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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lessons from Africa

~ Global EMBA Classes in Accra

May 18, 2018. Shanghai – CEIBS Global EMBA 2016 wrapped up its Accra module on May 6 and the experience has been life changing for many participants. The course was especially memorable as they shared some classes and company visits with CEIBS Global 2015 participants and their peers from IESE. It was an excellent opportunity to experience one of the unique features of the CEIBS Global EMBA – the seamless integration between courses offered from the school’s campuses in Africa, Shanghai and Zurich.  

The Global EMBA 2016 participants from CEIBS Zurich Campus were in Accra for a core module on Entrepreneurship, taught by Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy Shameen Prashantham. In addition to classroom lectures, there were visits to companies such as Niche Cocoa – a privately owned and operated cocoa processing company – as well as Kasapreko, one of Ghana’s leading producers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The visits complemented the lessons the business executives learned in the classroom and from each other.

There was also an elective on Doing Business in Africa, from April 24-28, whose participants included CEIBS Global EMBA 2015 Shanghai class and their peers from IESE. Among them was Cedric Devroye, whose job as Senior Vice President of United Trademarks Group takes him to Shanghai, Milan & Toronto. He was left with a story about wildlife that has completely changed the way he sees Africa. “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you'd better be running. One of our professors shared this story and I found it a very suitable metaphor for doing business in Africa,” says Cedric. He is enrolled in the Shanghai cohort of the CEIBS GEMBA. “Another key learning from my courses at CEIBS Accra Campus was that despite a general trend of increasing urbanisation, ‘consumerisation’, and fragile political systems, the African continent is a story of many countries. I used to conceptualise Africa as the last frontier in the global economy but will, from now on, vividly remember that the gazelle and the lion are to be viewed in country-specific environments.”

For Fenry Fan – who enrolled from CEIBS Zurich Campus – the Africa module not only helped her realise her dream of a visit to the continent but she also became more culturally aware and has leads on potential business opportunities in her role as Associate Business Supply Chain Manager for Dow Chemical (China) Investment Co. Ltd. “It’s always been one of my dreams to travel to Africa. Now my dream has come true and it’s even better than I expected,” she says. “I have adopted African philosophies, started friendships with local business people and now we work together on wonderful ideas that could potentially change the way people do business in Africa. None of this would have happened if I hadn't joined the CEIBS GEMBA Zurich programme!”

The CEIBS Global EMBA offers key courses and elective modules in locations that are vitally important to the world of global business, with company visits to top international companies that range from Infosys in India to Israel’s much touted Fintech hub incubator. Participants can register in one city and do classes from any of the three CEIBS campuses (Shanghai, Zurich, and Accra) that offer the GEMBA. Its strong focus on Europe, China and Africa is what makes the programme so attractive to many participants, including Salome Risi, Sales Director at Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems AG, Switzerland who also enrolled from CEIBS Zurich Campus. “I am convinced that an in-depth understanding of the local context is critical for smart decision making and resulting business success,” she says. “The CEIBS Global EMBA programme complements my work experience within this geographical triangle of Europe, China and Africa, helps me expand my personal network and enhances my academic knowledge. The programme has given me the knowledge and tools to become a global leader.”

So far this year the CEIBS Global EMBA has provided participants with access and first-hand knowledge of various industries in a number of countries including India, Indonesia, Singapore, Israel, Zurich and Ghana. The elective module in India focused on Immersion in India for Business Success. In Indonesia, the topic was South-East Asia Economies and Developing Economies, and in Israel participants got a comprehensive view of the country’s economy and culture.

The CEIBS GEMBA has been ranked Top 20 globally for 7 consecutive years, and #13 in 2016 by the Financial Times.  

Watch this video for more about how the CEIBS GEMBA can transform your career.  

For more about how to register for the October 2017 class of the CEIBS Global EMBA Asia track see http://www.ceibs.edu/gemba/application.

Charmaine N. Clarke