and complete a final “project management and agility” workshop. Topics will include the usual MiM suspects: financial reporting, strategy, and microeconomics, with workshops covering subjects like coding and presentation. One feature that makes the INSEAD MiM stand out: its “holistic approach to business,” Seguret says, meaning that all the professors understand what their colleagues are teaching, so they can relate their own classes to others.
Three “accents” run through the program, Seguret says: sustainability, digital and data, and soft skills. These have been developed following in-depth conversations with employers about the skills and knowledge they need in their managers. As an example of just how seriously these are taken, the program concludes with a boot camp on applying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to real-world cases brought by companies and NGOs.
‘EVERYONE IS A MINORITY’ AT INSEAD
Unlike some European-only schools that recruit to their MiM mainly from their own regions, early indications are that in terms of nationalities the INSEAD MiM will closely resemble its MBA, which last year was 38% European, 33% Asian, 12% American, 10% Middle Eastern and African, and 6% South American, with participants from over 20 countries. Building a diverse network is a key INSEAD principle, and the school prides itself on creating classes where “everyone is in a minority,” Seguret says, meaning that participants learn to listen to and understand other viewpoints. To embed this further, MiM participants will work in several study groups through the course to widen their exposure to people with different backgrounds.
A core aim, Seguret says, is to bond these diverse people into a close group so they develop “lifelong friendships and relationships.”
Unlike some MiMs (and MBAs), where schools fly in visiting professors and professionals to teach classes, all INSEAD faculty members are resident. “At any point, you can walk to the next building and knock on the door of a professor and spend half an hour discussing with him or her to talk about research their field or even be referred to another professor whose research is completely aligned with the questions the student has,” Seguret says.