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INSEAD is a graduate business school with campuses in Europe (Fontainebleau), Asia (Singapore), and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi). The name "INSEAD" originated as an acronym of Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (French for "European Institute of Business Administration").

INSEAD is consistently ranked among the best business schools in the world.[4][5] Financial Times ranked it first across all full-time MBA programmes in 2016 and 2017, and second in 2018.[6] In 2018, still for its MBA programs, the institute is ranked one of the best business schools in the world by QS and Bloomberg.[7]

INSEAD offers a full-time MBA program, an Executive MBA (EMBA) program, a Master in Finance program, a PhD in management program, a Master in Management[8] program and a variety of executive education programs.

Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires
MottoThe Business School for the World
Endowment€239 million[1]
ChairmanAndreas Jacobs[2]
DeanIlian Mihov[3]
Academic staff
(~1,000 in MBA)
(~12,000 EMBA)
(80 in Ph.D.)
Abu Dhabi
Websiteinsead.edu [95]
Business school rankings
Worldwide overall
Worldwide MBA
Business Insider[44]1
Financial Times[46]3


Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

INSEAD was founded in 1957 by venture capitalist Georges Doriot (the "father of venture capitalism")[9] along with Claude Janssen and Olivier Giscard d'Estaing. Original seed money was provided by the Paris Chamber of Commerce.[10] The school was originally based in the Château de Fontainebleau, before moving to its current Europe campus in 1967.[11]


  • 1957: INSEAD founded[12]

  • 1959: First MBA intake in Fontainebleau

  • 1960: First MBA class graduates[13]

  • 1967: Opening of the school's first campus on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau (now called the 'Europe Campus')

  • 1968: First Executive Education programme

  • 1971: Creation of CEDEP, the European Centre for Continuing Education, on a site next to INSEAD in Fontainebleau

  • 1976: Launch of the INSEAD Alumni Fund

  • 1980: INSEAD Euro-Asia Centre opens in Fontainebleau

  • 1983: MBA programme begins its dual intake (in January and September)

  • 1987: Announcement of the INSEAD-Fundação Dom Cabral Partnership

  • 1989: Launch of the PhD programme

  • 1995: Launch of the first INSEAD Development Campaign,[14] which raised funds for permanently endowed chairs and research

  • 2000: Opening of Asia campus in Singapore[15]

  • 2001: Announcement of the INSEAD-Wharton Alliance[16] and first MBA participant exchanges

  • 2003: Launch of the Executive MBA programme

  • 2004: Opening of the Plessis Mornay Learning Space for Executive Education on Europe Campus

  • 2007: INSEAD Centre opened in Abu Dhabi, primarily for research and executive education; launch of a dual degree Executive MBA with Tsinghua University in China[17]

  • 2010: INSEAD's Abu Dhabi Center attains campus status (Middle East Campus)[12]

  • 2012: Launch of the Master in Finance specialized degree

  • 2013: MBA participant exchange agreement with CEIBS launched[18]

  • 2015: Inauguration of the Leadership Development Center in Singapore[19]


The original campus (Europe campus) is located in Fontainebleau, near Paris, France. INSEAD's second campus (Asia campus) is in the Buona Vista district of the city-state of Singapore. The third and newest campus (Middle East campus) is located in Abu Dhabi. Although located in Europe and Asia, INSEAD pursues the US model of a business school.[20] INSEAD has been a pioneer in setting up a multi-campus business school as a way to increase the global presence and nature of its faculty and curriculum.[21][22] A Harvard Business School case study, for instance, explores its approach to business education in a global context and how it functions with a multi-campus setting.[23]

Degree programmes

MBA programme

INSEAD's MBA participants can take the MBA's core courses at either or both of its Europe and Asia campuses[24] (as well as an elective MBA module at its Middle East campus).[25] They follow the same core courses in parallel regardless of campus, and there are faculty who teach on both the Europe and Asia campuses as well as permanent faculty at each of the three campuses who live and work in the respective regions.[26] Approximately 20% of the class entered the MBA program with other graduate or professional degrees; including medical doctors, lawyers, and Ph.Ds.

INSEAD offers two MBA schedules per year: one starting in September which takes ten months to complete, and a 12-month promotion starting in January for students who want to complete a summer internship.[27]

The INSEAD MBA curriculum comprises required core courses and electives. The core covers traditional management disciplines including finance, economics, organizational behavior, accounting, ethics, marketing, statistics, operations management, international political analysis, supply chain management, leadership and corporate strategy. There are 75 electives on offer[28] in areas such as accounting and control, decision sciences, economics and political science, entrepreneurship and family enterprise, finance, and organisational, strategy, marketing, technology and operations management. Students are required to speak two languages upon entry and a third by graduation.

Executive MBA programme

INSEAD has two EMBA Executive MBA programmes. The Global Executive MBA (GEMBA),[29] and the Tsinghua INSEAD EMBA (TIEMBA).[30] Both EMBA programmes are master's-level degree programmes that take place on a part-time, modular basis.

The programmes offer experienced business executives an intensive 14–17-month modular course that takes place in modular periods (approximately every six to seven weeks). Each period on campus is between one and two weeks' duration. For the GEMBA programme the physical time on campus represents 12 weeks in total with participants going to all three campuses (Fontainebleau, France, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore). For the TIEMBA programme the physical time on campus represents 12 weeks in total with participants alternating between Tsinghua's campus in Beijing, China,[31] and INSEAD's campus in Singapore.

Both the GEMBA and TIEMBA programmes include a schedule of group coaching, 360-degree assessments and team activities designed to develop a leadership style, called the Leadership Development Programme.[32]

Executive Master in Coaching and Consulting for Change

The Executive Master in Coaching and Consulting for Change is a specialized master's degree. It provides a grounding in basic drivers of human behavior and the hidden dynamics of organizations. Integrating business education with a range of psychological disciplines, the programme enables participants to understand themselves and others at a fundamental level, which prepares them to assume roles in organisations, individual and organizational development and change management.[33][34]

PhD programme

The INSEAD PhD in Management is a doctoral degree in business to prepare students for a career in academia. It requires four to five years of full-time study - the first two years devoted to coursework, while from the third and fourth (or sometimes fifth) years dedicated to research and dissertation.[35] Students have the option to start their studies on either the Asia (Singapore) or Europe (France) campus,[36] and do an exchange in North America (USA) through the INSEAD-Wharton Alliance.[37] There are eight areas of specialization: Accounting, Decision Sciences, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Organisational Behavior, Strategy, and Technology and Operations Management.[38] INSEAD offers fellowships, whereby students receive full tuition fee waiver, annual stipend and research support funding.[39]

Master in Finance

INSEAD's Master in Finance (MFin) teaches participants finance and accounting skills on a par with those taught in an MBA programme, and also offers leadership and management perspectives. The program is offered in a modular format over a 20-month period to allow professionals to study while continuing to work. Participants take time off from work for each of the five modules (2–3 weeks each) to take classes on campus, and continue working in between.[40]

Executive education

INSEAD holds both company/firm specific and open enrolment executive education programmes at its campuses in Europe and Asia and the Middle East, as well as in partnership with corporate universities. Participants usually come from senior or top management, with many years of experience within their company or industry and younger 'high-potentials' identified as being key in succession strategies within their companies. Approximately 12,000 executives from over 125 countries undertake courses or programmes at INSEAD each year.[41]

In 2011, INSEAD launched an Executive Certificate in Global Management which is a formal recognition awarded to participants who complete at least three INSEAD global management and leadership programmes within a four-year period.[42]

Rankings and reputation

INSEAD is consistently ranked among the world's top business schools. Its MBA program has been ranked first globally in 2016 and 2017 in the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, and second in the 2018 ranking.[47] The dual degree Executive MBA with Tsinghua University is ranked first globally by the Financial Times. Moreover, INSEAD's standalone Global Executive MBA is ranked seventh in the same ranking.[48] INSEAD is ranked first globally in the CEO World Magazine 2017 ranking of the Best Business Schools in the World.

INSEAD has the second highest number of MBA alumni holding Chief Executive Officer positions in 2015 in the Financial Times Global 500, which is composed of the world's largest companies by market capitalization.[49]

In 2015, PitchBook Data ranked INSEAD first outside the US and fifth globally for the number of MBA alumni receiving venture capital funding, with over $6.1B raised. And, in 2016, the school's MBA program was ranked fifth worldwide for social and environmental impact by Corporate Knights magazine.[50]

In April 2019, INSEAD was furthermore ranked as best global business school by CEOWORLD magazine.[51]

Partnerships and alliances

INSEAD has exchange programmes with:

  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (alliance - launched in 2001)[52][53][54]

  • Kellogg School of Management (MBA exchange programme - launched in 2010)[55]

  • Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. (dual-degree MA and MBA program - launched in 2011)

  • Tsinghua University (dual Executive MBA programme - launched in 2006)

  • CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) (Executive Education programme - launched in 2012, MBA exchange launched in 2013)

    • INSEAD is a founding partner in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012[56]
  • Art Center College of Design


Centres of excellence

INSEAD - Blue Ocean Strategy Institute

INSEAD - Blue Ocean Strategy Institute

INSEAD has 15 research centres conducting research in different business and geographical areas. These include:

  • Centre for Decision Making and Risk Analysis (CDMRA)[57]

  • Emerging Markets Institute[58]

  • Healthcare Management Initiative[59]

  • INSEAD Africa Initiative[60]

  • INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute[61]

  • INSEAD Centre for Entrepreneurship (ICE)[62]

  • INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative[63]

  • INSEAD eLab[64]

  • INSEAD European Competitiveness Initiative[65]

  • INSEAD Global Leadership Centre (IGLC)[66]

  • INSEAD Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI)[67]

  • INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative (IIPI)[68]

  • INSEAD Social Innovation Centre[69]

  • INSEAD Social Science Research Centre (ISSRC)[70]

  • INSEAD-Wharton Center for Global Research and Education[71]

  • Learning Innovation Centre[72]

  • Wendel International Centre for Family Enterprise[73]

  • Women@INSEAD[74]

Teaching methods

Teaching methods at INSEAD include case studies, lectures, peer-to-peer learning, tutorials, group work, simulations and role-plays.

Case studies

The case method is largely used in the classroom as a teaching method. Business case studies authored by INSEAD professors are the second most widely used in classrooms by business schools globally, after Harvard Business School's case studies.[75]

The business cases that have been designed at INSEAD have received many awards,[75] are made available in case clearing houses, and are used by many other business schools.

Business simulation games

Business simulation games are used by INSEAD. Many of them have been designed by INSEAD faculties, and used in many institutions, including:[76]

  • The EIS simulation[77] (change management)

  • FORAD[78] (finance)

  • INDUSTRAT (marketing)

  • Markstrat (marketing)

Innovation in education

A number of researches and initiatives are conducted at INSEAD to incorporate innovative learning approaches.

Centers conduct research in learning technologies and approaches such as:

  • INSEAD CALT (the Centre of Advanced Learning Technologies)[79] has been involved in many research projects, and in particular projects funded by the research programmes from the European Commission on approaches such as business simulations, or learning communities.

  • INSEAD Learning Innovation Centre[80] was funded to managing innovation in INSEAD programme design and delivery. For instance, INSEAD Learning Innovation Centre has introduced the use of the Second Life virtual world as an education tool.[81]

  • INSEAD eLab[82] is the INSEAD center that connects research sponsors and external collaborators interested in the area of big data and data analytics with INSEAD's expertise in this broad area. INSEAD eLab conducts research and supports teaching focused on data analytics business solutions, tools, frameworks, and research insights that can help academics and practitioners better capitalise on the vast opportunities the "world of data" creates. To achieve this, the centre involves INSEAD faculty with specific domain expertise (e.g. in marketing, economics, operations, or finance), senior researchers from different fields, engineers and data scientists, and collaborators from other academic institutions as well as the private sector. The centre also uses state-of-the-art data analytics and collaborative software development platforms, which enable both advanced data analytics approaches and seamless collaboration within INSEAD as well as with other institutions and sponsors.

Notable Alumni

INSEAD currently has nine FT500 leaders.[83] The Alumni Association was founded by a group of alumni in 1961, and works in close partnership with INSEAD to provide services to the global INSEAD alumni community of 46,000+ members in 171 countries.[84] Many are members of the INSEAD International Alumni Association, which has 46 national alumni associations.[85]

In addition to the national associations, INSEAD alumni have formed clubs and groups dedicated to specific industries and activities.[86] These include the Hubert Society, Energy Club,[87] INSEAD Healthcare Alumni Network[88] and Salamander Golf Society.[89]

  • Meera Sanyal, Former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, India

  • Tidjane Thiam, CEO, Credit Suisse

  • Henry Engelhardt, CEO, Admiral Group

  • Philip Hampton, Chairman, J Sainsbury; Chairman, Royal Bank of Scotland Group

  • Andrew Large, Former Deputy Governor, Bank of England

  • Paul Marshall, Co-founder and Chairman, Marshall Wace

  • António Horta Osório, CEO, Lloyds Banking Group

  • Miguel Pais do Amaral, Entrepreneur, Quifel Holdings

  • Huw van Steenis, Head of European Financials Services Research, Morgan Stanley

  • Driss Ben-Brahim, Special Situations, GLG Partners

  • Niall Wass COO at Wonga.com[90]

  • Andrea Orcel, CEO, Banco Santander

  • Cameron Stevens, Founder and CEO, Prodigy Finance

  • Marcus Swanepoel, Co-Founder and CEO, Luno

  • Rob Formby, COO, Allan Gray

  • Taavet Hinrikus, Co-Founder and CEO, TransferWise

  • Jessica Uhl, CFO, Royal Dutch Shell

  • Samir Arora, CEO & Chairman, NetObjects

  • Paul Desmarais, Jr., Chairman and Co-CEO, Power Corporation of Canada

  • Adam Goldstein, CEO, Royal Caribbean International

  • Baron Robert Gillespie of Blackhall, OBE (born 1947), industrialist and author

  • Philippe Harache, Former deputy CEO, Eurocopter

  • Franz Humer, Chairman, Diageo

  • Marius Kloppers,Former CEO, BHP Billiton

  • Gary Wang, Founder and Former CEO Tudou

  • Sam Laidlaw, CEO, Centrica plc

  • Helge Lund, former CEO, Statoil and Aker Kværner, CEO, BG Group

  • Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Former Chairman and current non-executive chairman, L'Oreal

  • Antoine Rostand, President Schlumberger Business Consulting

  • Kevin P. Ryan, Co-Founder & Former CEO, DoubleClick, CEO, Gilt Groupe

  • Lord Simon of Highbury, Former Chairman and CEO, BP

  • Roustam Tariko, Founder & President, Russian Standard

  • Noel Tata, Managing Director, Tata International

  • Tom Adams, Former Chairman & CEO, Rosetta Stone Inc.

  • Erik Wachtmeister, Founder, aSmallWorld

  • Jeff Goldstein, President, PriceGrabber

  • Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President & COO, Ayala Corporation

  • Peter Záboji

  • Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General, Confederation of British Industry

  • Egil Hogna , President & CEO, Sapa Group

  • Bernard Broermann, Founder, Asklepios Kliniken

  • Joshua Oigara, CEO, KCB Group Limited[91]

  • Finn Rausing, Co-Owner, Tetra Laval

  • Antoine Arnault, CEO, Berluti, and Chairman, Loro Piana

  • Said Darwazah, CEO and Chairman, Hikma Pharmaceuticals

  • Luca Desiata, CEO, SOGIN

  • Niels Christiansen, CEO, LEGO

  • Börje Ekholm, CEO, Ericsson

  • Barney Harford, COO, Uber

  • Bob van Dijk, CEO, Naspers

  • Nicolas Brusson, Co-Founder and CEO, BlaBlaCar

  • Bill Morneau, Finance Minister, Government of Canada

  • Will Hutton, Principal, Hertford College, Oxford

  • Jan Jananayagam, Co-Founder, Tamils Against Genocide

  • Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki

  • Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of The Republic of Indonesia

  • Wolf Klinz, Member of the European Parliament

  • Conor Lenihan, former Irish Minister of State

  • Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon

  • Elena Panaritis, Member of Greek parliament

  • Sam Rainsy, Member of Parliament of Cambodia

  • Tioulong Saumura, Member of Parliament of Cambodia

  • Prince Jean of Luxembourg

  • Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau

  • Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands

  • Perry Lim, Chief of Defence Force (Singapore)

  • Jovita Carranza, Treasurer of the United States (Incumbent)

  • Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch Minister of Finance

  • Lucy Quist, President of African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Ghana [96]

  • Colin Dyer, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle

  • Philip Hampton, Chairman, J Sainsbury former Group Finance Director, Lloyds TSB, BT Group, and British Steel

  • Arthur Sadoun, CEO, Publicis groupe

  • Mark Read, CEO, WPP

  • Yves-Michel Marti, pioneer in Competitive Intelligence, CEO of The Baconian Company and Magentine

  • Peter Fudakowski, 2006 Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film

  • Andrew Noble (skier) 2010 Winter Olympics Alpine Skiing

See also

  • Blue Ocean Strategy - a book and strategy concept developed by INSEAD faculty

  • Business school

  • Executive education

  • Management science


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