Annual Report 2021

Special Features

Equity, inclusion and diversity


In 2021, IMD progressed successful on its three-year equity, inclusion and diversity (EI&D) action plan, which was designed by the EI&D Council, established in 2020. The plan is built on the EI&D house model for driving change employed by several Fortune 500 companies.

The plan, approved by the Executive Committee, aims to contribute to moving the needle on three long-term objectives:

  1. Achieving broader diversity in the IMD workforce and creating an inclusive environment for all constituents.
  2. Intensifying research productivity in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and fairness.
  3. Including the topics of diversity, inclusion, and fairness in leadership development programs.

Equity, inclusion and diversity
Equity, inclusion and diversity

Making great strides

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the vast majority of planned goals and activities for 2020 and 2021 had been completed by December.

IMD awarded Swiss pay equity certification
Compensation for male and female employees at IMD met Swiss legal standards for pay equity certification, as of December 2021.

New Inclusion Index
This new index, which will enable IMD to measure its progress in developing an inclusive and diverse workplace, was designed and will be included in the larger IMD employee engagement survey in 2022.

Gender identity
Since 2021, participants register for programs with a choice of three different gender options: female, male, and other.

Curriculum review
Following a review of the curriculum content of programs, efforts are underway to increase the diversity of guest speakers and the global diversity of protagonists in case studies used in programs. A pilot is taking place in the flagship three-week Foundations for Business Leadership program.

Staff training
In 2021, two EI&D dedicated development sessions for managers emphasized the impacts of biases and stereotypes, with a special focus on what managers and leaders can do to own and role model inclusive leadership and improve on an inclusive environment.

Awareness and education through events
In 2021, IMD hosted several EI&D-themed events with faculty, staff, participants, clients and global business audiences to share insights, raise awareness, educate, and to spark reflection and discussion.

Faculty and staff took part in three EI&D events on International Women’s Day, during LGBTQ+ Month, and on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

MBA participants gathered for four events, including International Women’s Day, faculty sessions on allyship and EI&D in the workplace, and a talk by Tiernan Brady, the Global Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Clifford Chance LLP.

Six virtual panel discussions, broadcast on IMD’s platforms and designed for executives, alumni and program participants, addressed topics such as chronic illness, data and gender equity, LGBTQ+, social justice investments, and female executive appointments.

Custom advisory work
IMD has established itself as an expert in EI&D advisory work for international corporations. This included an on-campus event designed and delivered for a French multinational to introduce the organization to an EI&D journey, and a one-year research project on the “future of inclusion” sponsored by a Fortune 500 corporation.

With Pride
IMD acknowledged Pride Month by flying the LGBTQ+ flag at its Lausanne campus and providing user-friendly tools for staff email signatures and virtual backgrounds, among other campus activities.

MD supported LVMH with its EI&D journey
MD supported LVMH with its EI&D journey
As the EMBA representative on the EI&D committee, I have been part of enabling diversity and allyship to be a more visible and integrated part of IMD's culture, communication and programs. During the year, there have been several articles, events and allyship initiatives to increase the awareness. As equality, inclusion and diversity are an integrated part of successful leadership, I am proud to see IMD taking the field seriously.
Tanja Eronen, CEO, Nordea Funds, EMBA representative to the EI&D Council

Measuring progress

In 2021, IMD made robust progress on each of its three core EI&D objectives.

1. Achieving broader diversity in the IMD workforce and creating an inclusive environment for all constituents.

Gender ratios have become more balanced. The percentage of female faculty grew from 13% in 2017 to 21% in late 2021, and the one new full faculty member hired in 2021 was female. In degree programs, the MBA’s female participation rate increased from 23% in 2017 to 35% in 2021, and the rate in the EMBA program grew from 15% in the June 2017 class to approximately 30% for the cohorts graduating in 2021 and 2022.

Measuring progress

In terms of the gender balance of IMD’s leadership, the new ExCo that was formed in early 2020 includes three women out of nine members. The percentage of female board members has increased from 12% in 2015 to 33% in 2021 . Faculty and staff represent 45 nationalities, strengthening IMD’s reputation as one of the world’s most internationally diverse business schools.

Swiss national employees
IMD employee nationalities (Swiss national employees (46.8%) include naturalized Swiss who also hold other passports.)

2. Intensifying research productivity in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and fairness.

A considerable number of articles and research outputs addressing EI&D themes were published in 2021. Among the more than 40 outputs covering EI&D themes, in 2021, two were published in FT50 academic journals and 28 were published on the school’s content platform I by IMD.

3. Including the topics of diversity, inclusion, and fairness in leadership development programs.

EI&D topics have become embedded in many leadership programs. The Senior Advisor, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, and faculty members specializing in diversity and inclusion transformation efforts facilitated several classroom segments in open and custom programs in 2021. Efforts were launched to ensure that a variety of role models are represented in required reading materials, such as case studies.