Value of Virtual in Rearchitecting the New Economy

On 5th of June, an initiative that started with a small group of committed MBA alumni in Germany passionate about understanding the role of business as a force for good went 100% virtual in an experiment of resilience, purpose and consecration to meaningful contribution of industry to society.

Given the uncertain future of networking events, we did not take long to come to consensus there was never a better time to take the dialogues on Tech for good and the Future of Food to next level.

To reflect on COVID learnings, we facilitated industry- focused discussions on the opportunity to break from the past and understand what was broken how we could consider re-writing the playbook for Automotive, Retail, Travel, Financial Services, Human Resources.
Zooming in and out of friendly, open break-out discussions, we easily came together across cities to reach new insights:

Auto moderated by Konstantin Drozhdin, EMBA’16Dec:
Impact: Covid affirms the industry that traditional car segment growth will not continue. This will mean more govt and financial support for green. Case: rise in public mobility services, less flights, more local travel. Conclusion: Good time to evolve and seek govt support in energy sector, effective models, eg: consolidation.

Fashion/Retail moderated by Shruti Veenam, MBA’14J:
The fashion industry is one of the most negatively impacted sectors with 30-40% decline in global sales due to Covid. Reasons: lack of social interaction leads to opportunities for self expression. Impact: Fashion brands were already on the way to being sustainable, but Covid reinforces the need for brands to adopt sustainable practices (transparent supply chains, purpose driven genuine brands, balance local vs. global). Consumers will seek balance in consumption and stick to purpose driven brands. Case: Perfume brands shifted to use their perfumeries to make hand sanitizer, such acts only as branding will not work any longer. Conclusion: Fashion brands do not have a choice any longer but to become sustainable to keep customers. The winners will be those who change fastest.

Food moderated by Kelsey Hudspeth:
Impact: We predict an accelerated interest in health eating, local production and cooking at home, particularly sharing among the family. Reasons: This change in habits, prompted also by delivery services will create new opportunities for home delivery of meals to be cooked at home. Unfortunately it also exposed how food production at scale, without means for community level distribution, and exposed a a broken supply chain: Case: Milk dumping in the US, restaurant food donations.

Finance moderated by Michael S. Duesberg AMP’04 March:
While money is the life blood of the economy, despite limited structural change, trends with cashless, digital and fintech are affirmed. Impact: Extreme wealth and poverty disparity are made visible and seek justice More in our next event “Money as a Force for Good” and virtual coffee chat June 15th on Fintech start up Sparo.

Travel moderated by Johannes zu Eltz, MBA’00D:
Will hotels and property continue to be sustainably repurposed, as we saw with healthcare workers? Conclusion: Travel will not rebound to the same level quickly as people enjoy time with family and realize how much can be done online.

HR/CSR moderated by Moneshia zu Eltz, MBA’00D:
Some of us started our freelance/consulting work with clients online during covid, which emphasized importance of trust. Conclusion: We discussed how to established trust using more technology and how seeing into peoples “personal” home office was a window into humanity. HR rose to the occasion by providing value in areas not often visible and have more influence on leadership with how we communicate with each other and treat each other.

In summary, the group moved away with firm resolve to do more with less, and moving forward quickly with the transformation we know is needed for a more just society and healthy planet. Could this be the beginnings of re-envisioning sustainable abundance? The group voted to continue the dialogue, and with that we look forward to seeing you soon at our next forum on Money as a Force for Good.

IAAG Business & Society Team

The Fabric of Modernity – Hypo Kunsthalle

Our visit of „Fabric of Modernity“ on March 6th at the Münchner Kunsthalle turned out to be an outstanding encounter with modern artists, such as Picasso, Miro, Bourgeois … It was the perfect introduction to the surprisingly modern tradition of textile weaving by French manufactories with the outstanding expertise in combining artistic finesse and superb craftsmanship. Time for questions with a very knowledgable guide in a small group made this tour an amazing highlight!

Family Business Club @IAAG – Kick off

Digital change in legacy companies using the example of Haniel Group. In September 2019, the Family Business Club was invited to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein to meet with Franz Markus Haniel, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH. Together with Dirk Müller, Managing Director of Schacht One, the digital unit of the Haniel Group and Tobias Grün, Digital Transformation Leader of Schacht One, we discussed how long-standing family businesses, such as the Haniel Group, tackle the digital transformation without losing sight of long-standing traditions and values.

Franz Markus Haniel and Dirk Müller presented insights into their digital strategy. Both stressed the importance of having an internal digital force within the Haniel Group to gain acceptance among the traditional operating companies (e.g. CWS, BekaertDeslee, etc.), enable the digital transformation from within and support Haniel to stay ‘enkelfähig’. Tobias Grün provided concrete examples of product innovations from the Haniel start-up portfolio, among them SKIN+, a probiotic pillowcase, which we could test first-hand. The discussions were continued over food and drinks.

If you have any questions or want to join the Family Business Club please feel free to reach out to Caroline ([email protected]) who leads the club and organized this great event!

Global INSEAD Day


Hamburg opened our series of Global INSEAD Day celebrations with a BBQ on the 9th of September. Sunny weather added to this  afternoon in the scenic garden of our Hamburg’s  Chapter Head in INSEAD style! In addition, on Global INSEAD Day more than 60 Alumni celebrated the 60 anniversary of INSEAD in Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart & Munich.




The Future of Food

Three to five times a day, we as individuals get to make a choice – a choice that has an incredible impact on the world around us. That choice not only impacts the health of our family, but also impacts the health of the planet, and with our food supply system being more globalized than ever, our individual food choices have a great impact on others around the world.

Food is a sensitive topic. It is not just fuel for our bodies, but it offers a way of connecting with others, experiencing new cultures, and often times is tied with some of our fondest memories. However, as the planet continues to warm, the global population continues to increase, and our available resources to feed the growing population are stretched more and more, we must begin to address the impact that our personal food choices have on the greater world around us. More importantly, we must begin to ask the question: What responsibility do we as individuals and business leaders have to promote conscious and ethical consumption of food in our personal lives and in our businesses, and what concrete actions can we take today to address the ever-pressing problems we as global citizens are facing?

These were two questions that were at the heart of the second IAAG Business and Society Community event hosted on July 4, 2019 in Munich, titled The Future of Food: Rise of the Conscious Consumer in Reducing Waste …. For more Information about this event click here to see the full report of Kelsey Hudspeth



Impressum – Angaben gemäß § 5 Telemediengesetz (TMG) :
INSEAD Alumni Association Germany e.V. Postanschrift: Buchenweg 25, 82319 Starnberg, Germany, Telefon: +49 (0)8151 444 658, E-Mail: [email protected], Website:, Vertretungsberechtigte Vorstände (Executive Committee): Christian Rebhan, Bettina Langenberg, Barbora Moring, Raphaele Balzer, Patrick Gruenewald, Ashutosh Kumar, Marisa Rodrigues, Constantin Tillmann; Vereinsregister: Amtsgericht Düsseldorf, VR Nr. 6512,
VAT ID: DE280012951

A rainy day in Frankfurts’s new Old Town

INSEAD Alumni in Frankfurt enjoyed a guided tour. On 9th of May they explored Frankfurt’s „New Old Town“. Despite adverse weather conditions renowned tour guide Christian Setzepfandt enthused our group. He spellbounded them with his tales about the recently and according to the original plans reconstructed quarter from Emperors’ Cathedral to Römer City Hall and brought Frankfurt’s mediaeval history back to life. 35 houses – 15 thereof reconstructed in accordance with original plans and 20 newly build –  are the pride of Frankfurt buzzing city center. After the tour the group enjoyed the regional  bi-monthly get-together at the Wirtshaus am Hühnermarkt – one of the historic buildings of the New Old Town. Don’t miss the next guided tour in Frankfurt!

Kick-Off Ethics & Business [email protected]


After clocking out from another February workday, over 60 bright-minded INSEAD alums equally represented across three generations extended their evening to come together on the  Business and Society Theme of “Technology for Good”.  They made their way up the glass elevators to 21st floor of the IBM Watson IoT Centre (in Munich); IBM our gracious host for the evening, dedicated not only their impressive facilities (which, some say, have the best views of Munich), but also their time to join the discussion.  A big thank you to our hosts!

While this was indeed an opportunity to catch-up with familiar faces and network with unfamiliar ones, this 21st of February also marked the Kick-Off of the IAAG Business and Society Community, aligned with the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society

Here’s the net-net of the Tech for Good Event

Sitting in a ‘fishbowl’, we opened with 4 broad viewpoints from our distinguished guests: Alessandra Hawthorne, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Angela Lawaldt, Partner, Bonventure Impact Investors, John Vasquez, Head of Software Development, IBM Internet of Things and Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, Board of Directors, JaguarLandRover, Infineon, Continental, BMW, ASML, Nordex, Autoliv.

John (who holds over 200 patents to his name!!!) inspired us with examples harnessing AI to improve people’s lives (e.g. he built a device that detects obstacles. It enabled a blind athlete to run marathons). Alessandra pointed to the need of predictive analytics for compliance to flag things that could potentially go wrong. Angela spoke to bridging the gap between being a financially viable NPO with a social cause and making a profit – it shouldn’t be a tradeoff. Wolfgang alluded to leaving the world in a better state than the one in which he arrived.  Alums subsequently jumped into the fishbowl and joined the debate and broadened the themes.

We then broke out into individual groups on ethics, social impact investing, youth, workplace automation, and a wildcard topic. As this was an INSEAD alum gathering, wine was optional.

Thumbs up – for now

The objectives of the event were met or at least that was the initial feedback from participants. The discussion inspired our attendees to do “good” in the workplace wherever possible irrespective of role or seniority. It also facilitated learning from and collaborate with each other on business for good.  Some were inspired to volunteer to contribute to future events.

What’s next?

While there are only so many hours in an evening on a workday such as February 21st, there was consensus on the need to maintain the momentum from the event to further build out a community that shares and acts on business as a force for good, making this exchange infectious.  What’s next? is exactly the question we are reflecting on now…and how we can facilitate the conversations to the next level and impact?

Written by Joanna Wardzinski

If you would like to learn more about our design to do your own, or to contribute to next steps on this (however big or small your time commitment) please contact our core team at [email protected] or IAAG.


Founder’s Trek Berlin

The INSEAD Entrepreneurship Club  is happy to announce the organization of a Founders‘ Trek in Berlin on days 21/22/23 of September! In a nutshell, 3 strong objectives:

1) Providing a space for INSEAD students with the ambition to found a company after INSEAD to get clarity on what it means to be a Founder
2) Create meaningful conversations between INSEAD students and Berlin Alumni, Founder and other key actors (VCs, incubators…)
3) Present the Berlin Startup scene to current students

On Friday afternoon (Sept 22nd) we planned a round table session and we are looking for Alumni who would be able to answer to students’ questions such as:

  • How to raise funds?
  • How to build an efficient team?
  • How to build a POC (proof of concept)?
  • How can I choose the right incubator?
  • How can the Alumni help me in my venture?

If you recognized yourself in this description please join us and send a mail to [email protected].”