Fundraising campaigns at business schools

campaign fund raising

A few years ago, The Financial Times published an article that stated European business schools were adopting the US art of big fundraising. Now, Stephanie Mullins takes a closer look at the INSEAD‘s Force for Good Campaign as it concludes. 

INSEAD’s largest fundraising campaign to date, the Force for Good campaign, was launched in 2013 and has surpassed its initial 200-million-euro target to reach 310 million euros

The campaign’s close on 31 August 2023 also coincided with the end of the deanship of Professor Ilian Mihov.

Being at the helm of INSEAD and witnessing the school’s remarkable growth over the past decade has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Mihov. The challenges of recent years have united our global community, fostering resilience, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit. I am confident that the school will achieve even greater heights under the leadership of Dean Francisco Veloso due to the remarkable capabilities of this community. The Force for Good campaign serves as a powerful testament to our collective potential.”

Philanthropic ethos

Under Dean Mihov’s leadership, INSEAD has made significant strides in building a culture of philanthropy. Alumni contributed 92% of the total funds raised during the 10-year campaign. Additionally, many alumni volunteered their time, knowledge, and networks.

The success of INSEAD’s Force for Good campaign demonstrates a united commitment to addressing global challenges, including sustainability. Initiatives supported by the campaign include:

  • The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society integrates sustainability across teaching, research, and operations at INSEAD.
  • INSEAD’s MBA programmenow incorporating sustainable development themes into its 14 core courses, with a new capstone emphasising sustainable business practices.
  • A commitment to reducing INSEAD’s greenhouse gas emissions by 67% by 2035. INSEAD shares best practices at Davos, ChangeNOW, and other crucial events and is actively involved in UNPRME, the Business Schools for Climate Leadership Alliance, and other organisations that are fostering positive global change.

The support for the campaign also enables faculty to conduct rigorous and relevant research on critical issues, such as gender balance, digital disruption, and leadership education. Examples include:

  • Professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne renowned co-authors of the global bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy. Kim and Mauborgne continue to receive accolades for their influential “nondisruptive creation” approach to business growth and success and were recently honoured in the Harvard Business Review’s 100th-anniversary celebration.
  • The INSEAD Gender Initiative plays an important role in creating knowledge that increases our collective understanding of gender dynamics and the causes and consequences of gender imbalances. The Initiative is leading gender research, working on VR teaching tools and engaging leaders at alumni events, open webinars and conferences like the ChangeNOW summit.
  • The world’s largest Virtual Reality (VR) library for management education — created and stewarded at INSEAD, featuring 20 VR experiences focused on leadership, strategy, sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • The INSEAD Learning Hub a first-of-itskind mobile app for business leaders, offering comprehensive content, community, curation, and credentials to support lifelong learning.

INSEAD’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion is reflected in its scholarship programme. Campaign highlights include:

  • 58 million euros in gifts allocated to merit and diversity scholarships during the 10-year campaign.
  • 304 scholarships awarded in 2023 alone, a notable increase compared to 2013; 72% of recipients hail from emerging countries, and 48% are women.
  • The Claude and Tuulikki Janssen Endowed Scholarship was made possible by an endowed gift from Mrs. Tuulikki Janssen in 2022 to celebrate the legacy of Claude Janssen, one of INSEAD’s founders.

A portion of campaign funds are dedicated to launching new centres, initiatives, and institutes that bridge the gap between academia and real-world practice. These include the aforementioned Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society (2018), the Stone Centre for the Study of Wealth Inequality (2017), and the recently launched Sustainable Business Initiative, supporting research from environmental, social, and governance perspectives.

INSEAD has allocated funds to accommodate its growing community of students and alumni, now exceeding 67,000, by expanding the Asia Campus in Singapore, establishing the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation, and advancing the Europe Campus Renewal project in Fontainebleau, transforming INSEAD’s European footprint into a model of teaching excellence, sustainability, and well-being.

Will we see more business schools embark on big fundraising campaigns like this?

For additional insights, updates and perspectives about INSEAD Business School, visit the conversation here.