The demands of a rigorous business school programme can often bring the stereotype of the CEO into sharp focus – working long hours, subsisting on a diet of Starbucks and takeout, forgoing exercise and a social life in service of growing the business. However, the past few years also showed us the need for leaders to encourage good health to keep themselves, their team and their organization performing at a high level. INSEAD Health Week highlights the need to stay healthy and options available to do so.
From 15 to 18 January, Master in Management (MIM) students collaborated with Student Life team and the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society to host the third edition of INSEAD Health Week on the Europe Campus. Over four days, Health Week featured lectures, workshops and hands-on activities to showcase the powerful potential of wellbeing as part of a leadership journey. The MIM students engaged with faculty, students, staff, and alumni to share the value of caring for your physical and mental health.
Day 1 – Physical Health and Nutrition
Health Week 2024 opened with a focus on the benefits of a healthy body. Participants sipped on refreshing smoothies while taking a dynamic Kahoot! quiz before a captivating lecture by Frank Arsenyadis, Research Dietitian at the University of Leicester. From exploring extreme diets worldwide to essential aspects of healthy living for young adults, Frank offered insightful perspectives on nourishing our wellbeing. Then, Lore Daelman took the stage. A physiotherapist with an MSc in Clinical Exercise Physiology studying for her PhD, Lore engaged the audience in a lively discussion on general knowledge to promote good physical health.
The first day wrapped up with a cooking workshop by a Michelin star chef, currently in the MBA programme. In support of our health week mission, Chef Antoine invited the four winners of the opening event quiz to cook while explaining the effect of fat in our dishes. He demonstrated that we can significantly reduce the fat content of a meal without sacrificing taste by cooking the same dish in different ways. The lucky winners learned how to perfectly cut an onion and how to make delicious tartiflette and chestnut cake for dessert. This experience allowed everyone to learn tips and tricks applicable to their daily cooking.
Day 2 – Sleep and Self-Care
The second day dived deeper into the realm of holistic well-being with an enlightening lecture on sleep and self-care by Serhat Yildirim, Global Health Delivery candidate at Harvard Medical School. His lecture explored the profound effects of sleep deprivation on Yezidi youth in Iraq and myths and legends woven into societal expectations around sleep and self-care. This session unravelled timeless wisdom for a balanced life and provided practical wellbeing techniques for professionals.
The remainder of day two focused on physical health. Health checks were available for a personalized health consultation with a real doctor, where blood pressure was measured and tailored advice was provided. The consensus? INSEAD students boast excellent overall health!
A relaxing massage can re-energize those constantly working on assignments, job applications, networking and continuous learning. Fifteen-minute massage sessions with a professional masseuse were made available for MIM and MBA students. The massage event gave an opportunity to relax and remind students of the importance of taking breaks and relaxation in daily routines. The outcome of the event was overwhelmingly positive, evidenced by everyone's feedback and visibly relaxed demeanours.
The day ended with squash and tennis matches to bring together MIM and MBA students through physical exercise. Six matches were held on the second and third days, with two winners awarded an INSEAD hoodie. This competition welcomed squash enthusiasts and newcomers alike, one of who made it into the final. The goal of encouraging people to try new sports and find joy in playing sports was well achieved.
Day 3 – Healthy Work-Life Balance
Day three turned to the work-life balance and featured an MBA Panel Discussion. Exploring the intersection of ambition and well-being, a dynamic discussion unfolded with three MDs currently in the MBA programme. The discussion ranged from avenues for improvement to effective stress management techniques and time-saving measures. The audience posed questions in a rich exchange of insights and knowledge.
Meditation sessions lead by Joa Scetbon from INSEAD Psychological Services explored the benefits of applying mindfulness and easy ways to meditate. The goal of meditation is to be one with yourself at each moment, and consequently external events do not disturb too much. MBAs and MIMs participated in two sessions, one on how to be aware and less reactive and another on how to cultivate a flourishing life.
The third day concluded with a resilience workshop, mainly led by the participants. Each person was provided time to express anything they want, with everyone else listen in silence. Once finished, the audience was given space to react without giving advice, in an active listening exercise.
Day 4 – Designing Work-Life Balance
What does it mean to design yourself? The final day of Health Week 2024 featured a lecture by Nike Master Trainer Joe Holder balancing a career and healthy lifestyle with sustainability of self. Joe covered eight core areas of health – physical, emotional, intellectual, mental, environmental, social, occupational and financial. During his 90-minute talk, he dove into the areas that we have the most control over, so we can easily change them or better our habits. He gave tips on the action we must take to live the life that we want to live and questioned the prioritization of making a lot of money over health.
After an inspirational talk, Joe led two workout classes that showed the quick and effective workouts that are his trademark “exercise snacks”. This concept encourages quick and brief bursts of energy throughout the day, which may be more effective and easier to integrate into a busy lifestyle. During classes with Joe, participants went through reaction drills, cardiovascular exercises and resistance band exercises.
Health for the Future
By all accounts, INSEAD Health Week was a success. Everyone on campus was invited to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of a healthy mind and body. Students preparing to enter the fast-paced world of global business were given strategies for self care. Participants were encouraged to exercise together and eat together, strengthening the INSEAD community and opening networking opportunities.
Through a deeper understanding of physical and mental health, leaders can maximize the success of their companies and build vibrant communities that thrive on a healthy planet.
The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society would like to thank the Master in Management students and Student Life team for hosting the INSEAD Health Week 2024. The Institute looks forward to future editions of Health Week.