On November 18th, 2019, the Financial Times published the Global EMBA Rankings of business schools. The global executive MBA programme of INSEAD and its joint executive MBA programme both dropped six positions and were listed as nr. 9 and nr. 19 in the ranking.

Unfortunately, the fundraising campaign “A force for good”, which was initiated by the dean of INSEAD, Prof. Ilian Mihov, seems to have failed to make INSEAD’s programme in the corporate social responsibility get a better position. Notably, the career progress rank of INSEAD’s programme dropped more than 20%.


At the beginning of November, a former student of INSEAD published his investigation on a webpage, www.forceforgood.xyz. On the webpage, the student described how he questioned an ill-advised partnership between INSEAD and its Chinese affiliate, the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education (厚益高等教育研究院), a discredited institution notorious in China for its legal and reputational issues. Previously, it was called the Beijing Post EMBA Alumni Association and had the same logo and same founder. In July 2018, Peking University published an official announcement that denied any affiliation with Beijing Post EMBA as the Beijing Post EMBA Alumni Association (北京北大后工商管理促进会) and mentioned it would pursue legal action against the Beijing Post EMBA Alumni Association for infringements and using registered trademarks of Peking University.

On November 23, 2018, the Dean of INSEAD®, Prof. Ilian Mihov, participated in the five-year strategic cooperation agreement signing ceremony of a non-degree programme with INSEAD’s new strategic partner, the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education, on the INSEAD® campus in Singapore. Together with HOUYI, INSEAD offered a joint post-executive MBA programme called Future Business Leaders Programme, and the tuition of the programme was 1.28 million RMB (approximately 185K USD). Dean Prof. Ilian Mihov mentioned in HOUYI’s news report that INSEAD® was committed to supporting the Future Business Leaders Programme in collaboration with the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education and that he looked forward to its future success.

Illustration for article titled INSEAD’S executive MBA rankings dropped rapidly in Financial Times Ranking

In November 2019, a reporter investigated the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education and found out that it was actually the Beijing Post EMBA Alumni Association. According to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in China, both the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education and Beijing Post EMBA Alumni Association were never entered in any register. The reporter contacted the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China to get more information about the INSEAD-HOUYI Future Business Leaders Programme. The Ministry of Education mentioned that there were no records of the programme.


More and more Chinese media start to pay attention and reported about INSEAD’s collaboration with a fake Chinese institution and the record-high programme tuition.

The reporter then contacted the media relations department of INSEAD and Dean Prof. Ilian Mihov to ask for an official statement about the status of the joint programme with INSEAD’s affiliate, the HOUYI Institute of Advanced Education, and for comments about the rapidly dropping rankings in 2019.


At this time, neither INSEAD nor Dean Prof. Ilian Mihov has commented.

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