Ferdinand Issels and Michelle Yu, members of INSEAD’s MBA class of 2022, are the first students in the school’s history to use NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for fundraising purposes.
Their NFT deftly combines INSEAD’s school logo with Robin Hood imagery. In the short looping video, a cartoon Robin Hood—inspired in style by video game classic, Mario—jumps onto a green salamander, which is INSEAD’s school emblem.
“Inspired by viral internet hits like Nyan Cat, we went for something bold, perhaps a little eccentric,” Ferdinand explains.
A novel approach to MBA funding
To make it more accessible, attendees at the NFT auction made their bids using government issued currencies like euros or dollars, rather than cryptocurrency.
Now sold, the Robin Hood NFT will be minted (transformed from a digital file into a non-alterable asset on a blockchain) through Ethereum when transferred to its new owner.
Ferdinand, Michelle, and the rest of the Robin Hood Campaign team have also ensured that future INSEAD MBAs will continue to benefit from their quirky NFT.
Whenever it’s resold, 10% of the transaction price will automatically flow back to INSEAD’s scholarship fund.
The NFT produced by INSEAD students is a novel and colorful approach to fundraising
The auction was the latest in a series of unconventional fundraising events in service of the Robin Hood Scholarship Campaign—a student-led initiative that raises money for one needs-based or diversity scholarship, offered to an MBA candidate in the next intake.
In 2020, INSEAD MBAs raised around €42,000 ($48,000) in service of the scholarship, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19. One notable event—dubbed Secret Crush—saw students have roses and chocolates delivered from friends and secret admirers.
Since its launch, the Robin Hood Scholarship Campaign has raised enough money to support 35 students.
Innovation at INSEAD
This isn’t the first time INSEAD MBAs have taken up and innovative problem-solving approach. In 2020, the school’s COVID-19 Innovation Competition challenged teams of students to find a business solution to a problem created by coronavirus.
In total, 120 MBA students, with 50 business ideas between them, took part in the competition, which was judged by faculty and corporate partners.
As NFTs surge in popularity, other MBAs could be inspired to take up this innovative approach to fundraising.