A Call to Leaders

As I write this, the 'circuit breaker' in Singapore has been extended to June 4, a big blow to the student and faculty morale.

Invariably, this will be another post amongst the 1000’s detailing the disruption COVID-19 has caused albeit with a focus on leadership. Specifically, I will touch upon the ‘act’ aspect of leadership from my perspective of the faculty and students.

Students

Although unfortunate, the pandemic created an opportunity for students to practice leadership skills as they would in the business world upon graduation; it is almost expected of us – after all, “a force for good” aren’t empty words.

Unsurprisingly, there are countless initiatives (or acts) pioneered by the students but the three that stand out are, the COVID innovation challenge, summer project, and COVID taskforce.

The innovation challenge aims to leverage the exceptional resourcefulness of the '20D cohort to create innovate long-term solutions to help with the aftermath of COVID across selected industries.

The summer project, started by '20J’s in association with the Career Development Centre, aims to leverage alumni and student networks to secure full-time roles and internships. I felt there was a gap and we needed to be more inclusive.

As an extension to the current project we will help vetted SMEs outside of INSEAD network and connect them to students. We will begin outreaching shortly and would love to hear from you if you need assistance.

The COVID taskforce set up at the end of P2, started by '20Js in conjunction with the '20D reps, is the pulse line for connecting the student body to faculty. In addition, the reps are acting to preserve the MBA experience which has been hugely affected by the lockdown.

A note on indoor life

The reps have been busy and are hosting an online game competition called "guess who?" of babies faces, live cooking and gym-ing, and aim to run quiz nights and other social events in the future. A student started a virtual coffee chat to establish a bond with our Fonty cohort and other sections. Whereas, others are running Netflix parties or group studies to learn AI in python.

INSEAD administration

INSEAD faces a much steeper challenge than other business school because of its global business model.

The pandemic resulted in the P3 exchanges being cancelled and leaves P4 and P5 as a major unknown for the students. In addition, issues such as online examinations, time zones (we have a professor teaching from US at 3AM- hats off!), careers and MBA experience have been the biggest concern amongst all.

Although it feels slow from the student perspective, there are several logistics and permutations that need to be addressed with the limited resources at INSEAD’s disposal. However, the school has shown exceptional leadership in:

  • Giving the students the option of a P6/summer electives to re-capture part of the lost MBA experience.
  • Engaging global leaders (alumni) to share their perspective on the crisis and learnings for students.

However, there is more to be done and both sides will need its leaders to step up even further as the fears of a deep recession mount and the patience wears thin.