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Friday, November 17, 2017

Influential MNC Execs Discuss CEIBS’ Transformation in the New Era

~ 6th IAB Meeting

November 17, 2017. Shanghai – Chairmen and CEOs of prestigious enterprises from around the world today gathered for CEIBS’ 6th International Advisory Board Meeting, where they discussed the path of transformation for business management education in the current global economic context. The topic was explored in depth as they exchanged views on: ‘how to improve collaboration and communication between the school and companies’ and ‘how to cope with changes in the field of management education both at home and abroad.’ Essilor Chair in Accounting and Associate Dean Professor Xu Dingbo chaired the meeting, which was held at the school’s Shanghai Campus.

In welcoming participants to the meeting, CEIBS President Professor Li Mingjun noted that 2017 was the year that marked the initiation of CEIBS’ new Five-Year Plan. Guided by the Plan, the school has made significant progress throughout the year. However, it is also faced with a global environment where there are rapid changes taking place in the overall macro-economy as well as in vital areas such as science & technology and business. President Li told Board Members he was looking forward to their advice for CEIBS' next stage of development as he believes this would help the school roll out its Globalisation Strategy 2.0 and enhance its working relationship with the business world, while the school simultaneously works towards improving its teaching and research in order to meet business leaders’ and entrepreneurs’ needs for the latest management theories and practices.

CEIBS’ International Advisory Board consists of leaders of well-known global enterprises. It aims to capitalise on their wisdom as they advise on the school’s long-term growth. This year several new members who are accomplished and experienced in globalisation and corporate development were welcomed to the Board. Among them are: Chairman of Landsea Green Properties Co., Ltd Mr. Tian Ming; Chairman and President of Zhejiang DIAN Diagnostics Co., Ltd Mr. Chen Haibin; and Former Chairman and CEO of Sony Group Mr. Nobuyuki Idei who is currently Founder and CEO of Quantum Leaps Corp.

Meeting participants also included: -

  • Peter Lorange, CEIBS IAB Co-Chairman and Honorary President of Zurich Institute of Business Education (CEIBS Zurich Campus);
  • Cai Mingpo, Founder and Chairman of Cathay Capital Private Equity;
  • Michele Norsa, Member of the Board of Directors at Ermenegildo Zegna Group;
  • Ravi Kant, Former CEO of Tata Motors Limited;
  • Stan Shih, Founder of Acer Inc.;
  • Richard Thoman, Managing Partner of Corporate Perspectives and Former CEO of Xerox Corporation; and
  • Tang Xiuguo, President of Sany Group.

In addition to President Li Mingjun and Prof. Xu Dingbo, the IAB was also attended by CEIBS President (European) Professor Pedro Nueno, Vice President and Dean Professor Ding Yuan, CEO of Zurich Institute of Business Education (CEIBS Zurich Campus) Dr. Philipp Boksberger and other members of the school’s faculty and staff representatives.

During the meeting, President Nueno gave an update on operations at the Africa Campus as well as achievements made at the Zurich Campus to date. He also spoke about the two locations’ development goals of further pushing forward the school’s globalisation, strengthening its brand promotion and increasing engagement with more companies. Dean Ding Yuan then shared the progress the school has made in areas including accreditation, course development, rankings, faculty recruitment and research model innovation. He stressed that the school had enhanced integration of its campuses via course innovation and overseas academic promotional activities such as forums, making implementation of the school’s Globalisation Strategy 2.0 more efficient and agile, and also making it easier for all programme participants to capitalise on all the resources offered by the CEIBS platform.

As participants discussed how to improve collaboration and communication between the school and companies, Mr. Tian Ming made the point that, in his role as a devoted alumnus, he has worked tirelessly to help CEIBS with student enrolment, provide case studies and make locations available as practice bases for students. He has also conducted an independent third-party architectural environmental assessment of CEIBS’ new Shenzhen location. Mr. Tian is also President of the CEIBS Alumni Association Council that, under his leadership, has made considerable progress in the areas of alumni service, organisational construction, business operations and corporate social responsibility, etc.

In their contributions to the discussion, Professors Xu Dingbo and Ding Yuan both expressed confidence in CEIBS’ ability to be innovative in its teaching and research, with the help of resources provided by entrepreneurs and the academic world, and the school’s ability to organise overseas study tours for Chinese entrepreneurs who are looking for answers to new questions that have arisen from a rapidly changing world. Both men hope to refine existing theories by approaching them from a totally new perspective, so as to resolve all the problems a company may run into during its growth. CEIBS Professor of Economics and Finance and Associate Dean Xu Bin noted that China has entered a new era of transformation and CEIBS should make the best use of its faculty assets and resources beyond the school to enhance the management knowledge accumulated over the years. CEIBS’ transformation from a knowledge disseminator to a knowledge creator is in line with the transformation of China in the new economic era, he noted.

According to Dr. Richard Thoman, all the major markets are now experiencing changes. Many business schools and institutions of higher education out of China are reforming their traditional MBA programmes. In this context, he suggested CEIBS try to focus courses and programmes on certain specific professional fields. In response to Dr. Thoman, Professors Ding and Nueno said the school had taken note of new developments in the market, for example the fact that the full-time MBA programme was no longer at peak demand. Steps taken to address this new scenario, they explained, including developing new industry-specific offerings such as the Finance MBA Programme.

While exploring ‘how to cope with changes in the field of management education both at home and abroad’ the discussion turned to the impact of digitalisation. Dr. Peter Lorange suggested that the school explore wider use of the increasingly popular blended learning approach, which allows for accessing basic knowledge online and exploring profound topics inside the classroom. This, he said, would utilise CEIBS’ students’ penchant for embracing technology and meet their desire for work-study balance. For his part, Mr. Ravi Kant suggested that the school increase collaboration with other educational institutions in multiple subjects and fields. He also pointed out that, in facing the rapid changes brought about by a great deal of disruptive innovation, the school must improve its reaction speed so that companies with which it collaborates closely can be proactive. Other Board Members also joined the conversation with helpful suggestions for the development of management education in the new era.

President Li noted that, in light of a significant increase in the number of entrepreneurs among prospective students, the school had taken many innovative measures, including in the composition of its curriculum. For example, it has set up many interdisciplinary elective courses related to a wide range of subjects including leadership, strategy, marketing and accounting. These courses, together with faculty members’ instructions, have tapped entrepreneurs’ potential in business leadership and continuously emphasise the school’s goal of “cultivating socially responsible business leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit”.

In his closing address, President Nueno summed up the meeting’s major points, noting that CEIBS would strengthen its ties with the International Advisory Board and better capitalise on resources provided by members in order to successfully cope with a rapidly changing landscape. The school will continue to promote the values of entrepreneurial spirit and social responsibility among students and alumni. Meanwhile, along with its faculty, it should also work to keep pace with the times, conducting timely theoretical and practical research and helping entrepreneurs solve the new and real problems they have during companies’ growth and development. He also noted that the school would focus more on China in the future, cultivating leaders with global vision for Chinese and foreign companies doing business in the Chinese market. 

Angela Chen
Charmaine N. Clarke
June Zhu (freelance)