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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Putting the “Global” into GEMBA: When Zurich Meets Shanghai

September 26, 2017. Shanghai - CEIBS Shanghai campus welcomed the Global EMBA Zurich cohort this month for their two-week China module. The 29 students are from very different cultures and industries across Asia, Africa, and Europe. They began their study journey in September 2016, at the same time as the CEIBS Global EMBA Shanghai cohort. The two cohorts use the same course structure and teaching resources, and will merge for the electives during the second half of the programme. They not only benefit from a wide range of teaching resources, but also the global alumni network.

Read on to hear what a few of the GEMBA Zurich students have to say about their experience with the programme thus far.

“This is a cohort with cultures from three different continents. After a year of studies, we can feel a transformation from quantitative to long-term qualitative changes happening among us. That we are different ages and have different educational backgrounds actually helps us to learn from each other,” said Dayong Liu, Managing Director of TFC International Logistics. Besides the Leadership and the Operations Management modules run by Adjunct Professor of Management Jack Denfeld Wood and Associate Dean and Professor of Operations Management Nikos Tsikriktsis respectively, Liu was also impressed by the Africa module. “During our time there, we realised the historical reasons behind West Africa’s current economic situation. We learn not only across different regions, but also through history records. This is a valuable addition to our skillset.”

Uju Uzo-Ojinnaka, a mother of four, is the Class President of the 2016 Zurich track. When she applied to the Global EMBA Programme she was the Managing Director of an African importer of Chinese construction materials. But this April, inspired by a contact acquired through the programme, she opened her own company – Traders of Africa, a pan-African e-commerce marketplace featuring products made in Africa. “Traders of Africa was born during the entrepreneurship module I took in April. It was used as the project for my group, and it later became a real-life project. The company hired its first employee in June, and our platform launched in September.” Uju said that the Global EMBA has a constant impact on her business. During her studies, she often comes up with inspiring new ideas, which she immediately emails to her team back in Africa to try to put them into practice.

Robert Hartmann lived in China for 10 years. In his last China position he led healthcare business development for the China unit of DKSH, a Swiss market expansion services company. Now he is responsible for the company’s Swiss technology business unit. Having moved back to his native Switzerland, Robert still wants to stay connected with the Chinese market. “Through the Global EMBA Zurich track, I am able to access a network of people who have been active in China, as well as people who are still in China, and people who want to be active in China,” he said. This network is valuable inside and outside the classroom. Hartmann still recalls last year’s opening module, and said it pushed every participant to critically evaluate themselves and be challenged by coaches as well as peers.

Kwesi Okyere is the Business Development Manager of Comptran Engineering & Planning Associates, a Ghanian consulting company. He has always wanted to earn an MBA, to build both his knowledge and skills as well as broadening his business network. Okyere said the Global EMBA Programme has greatly improved his analytical and problem-solving skills. “It is one thing to say ‘analyse the market’, but what does that actually mean? The Global EMBA has provided me with the framework to do the analysis properly. I was impressed with Professor of Economics Bala Ramasamy’s Economic Analysis module, Professor of Management Practice in Accounting Mathew Tsamenyi’s Financial Reporting module, and Prof. Nikos Tsikriktsis’ Operations Management module, which effectively broke down the content and applied it to a real world context.” Okyere has been looking forward to the China module. In his opinion, though China is still a developing country, it has made astonishing progress. He sees China’s growth and development as a good inspiration for Africa.

This year’s China module also saw the 2016 Zurich cohort join together with the Shanghai cohort for the Strategic Simulation course with Associate Professor of Management Daniel Han Ming Chng and Professor of Management Tae-Yeol Kim. There were also courses on Marketing Management and Organisational Behaviour, as well as days devoted to the study of the Chinese economy. Three renowned CEIBS faculty members, Professor of Economics and Finance Xu Bin, Professor of Economics Zhu Tian, and Professor of Economics Wu Ho-Mo analysed the Chinese economy from different perspectives, adding China Depth to this global programme.

Besides the intensive studies, the cohort also enjoyed a colourful social life. There have been events with guest speakers, a fabric market visit, and social events. The Zurich and Shanghai cohorts also jointly celebrated their one-year study anniversary with an event where they commemorated their achievements and shared their future plans. The two cohorts will have the opportunity to meet up again during the programme’s later elective modules, which will surely create more inspiring moments.

Ruru Tang
Janine Coughlin