Interview with Wolfram BERGER, Head of Programmes and Research at ICN
You have been Head of Programmes and Research at ICN since 1st April. This means you joined the school in the middle of lockdown. How have things been organised as ICN during this period?
Right at the beginning of the first lockdown, all the academic staff at the school showed an extraordinary level of commitment to maintaining a high standard of teaching and support for students, even in very difficult circumstances. The commitment of the academic staff has been exemplary, offering students the best teaching possible in each individual circumstance. At the same time, we have made enormous infrastructural investments in order to allow students to follow different formats of teaching and learning – on campus, online from home or a blend of the two. It is important for us that students are able to shape their own learning independently.
It would seem from the rankings that ICN has a reputation for academic excellence. Will this still be the case in 2020/21?
ICN will not be content with simply confirming its academic excellence in the future. We will continue to promote and develop our academic excellence in order to best prepare our students for successful careers in the field of management. Our Triple Crown accreditation is proof that we are members of the elite; the best business schools in the world.
The school is constantly developing. We are currently developing our campuses in Berlin and in Paris, and we are about to open Station A, our Learning Lab for interdisciplinary learning. The development of the school is supported by the dynamic development of our research. Our academic staff are seen as experts not only by the wider university community but also by entrepreneurs. Their research helps find direct answers to current problems. In addition, we are meeting the challenge of strengthening our position as a centre of research excellence in sustainable development and CSR. Proof of our excellence lies in the fact that we are the only French business school with a UNESCO Chair. The Chair explores ways in which art and management are able to work together for sustainable development.
What message would you like to send to parents of students at the school?
What makes us different is our interdisciplinary approach. We deliberately transcend the boundaries between disciplines, combining management with art and design to encourage student creativity and ability to innovate, helping them explore their potential. At the same time, we attach great importance to turning our students into responsible managers. It is with this aim in mind that subjects such as sustainable development and CSR constitute an important part of our teaching programmes. Finally, we work closely with partner enterprises to create situations that our students are likely to encounter in their working lives – working on projects in mixed teams, but using that variety as a strength that will lead to success.
This educational philosophy is very specific and aims to promote and develop intellectual openness, lateral thinking and an ability to find innovative and creative solutions. This is the essence of the development of the school, and it is the most important quality required of a future manager. In this respect, ICN has created a unique experience for students, an experience that is designed to be transformative.