Opening the doors on 12 September 1959 to the first class of students - known as participants at the time - was a monumental feat. But from the start, a small group believed in INSEAD as an institution. They believed in the vision of Doriot.
Like Doriot, these players had seen first-hand the widespread destruction during World War II in Europe. They understood the apocalyptic threat of the Cold War and embraced the spirit of European reconciliation and renaissance of the 1950s. Their shared aspiration was that international business would succeed where politics had failed. Such an institution could create shared prosperity and peace worldwide.
INSEAD never intended to be part of Europe’s institutional framework, but its foundation of internationalism aligned tightly with European integration. Indeed, INSEAD was established three months after the 1957 signing of the Treaty of Rome that created the European Economic Community.
One week before the first INSEAD students arrived at the historic Château de Fontainebleau, the New York Herald Tribune wrote, “The list of those who have given their support and assistance … includes the names of virtually everyone who has been prominent in the post-war integration of Europe.”
The Chambre de Commerce de Paris embraces Doriot’s dream
In July INSEAD established by the Chambre de Commerce de Paris
25 March: Treaty of Rome signed, establishing the European Economic Community common market
Jean Marcou, Chairman of the Chambre de Commerce de Paris, becomes Founder-Chairman of INSEAD
Willem Posthumus Meyjes appointed first Director General of INSEAD, taking on the immense task of opening the school
Olivier Giscard d’Estaing appointed first Director of Studies, laying a foundation of academic excellence to build a world-class institution
Creation of Paris Office
On 12 September 1959, the first MBA intake arrives at the Château de Fontainebleau
Less than one month after the first MBA class met, INSEAD is inaugurated on 9 October