Introducing a timely and unique offer

Mary Carey

Regional Director | The Americas
INSEAD Executive Education

California native, Mary Carey, is INSEAD’s Regional Director for Executive Education for the Americas. Originally from Los Angeles, Carey has lived and worked in France since 2006 and now splits her time between France and New York. With the opening of INSEAD’s first physical location in North America in San Francisco coming in early 2020, we sat down with her to find out what makes the INSEAD offer in the States so timely. And unique.

Mary, why is INSEAD opening up its operations in the US? What business needs or challenges are we aiming to address here?

Every global organization operating today faces a slew of challenges that range from technology-driven disruption, the emergence of new markets and new competitors, geopolitical uncertainties and unrest right through to generational shifts that are driving new demands. People are increasingly looking to businesses to be better corporate citizens and to take better care of the way we live, by prioritizing things like the environment and climate change. While none of this is unique to the United States, we’re still home to most of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, so that makes the situation here all the more acute.

American leaders need to connect the dots in different ways. Traditionally, our leaders have been quite US-centric in their approach, looking to navigate global disruption through the lens of the United States. They need to develop the capacity to think differently and to break out of silos – to find and welcome opportunities for collaboration with different stakeholders both within and beyond their organization, both within the US and beyond, in order to create new value. It’s about understanding that while your hub might be in the US, your people and your opportunities exist all over the world. And that means developing deep cultural sensitivity and a truly global mindset.

So what does INSEAD offer US business leaders to help them overcome these challenges?

The answer is two-fold.

First, we are a global business school. INSEAD is actually the world’s second largest provider of business school executive education, just behind Harvard Business School.

With our full campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and now a Hub coming to the USA, we are the most global, top-ranked business school in the world and the one with the most student and participant diversity.

Working with organizations and leaders across four continents gives us a unique cross-cultural and cross-regional understanding of global business and the ability to pull out the best of diversity.

This global mindset is part of our DNA as a business school. It runs across our faculty of international thought leaders, who have lived and worked all over the world, and our full portfolio of award-winning programs. And we bring all of this to US companies – a global perspective that they won’t get elsewhere.

So, we expose them to ways of thinking about business that extends beyond borders?

Yes, but not only that.

The INSEAD approach is about thinking globally, which also includes thinking differently – about how you do business, how you manage people, talent and processes; how you take risks; and how you use technology and digital tools strategically to innovate your business models.

We teach executives to think uncommonly. And that’s a real challenge. It’s not easy to let go of what your company has done in the past, and the things that have worked up to now. But breaking into new territories and opening up new markets is all about embracing new ideas, new perspectives and a real diversity of approach. It’s about seeing the bigger picture in order to succeed globally.

You mention using technology and digital tools to innovate. Does this tie with the choice of San Francisco?

Yes it does. We’ve chosen to locate our first INSEAD US facility in San Francisco because the Bay Area is a world-renowned hub for innovation and the digital transformation of business. Being close to today’s digital transformation of business aligns with our faculty research and to INSEAD teaching agendas, both in executive education for organizations and across our MBA programs.

Our new location in San Francisco also translates into a win-win for INSEAD clients and students in the US and overseas. From next year, we’ll be able to connect our global clients and students with the innovation ecosystem of the Bay Area, and at the same time we’ll be opening up avenues of communication between companies and executives in the Bay Area and global thought leaders and businesses.

We’re also looking to leverage a large and very active alumni community in the Bay Area to really help us drive these kinds of connections.

What will your San Francisco facilities look like?

We’re creating a state-of-the art facility just two blocks from the Giants’ Oracle Park with two teaching amphitheaters and a large open multi-use space for immersive and active learning. Everything in the new center will be geared to the immersive learning methodologies that INSEAD is famous for as well as to making connections between global and local thinkers and innovators. At INSEAD, learning is both immersive and applied, and our new facility will be very much built for purpose.

We have also signed an exciting partnership with Singularity University that will see us leverage their expertise in digital and deep tech in order to accelerate the research that we’ll be conducting out of San Francisco, and the design of the programs we’ll be delivering to clients in the USA and all over the world.

When will the San Francisco center be open for business?

We are looking to open in February of 2020, with our inaugural program launching in March.

It’s our aim to start by offering a selection of our open programs for executives, some of them will include modules in international locations to optimize global exposure. We will also utilize our new facility to hold custom designed programs for US and international companies. Our MBA and Executive MBA students will be able to choose electives and study trips to the Hub as well.

And the name of the new center?

The INSEAD San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation.

We’ve chosen this name as we feel is best reflects our mission to help executives, organizations and students to navigate digital disruption and leverage emerging opportunities while broadening their global perspective at INSEAD.

Thank you, Mary. Fun fact about INSEAD before we close?

INSEAD was founded in 1957 as a pan-European institution just over a decade after World War II. A mission of the school, which offered Europe’s first MBA program to students chosen from across Europe, was to help prevent the kind of catastrophic conflict that had ravaged the continent across two World Wars. INSEAD brought students from all across Europe together to study. The idea was to promote lasting peace by learning how to do business across borders. INSEAD’s focus on international business was way ahead of its time.

Those early INSEAD MBA students were required to speak English, French and German as classes could be taught in any one of the three. Today all of our programs are taught in English. However, our MBA students must speak at least two languages when they join us and are required to study a third language to working capability by the time they graduate.

It’s just one of the reasons why INSEAD is known as the business school for the world.

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