New Year's Letter to Alumni
Happy New Year!
Gusting winds from the east have joined forces to bring us another new year.
For China, 2016 was a year of optimizing the structural economy, a year that saw a boom in entrepreneurship; for CEIBS, it was a key year in its efforts to be a world-class business school that epitomizes “China Depth, Global Breadth”. But as “uncertainty” has risen to be the one thing we are most certain of in today’s world, the question is how can we remain in tune with the trends of our times? CEIBS’ answer remained unchanged in 2016: we do so through self-analysis and introspection, by reinventing ourselves, and making major breakthroughs.
If 20 years ago CEIBS’ internationalization was about opening up the country’s borders and importing cutting-edge global management knowledge, then 20 years later our internationalization is more about complementing the trend of Chinese enterprises’ globalization and providing intellectual support as they expand beyond China’s borders. This task is made easier by the fact that CEIBS has itself established a development model based on sustainable and profound globalization, with seamless interaction and synergy among our five teaching locations in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Zurich and Accra.
The “going out” of Chinese companies signifies the “going out” of Chinese management model, which in turn means the “going out” of Chinese management education. This is why in 2016, for the first time ever, CEIBS hosted a forum on the island of Taiwan and held a series of forums in key European cities including Munich, Zurich, London and Paris. We are convinced that a country’s economic development hinges on its innovative talent and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as an educational system that nurtures this talent and spirit. CEIBS has witnessed China’s rise and Chinese companies’ boom, and with the accomplishments of these enterprises the country is destined to make its way to the centre of the world stage.
CEIBS has itself had its fair share of achievements, all of which are rooted in the school’s teaching and research capabilities that have been forged over the years. In 2016, CEIBS remained the only business school in Asia that has all its MBA, EMBA and Executive Education programmes listed in the Financial Times’ Top 30. The faculty team was further strengthened with multiple renowned scholars joining CEIBS. Among them are former Chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Dr. Jiang Jianqing; former Director General of the Department of Statistics & Research at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Dr. Sheng Songcheng; former Chair Professor of Management at the School of Business and Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Dr. Jiing-Lih Farh; former tenured Associate Professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Wang Cong, etc. In addition, CEIBS again dominated the rankings of Most Cited Chinese Researchers in the category of Business, Management and Accounting. One third of the scholars on Elsevier’s Top 30 list in this category are from CEIBS. The school’s excellent academic team has boosted CEIBS’ reputation of being at the pinnacle of China’s management theories and a source of corporate innovation and reform.
At the same time, CEIBS has been seeking a “new launching pad” through which it can tap into and leverage today’s trends. Within the popular wave of “entrepreneurship and innovation” across the country, CEIBS has found its new mission – cultivating excellent entrepreneurs. In October 2015, in response to this new mission, CEIBS E-Platform was established. In 2016, CEIBS E-Platform focused its efforts on constructing an entrepreneurship ecosystem through a series of programmes, forums and competitions. In the coming years, CEIBS E-Platform will further integrate alumni and global resources to bridge the gap between education, entrepreneurs, mentors, incubators, and investors, with the goal to grow into a brand new intersection of global innovation.
CEIBS itself can also be seen as an “entrepreneur”, one who is blazing a trail, and going through his own share of adversities as he works towards perfection. In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit is part of CEIBS’ DNA and the school has always closely linked its own fate to China’s development and market demand. Only with this level of insight can one grasp today’s trends, precisely identify the opportunities available, and create value. A shared mission and a profound understanding of what we stand for have forged a community – about 19,000 alumni scattered across more than 80 countries – with a common destiny. In 2016, a total of 1,564 alumni recommended candidates to the various CEIBS programmes, 154 alumni were mentors for the MBA Mentoring Programme, over 30 alumni companies contributed cases to CEIBS Case Centre, and numerous alumni took part in the Dishuiquan Loan Project – a public-good initiative where alumni provide low-interest rate loans for students. In addition, CEIBS Alumni Association has set up 15 international alumni chapters in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa; in order to improve interaction among the international alumni based in China, CEIBS Alumni Association Shanghai Chapter (International) was inaugurated in November 2016; CEIBS Alumni Association Australia and New Zealand Chapter has been formed, and the Japan Chapter is in the preparatory phase. At reunions during the celebration of the school’s anniversary in November, our alumni who had gathered reflected on shared opportunities and challenges as they work toward the common goal of being responsible business leaders who play the leading role in global corporate governance.
Many of our alumni can also say, “The business school that educated me is younger than I am.” At 22 years old CEIBS is like a young man in his prime who is faced with a weighty mission. We still have a long way to go. So CEIBS must give full play to its unique advantage and foster more future business leaders who possess international vision and are adept in global governance; it must continuously advance and curate China’s management practices and business models, and contribute original management ideas to the world; it must maintain its focus on students and alumni, attach importance to social responsibility, and embody its values; it must provide intellectual support for China’s economic transformation and accelerate the economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.
As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” We will conquer the stars as well as the oceans. Let’s walk the talk, and let’s do it together. We shall dance every day to our hearts’ content in 2017, and write an even more splendid chapter of CEIBS’ history!
Prof. Li Mingjun Prof. Pedro Nueno