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From institute to institution: 1980s



From institute to institution: 1980s

From institute to institution: 1980s

INSEAD entered the 1980s with a highly regarded MBA programme, an impressive faculty body, a robust infrastructure, a reputation for excellent teaching and credibility that spanned European and US business communities.

The next challenge was to evolve from a ground-breaking business school into a world-changing, comprehensive management institution. Such a challenge raised several questions.

How would INSEAD balance teaching and research while continually generating relevance to business? How would INSEAD continue to spread knowledge while becoming a leading-edge creator of that knowledge? How would INSEAD grow in a world that was increasingly connected?

The solutions were distinctively INSEAD.

These solutions required structural change. Joint executive responsibility was given to two co-deans, integrating academics and financial decision making. Tenure was introduced to attract and retain talented faculty.

The addition of the second intake for the MBA programme in 1983 helped the school grow and provided distinct benefits. Potential students had more choice, professors had more flexibility, and class size was able to scale up to meet demand.

In 1984, President of France François Mitterrand hosted the European Summit at the Château de Fontainebleau. Mitterrand asked INSEAD to host the press corps and the school agreed, offering facilities for press conferences and events. At a press conference in Amphi A, leaders announced the date for the Single European Market and unveiled the first European passport. This put a spotlight on growth in Europe and generated significant interest in INSEAD.

Throughout the decade, the connection to Asia grew stronger. INSEAD decided to erect a new building for the Euro-Asia Centre, which became a base of operations for expanding executive education in Asia.

Demand for company-specific executive education also exploded, increasing the number of case studies produced and positioning INSEAD as a leader in research on multinational companies.

In 1988, the INSEAD Board of Directors voted to launch a doctoral programme and the first six PhD candidates, each representing a different nationality, enrolled the following year.

Investment in infrastructure and innovation was a commitment to diversity and internationalism. The changes paralleled a shifting identity of INSEAD – from a European school with an international outlook to an international school with a European emphasis.



Heinz Thanheiser MBA’64 (left) joins Claude Rameau as co-Dean, seeking to broaden the school’s expertise beyond Europe and strengthen the community


First scholarship recipients admitted to the MBA programme following a campaign by Uwe Kitzinger to bring more women to the school


Euro-Asia Centre opens, bridging business and cultural differences




Introduction of Faculty Tenure



Claude Janssen appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors

Prominence is given to the world in the logo, showing a focus on working out Europe’s position in the global economy


At the cutting edge of management education, the school innovated computer-aided learning tools




Chairman of the Board Claude Janssen speaks to the MBA’83J class, when dual intake established July and December graduations


Micheline Dehelly (right) was a key figure in running the school, working closely with the founders in the early years and assisting every dean from Berry to Borges




INSEAD hosts world leaders and journalists for European Summit press conference




First second-generation graduate joins alumni community

Inauguration of Euro-Asia Centre building in Fontainebleau, a base of operations for programmes across Asia




Intake applications grow to three times the 1980 intake

Philippe Naert (left) appointed Co-Dean alongside Claude Rameau, determined to launch an INSEAD-style PhD programme




National advisory boards (formerly councils) grow to 13

Number of MBAs graduating in 1980s equals total for the 1960s and 1970s combined


Fundação Dom Cabral Partnership launches two programmes for Brazilian executives




INSEAD intake expands from 320 to 420

INSEAD faculty publish 30 case studies, 25 more than previous year

INSEAD featured on the cover of the May 1988 Fortune International


Launch of PhD programme based on the US model but with an international twist




First doctoral candidates arrive


Students collaborate on a class project


The fall of the Berlin Wall shifted focus to globalisation at INSEAD and around the world


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