Globalization of Faculty and Students


INSEAD has opened a full campus in Singapore to account for the global shift that is happening with the rise of Asia. This has enabled faculty, students and staff to move seamlessly across Europe and Asia. It has also increased the overall effectiveness of the programmes offered by the school and the quality of research produced by the faculty.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 

In the late 1990s, the centre of gravity of business was seen as shifting to the East with the rise of Asia. INSEAD – with its strong European roots in France – wanted to leverage this trend, and was missing the adequate development of the Asian dimension across its different stakeholder groups – faculty, staff, students, alumni and corporate supporters.


In October 1999, INSEAD took a bold step to differentiate itself from other business schools. It opened a campus in Asia and became the first business school to have two full-fledged campuses with permanent faculty – one in Europe, the other in Asia. INSEAD’s determination to make Singapore an “equal” campus has been essential to success. This is done through several key mechanisms:

  • One common student-intake process – INSEAD applicants are selected in one process; once admitted, they choose either the Fontainebleau or Singapore campus to attend.
  • Student mobility – as the programme structures and contents are largely the same across the two campuses, students can shift at will between the two locations.
  • One process for faculty management – faculty are hired, evaluated and managed through one shared process. There is no special local faculty; all faculty members must meet the same global standards for hiring and promotion. This is essential for maintaining parity in teaching and research.
  • One administration – the school maintains a unified organizational structure. There is one dean for the school, one chair for each department, one staff director for each key function, etc. Each dean and director performs with a global perspective.
  • The school’s campus in Singapore has been very successful. It has grown rapidly in size – far faster than initial projections – and today it is almost the same size as the mother campus in France. The culture of the whole institution has changed (for the good) with an infusion of new ideas and cultural values from Asia (Singapore). The students are more global in their perspective and are highly sought after by corporate recruiters. The overall impact has been extremely positive.
  • The school has some 37,000 alumni worldwide from all its programmes. They are very active, and on-campus class reunions are well attended. The networking opportunities offered by INSEAD are a major attraction for some students.
Why has it worked?: 
  • Implementation of key structural mechanisms
  • Top management leadership and commitment to the model
  • Board-level mandate for success
Conclusions and Recommendations: 

The globalization of educational institutions is expensive and takes time. In the case of INSEAD, this took a good 10 years. Once this globalization is successful, the core of the organization changes for the better, however it is difficult to predict changes in advance.

Foundational Issues: 
Public and private constraints on mobility
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 1: Collaboration within the organization
Economic and political context: 
  • The idea in setting up the Asia Campus was for INSEAD to “create a bridge between Asia and the rest of the world”.
  • The school had already been providing executive education programmes in Asia for many years through its affiliate, the Euro-Asia Centre. The decision for a permanent campus was made despite the July 1997 Asian financial crisis, as INSEAD held firm in its belief in Asia. While its board and faculty continued to press ahead with the plans for a new campus, the school began operating out of temporary premises in Singapore Science Park in January 2000.
About the Author(s): 
  • INSEAD is one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, bringing together people, cultures and ideas from around the world to change lives and to transform organizations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of INSTEAD research and teaching.
  • INSEAD’s business education and research spans three continents. INSTEAD has 141 renowned faculty members from 35 countries and more than 1,000 degree participants annually in the MBA, Executive MBA and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 6,000 executives participate in INSEAD’s executive education programmes annually.