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INSEAD Diversity Initiative Doubles MBA Scholarships For Under-Represented Students

INSEAD reports the highest average GMAT scores of any European business school. File photo

INSEAD reports the highest average GMAT scores of any European business school. File photo


In a wide range of initiatives to increase racial diversity at INSEAD, the European business school told alumni that it is doubling its scholarship budget for students from under-represented backgrounds, including from Africa and will also create a new position on diversity in the marketing and recruitment team of its degree programs department.

The school, with MBA campuses in France and Singapore, said it also will launch a fund dedicated to developing case studies that portray minority protagonists, have broad national diversity and address discrimination and injustice and it has immediately allocated €50,000 in seed funding to projects on equity, diversity and inclusion with an intention to increase that level of funding in future years.

The extraordinary moves were announced in an email written by Dean Ilian Mihov sent to INSEAD alumni and obtained by Poets&Quants. It occurs at a time when many business schools are attempting to more directly address issue sos racial injustice and economic inequality. The awakening to such issues has resulted in a public apology by Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria for the school’s racial failures which in itself has brought additional criticism from at least one former Black American senior lecturer (see Former Harvard Business School Prof Slams Dean For School’s ‘Systematic Anti-Black Practices). That same former professor has proposed 12 steps he believes HBS should take to resolve its anti-Black culture.

‘EVENTS HAVE LAID BARE PERSISTING RACIAL INEQUALITIES AND INJUSTICES’

“Events around the world, including, but not limited to, the brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Adama Traoré, have laid bare persisting racial inequalities and injustices,” wrote Mihov. “We know that these issues transcend national borders and that they affect our communities as well. Diversity and inclusion are founding values of INSEAD and we, therefore, feel the need to articulate our commitment against racism and reconfirm the foundational nature of our values.”

The initiatives are the outgrowth of a meeting convened last month by the dean who brought together a group of INSEAD stakeholders to suggest ways the school could respond to issues of inequity. Among other things, the school is creating a new INSEAD Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that will report directly to the Dean of INSEAD. The office, explains Mihov, “will ensure that we execute our action plan, regularly conduct assessments and provide reports on progress towards our core values and objectives. We are collecting best practices on how such an office should be structured and details will be determined.”

INSEAD’s plan also includes steps to boost the racial diversity of its faculty and staff. Mihov said INSEAD will develop a plan to align with best practices to increase the diversity of staff and create a fund to facilitate faculty exchange from under-represented backgrounds. “We will work with the PhD Project to increase the diversity of our faculty pipeline and engage other business schools in this effort to amplify our impact,” he wrote.

The full text of his email follows:

Events around the world, including, but not limited to, the brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Adama Traoré, have laid bare persisting racial inequalities and injustices. We know that these issues transcend national borders and that they affect our communities as well. Diversity and inclusion are founding values of INSEAD and we, therefore, feel the need to articulate our commitment against racism and reconfirm the foundational nature of our values.

Last month, I brought together a group to listen to members of our communities and suggest ways in which we can respond in the short, medium and long-term. I am writing today to share an update on the actions we are taking now and will take in the next academic year starting in September.

The initial group I appointed is expanding now into a multi-stakeholder task force on equity, diversity and inclusion that will consist of (i) a core organising team, (ii) a broader team that will bring together representatives from students, staff, alumni and faculty, as well as key departments of the school to explore and test the viability of recommended actions while leading the engagement with different constituencies and (iii) an equity, diversity and inclusion specialist to advise and guide our work.

Together, we have started to prepare possible interventions to improve our institution, representation, education and thought leadership. Below is the list of initial actions, which will take effect immediately or will be implemented in the coming academic year:

Institution

We will create a new INSEAD Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion reporting directly to the Dean of INSEAD and will ensure that we execute our action plan, regularly conduct assessments and provide reports on progress towards our core values and objectives. We are collecting best practices on how such an office should be structured and details will be determined.

We will align with leading schools and provide equity, diversity and inclusion training to staff, managers and faculty.

We will share checklists to improve inclusion in syllabi as well as in all our marketing and communication.

We will launch the INSEAD Africa Initiative to develop partnerships with African universities and organisations and work closely with our alumni in Africa to increase the diversity of our student applications and offer executive programmes.

Representation

While we recognise that we will need to work creatively within the context of the legal restrictions in the countries where we have campuses, we remain committed to encouraging diversity of backgrounds among our students, staff and faculty.

Students. As of today, we are doubling our scholarship budget for students from under-represented backgrounds, including from Africa. We will create a new position on diversity in the marketing and recruitment team of our Degree Programmes department, and we will continue to analyse and act on the parameters that would allow greater diversity in our student applications.

Staff. We will develop a plan to align with best practices to increase the diversity of our staff in accordance with legal requirements of countries where our campuses are located.

Faculty. We will create a fund to facilitate faculty exchange from under-represented backgrounds and for subject-matter experts on relevant topics. We will work with the PhD Project to increase the diversity of our faculty pipeline and engage other business schools in this effort to amplify our impact.

Education

We will launch a fund dedicated to developing cases that portray minority protagonists, have broad national diversity and address discrimination and injustice.

We will incorporate material and conversations on systemic racism and equity, diversity and inclusion in our curricula, from launch week of our programmes to specialised electives. Next academic year, we will launch a new elective on diversity, equity and inclusion.

We are initiating a series of research-based webinars to increase the lifelong learning of all members of our community on equity, diversity and inclusion. The first session will be held later today (16 July) as part of our INSEAD Summer Learning Festival and will focus on systemic racism and the role of business leaders in addressing it.
Thought Leadership

We are immediately allocating €50,000 seed funding from our Research and Development Committee to projects on equity, diversity and inclusion with the view to increase this earmarked envelope every year.

We are now creating an INSEAD Knowledge page on equity, diversity and inclusion to display and discuss all of INSEAD’s research on the topic.

We will lead the conversation by holding a regular academic conference on equity, diversity and inclusion. Next academic year will have two: (i) the “Women at Work” conference looking inter alia at gender intersections with race in March 2021 in Abu Dhabi and (ii) the inaugural “Business in Africa” conference in partnership with Brookings.
In the coming weeks, the INSEAD Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task force (EDIT), reporting to me, will execute these initial actions while setting up the necessary processes for actions that will require more time. The task force will provide quarterly update reports until the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is fully set up and staffed.

I am deeply grateful to the task force and all who gave input so that we could craft our action plan on these most important issues. I look forward to updating you on our progress in the months ahead.

Best regards,

Ilian Mihov
Dean
INSEAD

DON’T MISS: HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL DEAN APOLOGIZES FOR THE SCHOOL’S RACIAL FAILURES or HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL CASE STUDY: WHY PROGRESS STALLED FOR BLACK AMERICANS

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.