INSEAD Pays Tribute to Washington SyCip

Middle East, Asia, Europe
13 October 2017

INSEAD, the business school for the world, pays tribute in memory of Washington SyCip (1921-2017), founder of SGV & Co., first Chairman of the INSEAD Euro-Asia Centre from 1980 to 1989 and a visionary leader who had greatly contributed to the school’s successful development of activities in Asia for more than 40 years.

Our thoughts are with the SyCip Family during this difficult time. Washington SyCip was a close friend of INSEAD and we are deeply grateful for his many contributions to the life of our school. As first Chairman of the INSEAD Euro-Asia Centre, he played a key role in our engagement in Asia, leading to the opening of a full-fledged campus in Singapore. Without his outstanding commitment and support, INSEAD could not have developed such strong presence and success in Asia,” says Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD and Professor of Economics.  

INSEAD’s Pivot to Asia 

INSEAD had recognised the growth potential of Asia in the early 1970s, thanks to the vision of Henri-Claude de Bettignies, then a young professor at INSEAD, and Washington SyCip, a very successful entrepreneur and business leader from the Philippines. Their strong ideas and belief in the importance of business education in Asia prompted INSEAD to turn its attention to the East and led to the establishment of the Euro-Asia Centre in 1980. Washington SyCip was invited to become its first Chairman. A strong supporter of INSEAD, he was a precursor who already believed at the time that INSEAD could not be truly global without an active presence in Asia.

As an independent non-profit Centre based in Fontainebleau, the Euro-Asia Centre’s primary activities were to conduct research and organise programmes for both European firms doing business in Asia and Asian firms operating in Europe. In time, the Centre’s activities quickly extended beyond the Europe campus in Fontainebleau with the organisation of high quality Executive Education programmes in numerous Asian cities. By 1994, INSEAD had become the biggest provider of Executive Education in South-East Asia. It was the beginning of what later led to the establishment of INSEAD’s full-fledged Asia Campus in Singapore.  

From left: Claude Janssen, Honorary Chairman of INSEAD; Washington SyCip, first chairman of INSEAD Euro-Asia Centre; with Marjorie Chu during the INSEAD Asia Campus 10th Anniversary celebration.

Henri-Claude de Bettignies, INSEAD Emeritus Professor of Asian Business and The Aviva Chair in Leadership and Responsibility, says that “Words cannot express our deep sadness at the passing of Washington SyCip. Since 1978, Wash made his considerable experience of business and his network in Asia available to INSEAD. His commitment to the Centre was not only visible through the great amount of time he gave, but also experienced through his willingness to share his wisdom generously. His contributions towards the school will remain part of his legacy and the recent establishment of the Washington SyCip Scholarship in his honour will keep for many years his important role in the school’s history.”

Washington SyCip Scholarship

The Washington SyCip Scholarship was established earlier this year at INSEAD and is awarded to talented candidates of Filipino nationality to provide them with access to a world-class MBA programme.  The first Washington SyCip scholarship was awarded to a deserving Filipino candidate who will graduate from INSEAD in July 2018. Key contributors to the Scholarship include the Ayala Foundation and the Jollibee Group Foundation as well as members of the INSEAD Alumni Association in the Philippines.

The whole INSEAD community is deeply grateful that the memory of Washington SyCip will live on through this scholarship.

Left to right: Joseph Tanbuntiong, Treasurer at Jollibee Foods Corp; Washington SyCip; Ilian Mihov, INSEAD Dean; Leo Cloma (MBA’98J), President of the Philippines National Alumni Association; and Fernando Zóbel de Ayala, President and COO of Ayala Corporation; during the establishment of the Washington SyCip Scholarship in February 2017. 

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World

As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching.

With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. The school’s 145 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,400 degree participants annually in its MBA Executive MBAExecutive Master in FinanceExecutive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 11,000 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year.

In addition to INSEAD's programmes on its three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil.

INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010.

Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all its programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled INSEAD to become truly “The Business School for the World”.

INSEAD’s MBA programme is ranked #1 by the Financial Times in 2016 and 2017. 

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