Statement by Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD
“It is true that we are indefinitely suspending the longstanding Welcome Week tradition at INSEAD.
The Welcome Week is a student-led set of activities that takes place over one-and-a-half days and introduces new students to the INSEAD culture and their senior classmates. The tradition dates back to the 1980s, when INSEAD added a second intake to our year-long MBA programme. It is a wholly student-organised exercise that is distinct from school-led MBA orientation activities.
This year, a complaint regarding Welcome Week was filed with the French National Committee Against Hazing, or CNCB, as some of these student-led activities have allegedly caused anxiety or harm to incoming students.
INSEAD takes these allegations very seriously and we immediately moved to suspend all student-led Welcome Week activities and communicate to all students that deception, pranks or any behavior that could be perceived as harassment in any form will not be tolerated.
This has always been our position. In the past we have worked with the student body to make Welcome Week a positive experience. However, the CNCB inquiry demonstrates the need to ensure all student-led activities follow our INSEAD code of conduct and do not put the health and well-being of any student at risk.
At INSEAD we pride ourselves on creating an environment where our students thrive. This begins the moment they set foot on campus and we cannot tolerate activities that undermine this goal.
We are grateful to the CNCB, for working closely with us and for their help and support in providing guidance to students as they welcome the next class to campus. In addition, we are engaging with alumni about their Welcome Week experiences and their thoughts on how to introduce new students to INSEAD. We will consider all input and decide how to proceed with a priority on protecting our students and our community.
As dean, I believe this is essential for shaping future business leaders. I feel strongly that we must align our educational philosophy and practices with the global business environment. In business, we see value placed on integrity, inclusion and an ethical approach that is good for all. This move to seek new ways to welcome students to campus is in line with our principles and values.”