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INSEAD Africa Initiative: Marketing Plan Ideas IDFP January – April 2008 MARTINEZ, Jorge; RAMONEDA, Igor; SCHMIDT, Sand PowerPoint Presentation
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INSEAD Africa Initiative: Marketing Plan Ideas IDFP January – April 2008 MARTINEZ, Jorge; RAMONEDA, Igor; SCHMIDT, Sandra; SOROKINA, Margarita. Agenda. 1. Background: Making the Case for Africa. 2. IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem. 3. Interviewing African students and alumni. 4.

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INSEAD Africa Initiative: Marketing Plan IdeasIDFP January – April 2008MARTINEZ, Jorge; RAMONEDA, Igor; SCHMIDT, Sandra; SOROKINA, Margarita



Background: Making the Case for Africa


IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem


Interviewing African students and alumni


Suggestions for next steps for marketing



Background: Making the Case for Africa

IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem

Interviewing African students and alumni

Suggestions for next steps for marketing


Business Activity in Africa is Growing…

ODA: Official Development Assistance; FDI: Foreign Direct Investment


…and can have a Large Social Impact

Proportion of People Living in Extreme Poverty in the Developing World 2004

% of population living below international poverty line of $1.00 per day

Source: UN, Previous IAI Team Analysis


However, at INSEAD, Africa is drastically underrepresented

Population of the World

INSEAD students

Increasing African Participation is VITAL to maintain INSEAD’s competitive advantage and positioning as

Source: Loic Sadoulet


Progress has been made to increase Asian representation, however African representation has not improved

MBA Participants from Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa

% MBA Participants


Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: INSEAD internal data, Previous IAI Team Analysis


The Africa Initiative was put in place to increase African Talent and Content as well as to widen International Networks

Local Advisory and Action committees

Frank Brown, Soumitra Dutta

Steering Committee

Phase 1 Working Teams

Market Development

Chris Redo

+ Alex Dembitz

Loic Sadoulet

+ Luk van Wassenhove

Steve Cutts

Helen Henderson

Fund raising






  • Client
  • IDFP Focus

Source: Loic Sadoulet


Background: Making the Case for Africa


IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem

Interviewing African students and alumni

Suggestions for next steps for marketing


GOAL: Support the INSEAD Africa Initiative (IAI) marketing initiative by identifying activities to increase sub-Sahara African student representation to 50 students/year within three to five years of implementation

  • Project as a sub-component of INSEAD Africa Initiative
    • Marketing activities done to date by Helen
    • Previous IDFP team’s work
  • Lack of Awareness of INSEAD within Africa
  • Lack of Awareness of Africa within INSEAD
  • Africa-specific challenges
  • Client: Steve Cutts
  • Additional Africa Initiative stakeholders: Helen Henderson, Loic Sadoulet
  • Current & Future INSEAD students, faculty and staff
  • Current & Future African INSEAD participants
  • Alumni
  • Recruiters
  • African Businesses and Organizations
  • Identification of major hurdles in marketing of INSEAD in Africa
  • Creation of creative solutions from interviewing students & alumni
  • Outline of approximate cost and implementation suggestions for each idea
  • Actual Implementation
  • Financing solution
  • Internship and career opportunities
  • Targeting entire African continent
  • Changing INSEAD application requirements
  • Establishing partnerships

BARRIERS: Potential lack of data, knowledge and expertise & funding challenges




Marketing Plan will include a several new initiatives targeting different geographical areas and adaptable for various budget levels. Ideally transferrable to areas not specifically targeted as part of this project.

Identifying the problem: Where are we loosing people?

Increase Interest/ Applications

Identify Eligible Population

Raise Awareness

Interview & Acceptance


Area of focus of this project

Out of Scope’

  • Considerations:
  • Geographic targeting
  • Socio-economic targeting
  • Partnerships with schools (feeder schools for long term?)
  • Partnerships?
  • Considerations:
  • Awareness of MBA
  • Awareness of INSEAD
  • INSEAD value proposition
  • Considerations:
  • Coaching
  • GMAT centres
  • Scholarships
  • Alternative options
  • France/Singapore (language requirement?)
  • Considerations:
  • Logistics
  • Visas, integration into France
  • Financing
  • Core requirements (GMAT, language, etc.) will not be changed
  • Considerations:
  • Sustainability
  • Ensuring success of student  support network?
  • Alumni relations
  • INSEAD reputation in long-run



We recommend that the marketing effort focus on Nigeria and South Africa for the first one to three years and then expand to other African countries


  • Focus on two countries (Nigeria and South Africa) as ‘hubs’ for South Africa and West Africa
  • Develop plan that can be rolled out to other countries, as desired



  • GMAT centres
  • Geopolitical Stability
  • Alumni & Student population
  • Business maturity & future potential
  • Potential partnerships

Rationale behind Country Choice


  • Existing business schools – profile (size, price, location)
  • Other international business schools - % African student population
  • Benchmarking of other business schools Africa Initiatives

Market Sizing


Ease of doing business





v. stable


Nigeria and South Africa are ideal first choices for focus of marketing effort

Country specific issues

  • GMAT centresexist in multiple Sub-Sahara African countries…
  • …however, only some countries are currently geo-politically stable…
  • … with some countries portraying more advanced current business practices as well as quicker future growth potential

INSEAD relationships

  • Alumni
  • Current Students
  • Potential partnerships
  • South Africa
    • 310 Alumni
    • 63 MBA Alumni
    • 4 current MBAs
  • Nigeria
    • 91 Alumni
    • 7 MBA Alumni
    • 5 current MBAs
  • Kenya
    • 30 Alumni
    • 8 MBA Alumni
  • Undergraduate Institutions
  • Graduate Institutions
  • International Organizations
  • Companies

Source:;;; IAI team analysis


In S. Africa, ~4,000 MBAs/year are granted (growing steadily). Internationally, ~100 African students/year at top MBA programs

Great local schools exist

  • Lower Fees: between €3,000 and €12,000
  • Duration: 1 – 5 years, part-time; full-time; distance learning (flexibility)
  • Application Requirements: virtually all require either GMAT or an alternative test, English
  • UCT ranked by FT as emerging market top 5 and global rank #63
  • Top Business Schools in South Africa:
  • Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)
  • University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of
  • Business University of Stellenbosch
  • Wits Business School
  • (Various other MBA programs are offered at other AABS accredited schools across Africa)

Current international demand – few students go abroad

  • Harvard (2% of class of 900; 2 years; $74K*2)
  • Wharton (4% (incl. ME) of class of 800; 2 years; $73K*2)
  • Stanford (unknown% of class of 380; 2 years; $75K*2)
  • LBS (5% (incl. ME) of class of 540; 15-21 months; $88K [£45K])
  • HEC (unknown% of class of 200; 16 months; $88K [€60K])
  • IMD (8% of class of 90; 1 year; $63K [58K CHF]
  • INSEAD (2% of class of 2*460; 10 months; $73K [€50K])
  • <2% of MBA students are African students at other top schools
  • Equates to <100 students/year
  • ~30-35 students in Nigeria and S. Africa complete GMATs with >650/year
  • International schools are significantly more expensive

Source:; AABS;, IAI team analysis


While most top b-schools have an Africa Initiative like program, these are run with various degrees of success and generally feel like ‘high hype, low return’

  • Harvard Business School:
  • 2 admission events in Africa per year
  • Africa Business Club (1997)
  • Africa Trek
  • Annual Africa Business Conference (800 people incl. prominent African figures)
  • Wharton Business School:
  • 6 admission events in Africa per year
  • WASA (Wharton African Student Association, 1999)
  • African Business Forum & Speaker Series
  • African Global Immersion Program (3-weeks field trip) and case about Africa in MBA program



  • 0% post-MBA jobs in Africa
  • 0% post-MBA jobs in Africa
  • London Business School:
  • 3 MBA Admission events in Africa per year
  • 1 scholarship for African students
  • Alumni association activities in SA and Nigeria
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business:
  • 3 admission events in Africa per year
  • Africa Business Club
  • Black Community Service Centre



  • 2% post-MBA jobs in Africa
  • 0% post-MBA jobs in Africa

Background: Making the Case for Africa

IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem


Interviewing African students and alumni

Suggestions for next steps for marketing



We focused initially on interviewing African MBA students and alumni to identify the root causes of the dearth of Sub-Sahara African applications and the major bottlenecks in the application process

Alumni (6)

Interested in INSEAD

Current Student (10)


Aware of INSEAD

Financial Reasons

Interested in MBA

Not Aware of INSEAD

Not Interested in INSEAD

Location Reasons

Aware of MBA

Not Interested in MBA

Eligible Population

Other Reasons

Not considered a personal option

Not Aware of MBA

Doesn’t know what an MBA is


The Types of Questions asked during Interview Process to identify focus areas for marketing


for the


  • Nationality
  • Education
  • Experience

Who should INSEAD target during the marketing process?

  • Of MBA Programs
  • Sources of information (fairs, press, university, company, relationships…)

How should INSEAD target the eligible population?

What channels should we use to increase awareness?

How can INSEAD facilitate the process for potential candidates?

  • Main barriers & difficulties (GMAT, financing, coaching, VISA)

What is INSEAD’s value proposition ?

How should INSEAD communicate its value proposition?

  • Criteria for choosing INSEAD vs. other schools (reputation, time, geography, global exposure, networking, scholarships...)



Profiles of Interviewees: The INSEAD African alumni and student population is diverse in terms of nationalities as well as educational and professional backgrounds

  • Nationalities:
  • S. Africa
    • 2 alumni
    • 4 MBAs
  • Nigeria
    • 1 alumni
    • 1 EMBA alumni
    • 3 MBAs
  • Zimbabwe
    • 1 alumni
    • 1 MBA
  • Kenya – 1 alumni
  • Ghana – 1 MBA
  • Cameroon – 1 MBA
  • Undergraduate Institutions:
  • UCT (ZAR) – 2
  • University of Natal - 2
  • Obafemi Awolowo University (NGA) – 2
  • USA (2)
  • UK (1)
  • Nairobi University (NGA)
  • Schlumberger Well Completion School (NGA)
  • Cape Town University (ZAR)
  • Pretoria University (ZAR)
  • National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe)
  • Backgrounds:
  • Masters in Engineering - 3
  • Electrical Engineering - 2
  • Mechanical Engineering - 2
  • Chemic Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  • Physics
  • Economics & Philosophy
  • Companies:
  • Accenture – 2
  • Celtel
  • Ericsson
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Schlumberger
  • Shell
  • SPAR
  • Unilever
  • Mining



Results from the Interviews indicated that the main problem was one of lack of awareness of INSEAD

Increase Interest/ Applications

Identify Eligible Population

Raise Awareness

Interview & Acceptance


  • Once a student has decided to pursue the MBA at INSEAD, the remainder of the funnel process is less challenging
    • Financing is important but a manageable hurdle. Scholarships must scale up in tandem with more African students. Potential for financing solutions are important condition during application process
    • GMAT process is manageable. Eventually development of coaching/preparation would be helpful.
    • Visa issue is manageable. More administrative support during the acceptance process, especially from alumni would be helpful. INSEAD has some relationships to help with this.



Interviewees suggested various channels for Africa Initiative marketing

Corporate partnerships (ExecEd network?, cases?)

Academic institutions (satellite school, guests)

Improve funding communication

Target "pipeline" (undergrads, also in Europe)

Alumni (ambassadors, "success stories")

Media & PR (financial journals & online)

Govt. Alliances



Interviews highlighted differentiated challenges for marketing in each country

  • South Africa
  • INSEAD on par with local, well established school
  • Financing: Govt. FULL support (tuition & living) for S. Africans studying locally
  • Local programs allow flexibility (part time)
  • Word of mouth (esp. alumni)
  • Niche awareness (Nedbank)
  • MBA ≠ salary jump
  • Confusion due to recent proliferation of ‘bad’ B.S.
  • Demand is there (75% of CEOs from S. African stock market have MBA, but all local MBAs)
  • Nigeria
  • Less well established local schools
  • MBA = “elite culture" only
  • Niche awareness (oil industry)
  • INSEAD = French !!
  • Visa (easier than in UK)
  • Financing (easier in UK)
  • Word of mouth (esp. alumni)
  • Other countries
  • Similar to Nigeria
  • Level of English (TOEFL) can be barrier in non-ex English colonies
  • Financing, GMAT, interviews, VISA more of an issue than in Nigeria and S. Africa


  • Most MBA students want to come back to Africa, but not immediately after MBA
  • Content: while more POSITIVE content on Africa would be appreciated, there are not enough “success stories” from developing worlds (BRIC, etc.)
  • More post MBA career choices in Africa – not just oil, consulting or banking
  • INSEAD students are unrepresentative of African population – interviewing non-INSEAD alumnus/student population is recommended



Background: Making the Case for Africa

IDFP Project Plan – structuring the problem

Interviewing African students and alumni


Suggestions for next steps for marketing


Raise Awareness

  • Analyzing the Awareness Issue more closely, we thus recommend focusing marketing on different areas for each country:
  • people who would benefit from an MBA but are not interested/unaware of the MBA proposition;
  • people who want to do an MBA but either don’t know INSEAD, have incorrect information or don’t understand the value proposition

Eligible Population

Aware of MBA

Interested in MBA

Aware of INSEAD

Interested in INSEAD

Not Aware of MBA

Not Interested in MBA

Not Aware of INSEAD

Not Interested in INSEAD

In Nigeria, the problem is lack of awareness of the MBA as a value proposition

In South Africa, the Problem is one of INSEAD branding

There is sufficient demand to pursue an MBA, INSEAD is however not able to capture the market that exists



In South Africa we recommend focusing marketing efforts at creating the buzz ‘top down’ by initially targeting potential Executive Education candidates

  • Step 1:
  • Educate corporations on benefits of partnering with INSEAD through EMBA, ExecEd and AMP programs
    • Sales pitch (short < 2hr) at major South African corporations emphasizing value proposition of INSEAD
    • Leverage strength of existing partnerships & alumni base
    • Potential for case-study work at successful S. African companies to reinforce relationships and to create relevant African content
    • Needs to be done frequently & consistently
  • Step 2:
  • Leverage strong alumni base from Executive programs in order to increase awareness of benefits of an INSEAD MBA in comparison to a local MBA
    • Word of Mouth – bringing INSEAD Top of Mind when a student is considering an MBA
    • Understanding of leaders & corporations in S. Africa of benefits of INSEAD’s value proposition, facilitating choice of INSEAD over local MBA
    • Encourage interaction of EMBA/ExecEd programs with MBA students when on campus to highlight INSEAD MBA benefits

In Nigeria, we suggest highlighting the benefits of an MBA in general and INSEAD in particular by offering “A day in the life of an INSEAD MBA”

  • Step 1: Selection of 80-100 participants
  • Preselected candidates:
    • Top five students at local undergraduate & graduate schools
    • GMAT takers with scores above 650
    • 30 “High potential” candidates identified and recommended by local alumni (ExecEd, EMBA and MBA)
  • Media campaign candidates
    • Campaign to be launched 2 months prior to event
    • Advertising in Business section of local newspapers
    • Radio advertising: INSEAD sponsorship of relevant business / news broadcasts
    • Advertising on INSEAD website
  • Step 2: Program for “A day in the life of an INSEAD MBA”
  • Offered twice a year in Lagos – 120/130 people event
    • Attendance of INSEAD faculty (2); current MBAs (2); INSEAD recruitment/marketing staff (1); local alumni (10+)
    • Program:
      • 1 open lecture by INSEAD faculty
      • 1 interactive class with case study and group work. Include prize for winning team.
      • Overview of the structure and content of MBA program: academics, international dimension, social life
      • Presentation of personal experience at INSEAD by current MBA students and local alumni
      • Admission coaching session (GMAT, application, recommendation letters, interviews, visa requirements) and strong emphasis on financing options
      • Q&A session + networking with faculty, alumni, current student and INSEAD admission / marketing team
    • Partnership / co-hosting with local strong corporation

Suggestions for next steps for marketing


INSEAD should also leverage “traditional” channels to increase awareness

Corporations & Partnerships

Governments & International Institutions

Initial focus on increasing awareness of INSEAD brand

Academic Institutions


Media & PR

  • Local Newspapers
  • Local editions of Business Journals
  • Undergrad/grad newsletters
  • Radio
  • Internet

Next Steps

  • Develop a clear strategy for IAI as a whole and receive buy-in from key internal stakeholders
  • Dedicate a full time employee to support INSEAD Africa Initiative
  • Allocate an ‘earmarked’ budget for African initiative separate from marketing budget
  • Increase awareness of Africa within INSEAD by hosting an ‘Africa Day’ and publicizing the Initiative and its background & rationale internally – leverage Ujamaa (African Club) and partnerships with corporations
  • Improve the financing options (scholarships, student loans, agreements with corporations) to minimize its effect as the main hurdle to recruitment
  • Conduct additional interviews, especially with students who did NOT choose to attend INSEAD, to better target marketing plan