Last weekend, the business school INSEAD was hosting its annual american alumni Forum in New York City. It was for the school an occasion to celebrate its number #1 ranking in the Financial Times MBA ranking. Simone, one of our co-founder and an alumni of INSEAD, was there, along with 250 alumni and faculty and guest speaker, wanted to share a bit of what happened during this event, whose theme was The Future of Business.
Introductory session: the State of INSEAD
Dean Ilian Mihov shared The Vision for INSEAD. He also reminded us of the DNA of INSEAD, which is still so relevant today: Global, diverse, transformational, entrepreneurial and analytical.
Session: The Leadership Mystique
This session was hosted by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, The Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Chaired Professor of Leadership Development; Emeritus Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change.
He made an inspiring presentation about leadership. He has a great sense of humor and offered practical and deep insights about the human nature and of course its expression in leadership. “The organizations that will set the standard in the 21st century have leaders who will get the best out of their people because the people believe that their leaders are authentic, their colleagues are trustworthy, and their work is meaningful”
The moderator was J. Stewart Black, Professor of Management Practice in Global Leadership and Strategy. And the panelists were :
• Jasmin Patel, President, a-connect US
• Lauren M Shin, MBA’95D, Partner, Egon Zehnder International Inc
• A. Sophie Wade, MBA’93D, Founder, Future of Work Strategist, Flexcel Network, LLC
The problematic they addressed was how to retain individuals at a time when the linear traditional career path is no longer in place and no new path is in place. Especially that many people are now looking at income rather than jobs. One of the takeaways from the speakers is that mentoring is key. We are moving towards taking care of people as individuals but it is still messy, especially in large organizations
Traditionally consultants used to be part of large consultancy firms, and now there is a large number of professionals that have become independent consultants. Most wanted flexibility with more control of the kind of work they do – of course technology is a great tool. And this reflects a change in attitude towards work. As a consequence, organizations are becoming porous at the edges using independent consultants. Permanent full time jobs are slowly disappearing.
High potential employees are being taken care of, but the challenge is for the rest of the employees that don’t feel engaged so the wonder why “stick around”? Implementing flexibility is one of the answer to those shifts, and it is best done on a unit basis in order to take into account the individuals’ needs and support the team members. As Millennials are joining the work force, they have different priorities: they want to be happy at work, and this is influencing work force priorities.
The conversation was still lead by J. Stewart Black, and this time the speakers were :
• Marcus Swanepoel, MBA’10D, Co-Founder & CEO, BitX
• Caroline van Scheltinga, MBA’88J, Chairman and CEO, WIHL
Marcus Swanepoel explained that Bitcoin is beyond government and regulators’ power. It is one large general ledger. He continued by explaining that the main trends in Finance is disintermediation. This is possible thanks to new technologies that are reducing the friction and opening the way to free money. This benefits mostly consumers for whom financial services become cheaper and faster.
Those technologies also lower risk because they allow for more transparency. However, they had a bad press, which is based mostly on unfounded facts.
They talked about how to keep the destination traveled to unspoiled: they originally focused on of water pollution, then on air pollution, and then on protection the fauna and the flora in vulnerable location. They started a large program with WWF. The Key goals were :
– Fuel efficiency by 35%
– Ramp up sustained food
– Sustainable destinations where the company will help places that have no means or skills to address these issues.
Session: The Future of Business (Part 3) – The Future of Consumerism
J. Stewart Black was back to his interviewer role, and the interviewees were:
• James Jeynes, MBA’07J, Global Brand Director, Nike DTC
• Hannah Kamaie, MBA’12J, Global E-Commerce Director, Inditex
• Behnaz Ghahramani, MBA’10D, Director of Relational Marketing, Gucci America
One of the conversation was about how E-commerce needs to be integrated with the overall marketing, merchandising and fulfillment strategy i.e. how companies need to integrate the in store and on line shopping.
Session: The Future of Business (Part 4) – The Future of Digital
J. Stewart Black was still on duty, and the speakers for this session were:
• Dickie Steele, MBA’96D, Principal, SYPartners
• Jade Huang, MBA’13J, CEO, StyleSage
They expressed their concern for how economies and governments prepare for the next evolution of workforce, including jobs threatened by technology. (Self-driven cars, or new personal assistant systems like Amy).
They also mentioned a few ethical challenges, including the ownership of data and the Digital Divide: new interactive toys could help close the social equity gap. They concluded by stressing the huge impact of technology on education and health care diagnoses.
Micheal talked about the three trends major that, according to him, characterized the Fourth Industrial Revolution:
– The increased computational power that has lead to a breakthrough progress in artificial intelligence and related areas
– The ubiquity of increasingly small smart devices and sensors in creating network effects and ‘big data’.
– More people are connected with each other than ever before
Together, those trends are accelerating progress in other areas like material science, medicine, or biology.
Session: INSEAD & the Future of Business
The session was hosted by Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, The Rausing Chaired Professor of Economic and Business Transformation.
He stressed out a few of the element that are central to the strategy INSEAD has chosen to adapt to the Future we are already living in:
-Developing analytical skills is the most important so MBA students can use these skills for over 30 years after they graduate.
-Preparing for Globalization
-Blind spots and bias in making decision: robust sense of self awareness especially when making decisions
-How to operate in very diverse teams
-More innovative and entrepreneurial spirit