Florence LEGROS, Director of ICN Business School and Frédéric KREBS, President of ICN Alumni, interview each other about the school, the graduate association and their shared ambitions.
Florence LEGROS: You became the new president of ICN Alumni in June 2020. As a reflection of ICN, in what way would you describe yourself as being CreaCtive?
Frédéric KREBS: Once I had graduated from ICN Grande Ecole, I threw myself into the Internet adventure in 1997, which commentators at the time described as ‘an invention with no future’. I got involved in the AlloCiné adventure in 2000, which was a start-up that needed to be designed and built from scratch, in a crossover space between the digital world and cinema. The idea really was to change the way in which people went to the cinema. Today, in Newfund, the start-up investment fund I run, we talk about digital and societal transformation every day. This is always a process that transforms something that already exists, requiring radical creativity and relentless activism. It is this same attitude that is injected by the school today; and it is also what we are trying to convey at ICN Alumni.
FK: Last May, the school was awarded the Triple Crown accreditation, making the whole ICN community very proud. What were the strengths of the school that were particularly highlighted by the inspectors?
F.L.: Receiving the third accreditation confirmed the strategic plan, called ‘Ambition 2022’ that was established by ICN Business School, as well as its values pertaining to differentiation, responsibility, creativity and innovation. The inspectors particularly congratulated the school on:
Innovative ‘interdisciplinary’ learning design which needs to be developed and maintained on each campus. All the inspectors and accreditors clearly require us to provide equal student experience across all the campuses. This is why we have established partnerships with Ecole Boulle, the Charpentier Academy and the Berlin School of Art, and so on.
Popular locations: Paris, Nancy and Berlin. Developing Paris and Berlin, as well as Nancy, is an inevitable step in the overall development of the school.
An updated academic charter; a clearer and more energetic research policy, aligned with the overall aims of the school. An enhanced, more highly qualified academic staff (95% hold a doctorate).
A renewed international partnerships policy: our international partners are all accredited or have a distinguishing characteristic (‘Artem-style’ university, for example)
The Unesco Chair for art and science for sustainable development which should be better exploited
A protected and identifiable brand
F.L.: You have a new strategic plan called ‘Back to the Top’. What is it for?
F.K : For a long time I have felt that ICN was not where it deserved to be in the business school rankings. But 2020 changed all that, the Triple Crown accreditation that was granted recently has injected a new dynamic into the Alumni, as well as into the school. You can see it through the increase in new members this year too. I feel that there is a fresh energy and a desire to strengthen the ties that connect the 15,000 Alumni round the world. Similarly, a stronger Alumni network, with a fresh dynamic, will be able to play a real role in graduate careers. In my work I meet quite a lot of graduates from HEC, EM Lyon, Stanford or Harvard. They rely greatly on their Alumni networks to move forward in their careers or expand their business initiatives. So, we developed a plan called ‘Back to the Top’ to indicate to ICN graduates that the network is back in the game, with a full range of services to help support their careers. Like for the biggest players!
F.K. : In what way do you feel a graduate network is important for the development of the school?
F.L.: It’s absolutely vital. Graduates have a real role to play in the Development Committees, for example. These review bodies enable our qualifications to be improved.
They also provide our students with examples, inspiring them and enabling them to project into the future. Another intergenerational feature is that former students support current students, sometimes the most vulnerable. The current campaign called ‘ICN Family, ICN Support’ is supported by our Alumni and is a good example of that. ICN graduates are absolute pillars of our endowment fund.