Interview: INSEAD Dean On The School’s New Bay Area Hub & More

The front door to INSEAD’s new San Francisco campus

WILL FORMALLY ANNOUNCE A BIG RENOVATION TO THE MAIN CAMPUS BY THE END OF MARCH

Even so, Dean Mihov says there are students who either want to be entrepreneurs or be closer to the VC community. So one possibility under consideration is for INSEAD to add a three-to-four week program in San Francisco for INSEAD MBAs who complete the ten-month-long program. “What we can do is after they graduate give them three or four weeks here,” says Mihov. “They could have a course here. About 25% of our courses are in entrepreneurship already but there is always room for more. That is another benefit here because we can bring entrepreneurs from the Bay Area here.”

Though INSEAD was known to be studying the EMBA market in the Bay Area, Mihov says an INSEAD Executive MBA is “not on the table now. Eventually, we may start discussions on it but there is a lot we can do by integrating with the community here. There are a lot of companies here that would like to become international. If we have a strong competitive advantage it is in the internationalization of companies: How you enter different markets and build strategies around them. We do these things very well.”

Next on the horizon is a major renovation of the school’s Fontainebleu campus at the end of March. “We have this beautiful campus in the forest but the forest is not visible enough on campus so we have a master plan to change some of the buildings, replant 400 trees on the campus and make it much more green, reducing energy consumption by 73%, and integrating the campus with the forest,” says Mihov. “We have this unique place that we should use as an asset. This is a big, big project for the school.”

WITH THREE APP DEADLINES TO GO, INSEAD HAS ADMITTED MORE THAN HALF ITS FIRST MIM CLASS

The renovation, at a cost of 100 million Euros, will add some space but not that much, according to Mihov.
“But it will make it much better in terms of circulation and much greener,” he says. “We want to put the human in the center so that when you come to INSEAD you will learn but we want to change the mindset of our students on how you do business and also learn a different lifestyle in terms of wellness and exercise to live a healthier life.”

Meantime, INSEAD’s recruitment of its first MiM cohort is going well. “The class looks good,” he says. “We have really good quality. We have a target of 80 students and have gone through the first two rounds. We have a total of five rounds and we have admitted 43 students with three more rounds to go. We may overshoot a little bit. But the quality is really good and the program is fantastic.”

The most significant academic development at the school has been its new focus on business and society, reinforced by the record gift from Hoffmann. “It set up an intellectual agenda,” believes Mihov. “This is probably the biggest thing the school has ever done on the intellectual side. In the last three or four years, we have clarified the focus of the school around business and society. So those themes have become very important. They have entered every part of the curriculum for the MBAs. We have a required course on business and society. We want to make sure our students think about how to make their companies efficient and profitable but also be conscious of the impact they have on society and the environment.”

CONNECTING ALUMNI TO CREATE A GLOBAL LEARNING COMMUNITY

Mihov, reappointed to a second five-year term that will end in three and one-half years, believes his most important accomplishment is harnessing INSEAD’s alumni network. “To me, the most important result of the deanship so far is the connection with the community,” he says. “Three weeks into the job in 2013, the host of a reunion event in Canada asked me how would I know my deanship is successful in five years?

“I said, ‘Well, I have no idea what I am doing here in three weeks and what I should be doing.’ And then I started thinking, what is the big thing I want to achieve? If we could create a global learning community with 60,000 alums connected to the school and faculty with students, then you are creating something extremely powerful. You are exchanging knowledge.”

So he has been sponsoring alumni forums that bring together 500 or 600 alumni in key locations of the world to learn from INSEAD faculty. In June, alumni will gather in Munich for an event on leading with purpose. In November, they will gather in New York. The alumni event for the opening of the San Francisco campus has been another opportunity for Mihov to bring that global community together again.

“A lot of great things have been founded in garages in Silicon Valley,” he says, hoping that INSEAD’s new hub, also founded in a former garage, will be a great thing, too.

DON’T MISS: INSEAD ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR TALKS: SEVEN TOP TAKEAWAYS or INSEAD CLAIMS FIRST FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN A ROW

Page 3 of 3