It’s one of the world’s leading and largest graduate schools, and bills itself as more than just a business school for the world. In an exclusive interview with GlobeAsia, INSEAD dean Dipak C Jain shares how the school brings people together.
If you’re interested in pursuing your MBA, it is inevitable that INSEAD will be one of your options. However, the question is, should it even be an option?
According to dean Dipak C Jain, the answer is yes. Established in 1957, INSEAD’s first campus was in Fontainebleau, France. Its curriculum, culture and social values have made it the number one non-US business school. Last year, INSEAD tied with Stanford Graduate School of Business in the Financial Times rankings.
Following his retirement as associate dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, for the Indian-born educator an offer to serve as INSEAD’s dean was hard to pass up. “I have been given the trust and opportunity to lead one of the world’s most reputable MBA schools and I’m ready to face the challenges,” he says.
“INSEAD has been engaging international students since the ‘80s. INSEAD really focuses on enhancing cultural values to connect its students – that caught my interest,” said Jain, who took the top job in March last year.
At present, INSEAD has moved to take advantage of global opportunities with branches in countries such as Abu Dhabi and Singapore. The wide wingspread means that INSEAD can connect people from around the world, observes Jain.
“It is part of expanding our footprint in Asia and addressing Asian demand. Being in Singapore, we can create links to the Southeast Asia countries and to greater China. Today, after India, the biggest number of applicants comes from there,” states Jain, who is also the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor of Marketing at Kellogg.
In Abu Dhabi, INSEAD will become the intellectual hub for the Middle East region, where there is an acute need for talent. The plan is to begin building the Abu Dhabi campus once the Singapore operation is established.
The school will also develop a bigger presence in the Americas, both North and South, but one at a time, says 54-year-old Jain. “The key factor is how business schools today can teach business without losing sight of the foundations of business,” he said.
“This could be one of the biggest challenges for MBA programs in meeting the needs of today’s future corporate leaders,” Jain adds. INSEAD offers not only a school, but also a place for training and developing global managers and leaders.
Dharma Djojonegoro, CEO of PT Ancora Indonesia Resources Tbk., is one who chose the INSEAD MBA program. “There was no question when I chose INSEAD over other potential MBA schools. All aspects considered, I believe INSEAD knows how to give the best education to make a great leader.
“The ambience of the campus is very interesting, and the people and professors add to your informal knowledge through their culture, origins and way of thinking. It opens new horizons and experiences. I’ve learned so much from INSEAD and I’m proud to be an alumnus,” said Djojonegoro.
During a recent visit to introduce the school to the Indonesian community, Jain noted a high level of interest. There were many curious and interested candidates, mostly professionals who wish to continue their education, and Jain was on hand to give them the information they needed.
“It is a fact that we are outnumbered compared to enrolled students of MBA schools in the US. However, what we want to share, something which also attracted me, is that INSEAD is a true global brand in management education, with an enduring passion and inspired vision – that’s what makes it special,” he states.
“Now, with Indonesians looking to other potential countries to pursue MBA programs, it’s the right time for us to give an in-depth introduction into what INSEAD can offer to face today’s challenges. We might not have alliances with universities here; the closest campus to Indonesia is Singapore. However, we look forward to partnering with universities and corporates in Indonesia to enhance business studies.”
Expanding INSEAD’s global platform, adds Jain, is definitely on the roadmap for the future. “Today, almost every business or corporate-oriented person needs to think globally. There is a change in mindsets and people need to be well-educated with the correct strategies to meet these changes – not only through acquiring skills, changing their ways of thinking, applying a structure to unstructured problems, or developing a framework of execution, but also through obtaining values from ethnic and intellectual diversity to rise new ideas and new products.
“INSEAD embraces diversity, and that is what INSEAD offers to its students. We create leaders who can go beyond their personal success, to have a purpose in creating something for the world.”