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The Zurich Campus Team

Volume 2, 2017

The sight of swans gliding along the waters of the pristine Lake Zurich isn’t a bad way to start, or end, the day. It’s a postcard-perfect view that staff at our Zurich Campus can enjoy – as long as they can find the time. They rarely can.

Last year the 10-member team ran 35 Executive Education courses, welcomed the first module of the revamped CEIBS Global EMBA, and hosted 12 study tours.  The number of activities, events and course participants are expected to be even higher this year. This January there was a major step forward in integrating the Zurich Campus into CEIBS’ wider operations, with the name changed to Zurich Institute of Business Education, the use of the CEIBS email domain and a rebranded website.  In this story we introduce four team members who explain the roles they play in the successful operation of the CEIBS Zurich Campus.  

 

Philipp Boksberger, CEO/President

“I was originally hired by Peter Lorange in November 2011 to be COO of the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich (LIBZ), responsible for business development. I became CEO/President of LIBZ in 2013, a role that I remained in after CEIBS’ acquisition of what is now its Zurich Campus.

In leading our high-performance team I continuously try to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations, to create new offers (based on market needs and overall trends) and to develop new revenue streams.

I believe the Zurich Campus is crucial to supporting CEIBS’ ‘Global Breath’ as it serves as a very effective bridge between China and Europe. CEIBS’ operations in the heart of Europe will facilitate dialogue and foster business between the two continents. Having additional operations in Africa gives us a unique selling proposition when we approach European businesses as we are able to offer access to two of the most dynamic and fastest growing markets in the world.

I’m very proud of our highly motivated, entrepreneurial and multicultural team. They believe, as I do, in the future of the CEIBS Zurich Campus. But we have always had a lean organisational structure so, given the accelerated growth in business (thanks mainly to activities initiated from CEIBS’ other locations) I am a bit concerned that the team’s work-life balance is suffering.  However we do our best, and try to focus on the positives. For example, after a year-long transition, we rebranded the CEIBS Zurich Campus this January. The moment when the CEIBS logo was revealed on the entrance of the campus was a very proud one for me. It was a sunny day, Lake Zurich was mirrored in our huge windows, and there it was – CEIBS’ visible presence in Europe.

This summer we will do the second-round refurbishing of the campus in order to update the additional classrooms and the lobby. After putting in new auditoriums and a new IT system (including simultaneous translation equipment) we’ve invested in multifunctional classrooms and created new workspace for our admin team in the lobby area, adding to our overall concept of working in an open space as it encourages close interaction with our clients.”

 

Kirsty Warwick, GEMBA Zurich Programme Director

“I was hired in 2013 as LIBZ’s Dual Degree EMBA/EMSc Programme Manager. I’m still in that role but now I’m also Programme Director for GEMBA Zurich as well.  Philipp, our CEO, believes in maintaining a very flat organisational structure and in his staff managing programmes vertically.  By that I mean from top to bottom, start to finish.  As a result, I have organisational responsibility for all aspects of the programmes, from induction to graduation – both front and back office.  I appreciate this as it means my job is very varied.  The key advantage is that I have the pleasure of seeing our students go through their entire learning journey.  In any one day, I may be reviewing applications, managing the budget, liaising with faculty, processing grades, or organising a graduation ceremony.  You may even see me vacuuming or clearing away used cups!

Many of my responsibilities are still very similar to my original role as EMBA/EMSc Programme Manager, but there is now the added diversity of working internationally with my counterparts in China and Ghana.  Another difference is that unlike the dual degree students, who mostly come from Europe and do almost all their modules here in Zurich, the GEMBA cohort consists of three distinct groups of students from Europe, China and Africa, and they have to attend core modules on each of these three continents.  This offers students an extra dimension to their learning, and the most amazing opportunity to not only learn from CEIBS’ exceptional faculty, but also to gain invaluable knowledge of these three quite different cultures by interacting, and by sharing knowledge and best practices with each other.  What more could you ask for from a Global Executive MBA programme!

If financial resources were not an issue, I would personally like to see a big branding campaign to really launch the CEIBS name across Europe.   CEIBS is a great brand and our international rankings support this, but despite being a highly-recognised name in Asia, we are just not that well known in Europe yet.  At the end of the day, people like familiarity.  The more our name becomes known and our reputation grows, the easier it will be for us to promote the GEMBA programme.  In the meantime, I get such pleasure from knowing that what we do matters. I was really moved by the impact the first module had on our students.  The Leadership Stream, run by Professor Jack Wood, offered the best possible start to the programme. The students clearly felt enlightened by the whole experience, from start to finish. I heard them making comments like, ‘this has been life-changing!’ and ‘it’s blown my mind!’  You really can’t ask for anything more than that.  From my perspective, it was wonderful to see such a dynamic and diverse group of professional individuals come together for a week and form a tight cohort, pumped up and ready to take on any challenge together!

For those who haven’t yet visited us in Zurich I think it’s perhaps hard to imagine just how small we are compared to CEIBS Shanghai.  There are only 10 of us in the team, of which only half work full-time.  And that’s for the entire campus. But even though we might be small, we achieve a lot! So while we here at the Zurich Campus are still learning the CEIBS way of doing things and getting our policies and practices in place, the continued support and guidance from the extended CEIBS family would be much appreciated.” 

 

Li Ding-Serra, CEIBS European Study Tour Director

“I was hired in 2016 to manage the then-newly-launched European Study Tour Programme. One thing I really like about my job is that there are no ‘typical’ days; but I’m generally on the phone and I run around a lot.

One aspect of my job is about building relationships with companies and experts from various fields as we create unforgettable Study Tours and work with companies that will be great examples of Real Situation Learning. I work closely with our CEO Philipp Boksberger, my colleague Lili Zhao and the CEIBS professors on the tours. I do everything from designing course outlines and schedules, to coordinating logistical details with each class coordinator and our vendors. I basically do everything I can so that each tour runs smoothly.

The Zurich campus is a bit like a start-up, which I like because I’m flexible, open-minded and able to work without much guidance. Being able to speak Chinese and several European languages gives me an edge in this role. So does my past experience working in a variety of industries as this makes it easier to understand what our clients need from our programmes. If I had unlimited  resources – both financial and human –  I would spend a substantial amount of time developing more cutting edge content and cultivating partners for our programme.

But of course time is also a factor – there never seem to be enough hours in the day. This is especially true when you’re working across time zones. A clear goal, a well-aligned motivation system and good communication are the keys for any global entity to achieve its potential. In working with CEIBS’ other locations, it seems that the limiting factor is usually the amount of time the key players have to communicate. But overall I’ve had a wonderful experience working with CEIBS staff from China; they’re very competent and efficient. I would say that the best part of my job, though, is being able to work with all my colleagues here at CEIBS Zurich Campus. We help and support each other in every way we can.  I’m often working away from the office so it’s always a pleasure to see them every time I’m back on campus.”  

 

Katharina Kirchhoff, Head of Sales and Marketing

“I joined CEIBS Zurich Campus in 2016 as Head of Sales and Marketing, a role that’s constantly evolving. That’s what I like most about my job with CEIBS Zurich: being part of its growth and development, seeing all the changes taking place, establishing procedures and structures within my team, and finding new ways to meet our goals.

With customers, I prefer to explain my role as Head of Client Relations, Sales & Marketing. We’re offering top programmes and we have one of the best Global Executive MBA programmes on the market. We provide programmes that can alter the course of an executive’s life or career; this is so much more than just ‘selling’ a product. From their very first contact with us, our customers should experience the luxuriousness of our products, and there should always be an atmosphere that makes them feel at home. In addition to completing my own Executive MBA three years ago, I’ve worked in leadership roles in global multinationals and high-end corporate luxury brands. So I have a keen understanding of what corporate executives demand from business education (both at the corporate and individual level).

My most important task each day is to meet the needs of our various stakeholders. I’m constantly aware that we’re branding ourselves and our Campus in Zurich at every touch point and with every activity we do – internally as well as externally.

There are many global EMBA programmes being offered on the market. We must be able to differentiate our programme from the others, and this requires the ability to tell truly great stories about every aspect of the CEIBS experience.

I would love to see us do a branding campaign in Western Europe to increase awareness of CEIBS outside of China. That would be fantastic as it would help us strike the right balance between a ‘push’ and ‘pull’ sales strategy. I truly believe that CEIBS is special and the best way to communicate this to potential clients is on an emotional level.  It’s about how we tell our story, and the quality of our programmes.

I regularly join at least one networking event off campus per week in order to get in contact with companies, potential students and/or alumni for all our programmes. I like to take any opportunity to talk about the great variety of programmes our Zurich Campus is offering – and of course our MBA programme in Shanghai.

Here in Zurich we are a multinational team and everyone has great skills which makes us as a very strong team. And we can count on each other; that is a great gift. I’ve also been working very closely with my Shanghai-based colleagues from the MBA department. I had the opportunity to travel with a few of them to Germany and within Switzerland. I had the chance to see and experience the CEIBS spirit during fairs, company visits, coffee chats and one-to-one talks. I’m looking forward to making even more wonderful memories with CEIBS.”

 

Zurich Campus Staff

Philipp Boksberger, CEO/President

Yvonne Bello, Head of Operations

Kirsty Warwick, GEMBA Zurich Programme Director

Li Ding-Serra, CEIBS European Study Tour Director

Lili Zhao, Programme Director

Carol Fuzzard, Corporate Programmes Director

Katharina Kirchhoff, Head of Sales and Marketing

Andreas Rogalas, Senior Client Relations Manager

Lazar Tosic, Client Relations Manager

Patricia Bähr, Senior Event Manager and Alumni Relations