INSEAD Opens $55M Leadership Development Centre in Singapore

INSEAD, the global business school, opened the doors of its new S$55 million Asian campus expansion devoted to developing leadership last Thursday. It marks the latest major excursion to Asia by a highly-ranked business school, as they seek to capitalize on fast-growing economies and untapped education sectors.

INSEAD has released details of the competition of the Leadership Development Centre that occupies 10,000 square metres of land in Singapore’s Buona Vista area – a “knowledge hub”. Its centrepiece will be an executive education hub that will teach 5,000 executives annually.

Raising capacity by 50%, the centre will meet rapidly growing demands for management and leadership education in Asia. INSEAD graduated its first MBA cohort in Europe in 1960, but has expanded into other regions and now operates from campuses in Abu Dhabi and Singapore as well as its original French base.

An early mover, the business school has seen a flurry of followers seeking to teach companies and students in cities across China and Singapore, and into southeast Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia.

Ilian Mihov, dean of INSEAD, said the Leadership Development Centre is a “significant millstone” in INSEAD’s global growth. “We are proud to be a longstanding contributor to this thriving and constantly innovating global business centre,” he said.

The business school has funded the centre with about S$20 million from 70 donors comprising alumni, faculty and staff across Europe, North America and Asia.

This includes two S$5 million contributions from Indonesia’s Soeryadjaya family, which has made billions in coal and investments, and INSEAD alumnus Andre Hoffmann, vice chairman of global healthcare group F. Hoffmann-La Roche. The centre allows INSEAD to offer a broader range of executive education programs, the short often customized courses sold to corporations, which typically contribute the largest amounts of revenue. In addition to thousands of senior managers, the Asia campus will teach 500 MBA students, 90 Global Executive MBA students, and 200 Master of Finance students annually.

Executive education has experienced a revival following dismal enrolment numbers during the global financial crisis, led by renewed business investment in emerging markets and the development of educational technology.

Michael Pich, dean of executive education at INSEAD, said that access to insights into the Asia Pacific region, which is home to key emerging growth markets, is vital for global companies. “INSEAD’s continued investment in Asia… Helps businesses identify, understand and leverage the changing opportunities and challenges these markets present,” he added.

Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said that Singapore has built up an ecosystem of business schools and HR consultancies over the past decade to support talent development. “INSEAD’s Leadership Development Centre will further strengthen this ecosystem,” he said.

INSEAD’s new centre will focus on its Advanced Management Program and leadership courses, and the school plans to expand its Global Executive MBA and Master of Finance programs.

There are currently 63 permanent INSEAD faculty based in Singapore, and more than 7,000 INSEAD alumni living and working in the Asia Pacific area.

Andreas Jacobs, INSEAD MBA alumnus and chairman of its board of directors, said: “The investment made in each of the regional hubs – Europe, Asia and the Middle East – goes beyond our bricks and mortar presence.”

Asia is seen by many as the next global business education hub. Excluding INSEAD there are only two Singapore-based business schools included in the FT’s global MBA rankings – but China in particular has attracted many top western universities.

Audencia Nantes of France, for instance, recently partnered with Tsinghua University to launch an executive DBA program in responsible management, among others.

Other top US and European schools, including the Fuqua School of Business, Cornell’s Johnson School, MIT Sloan School of Management, BI Norwegian, ESADE Business School and London Business School, have partnerships with Chinese business schools.