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12 countries, 3 continents – 1 big family in Zurich!

Volumes 5&6, 2015

By Charmaine N Clarke & Verena Kohleick

CEIBS alumni from a dozen countries that span three continents had a blast in Zurich on November 28 & 29 as they gathered for the school’s annual European Alumni Reunion. For many it was their first glimpse of CEIBS’ new campus in Europe, the Lorange Institute of Business (LIBZ) nestled on the shores of Lake Zurich.

Representing Asia, Africa & Europe, participants came from Austria, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. They were there to hear about CEIBS’ latest initiatives, catch up with old friends and benefit from discussions that can help them in their professional lives. 

An informal gathering for authentic Swiss fondue the Friday evening before the official events set the tone for the days that followed. The fun continued during the day on Saturday, with a chocolate truffles workshop organised by alumnus Matthias Heubi (see Tasty treats in Zurich). The official agenda began with a welcome dinner on November 8 where CEIBS Vice President & Dean Professor Ding Yuan played host as guests enjoyed the ambiance of the traditional Swiss guild house carefully selected as the venue.

Then it was down to serious business on November 29. After Dean Ding’s update on the school’s latest initiatives, Associate Professor of Strategy Chen Weiru gave a keynote speech on a topic dear to the hearts of many of the alumni gathered. He looked at business opportunities for CEIBS Alumni in Europe, within the context of the globalisation of Chinese companies.  

Prof Chen Weiru

Chinese investment giant Fosun has been making waves overseas, racking up a lot of experience on how to expand globally. Managing Director of Fosun Group IID, Pan Song (EMBA 2009), shared some of that expertise during a keynote speech on Doing Business in Europe. Another CEIBS alumni company that has a lot of experience in navigating the European business world is Jinsheng Group; so its Co-President Jesse Guan (EMBA 2008) gave an overview of their successful foray overseas. He was representing CEO Pan Xueping (EMBA 2008), who’s known for his generosity in buying the property that houses the LIBZ then leasing it to CEIBS at favourable rates. Pan is a very savvy businessman whose strategic moves have paid off for his firm. In 2010, Jinsheng Group entered into a 50/50 joint venture with German machine tool maker EMAG to create a new China-based factory. Pan pursued the deal as part of his dream to develop his manufacturing equipment company into a global leader in the industry. 

Pan Song (EMBA 2009), Fosun Group

Jesse Guan (EMBA 2008), Jinsheng Group

With 3 campuses (Shanghai, Beijing and Zurich) plus operations in 2 other location (Shenzhen and Accra) CEIBS is a multi-campus b-school. The new addition of a European base has intensified debate about CEIBS’ positioning and role in the continent, and what this will mean for the alumni network. These were among the issues covered in a discussion with panellists from Asia, Africa and Europe. Moderated by Executive Director, CEIBS Global Initiative Annette Nijs, there was input from Dean Ding Yuan; LIBZ CEO Dr Philipp Boksberger (who provided insight into the LIBZ’s operations); Investment Director of Clyde Blowers Capital IM LLP, Sharon Cheng (MBA 2006); CEO of Express Capital Ben Adu-Owusu (Africa EMBA); and Founder of movoya Johannes Muffler (MBA 2008, based in Germany). 

After closing remarks by CEIBS President Professor Pedro Nueno, the group enjoyed a leisurely evening – courtesy of movoya – exploring the LIBZ neighbourhood and touring the centre of town, keeping warm with lots of tea and fuelled by delicious chocolate.


Event highlights




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Tasty treats in Zurich

For the Swiss, fondue is grated or diced cheese that’s melted with wine, then used as a dip for bread. It’s served with potatoes and pickles. Be careful not to eat too much because it’s a very heavy meal. The Swiss like to get together in large groups to enjoy fondue with quite a bit of white wine.

A chocolate truffle has a delicious creamy filling inside. Alumni learned how make, fill and decorate truffles using the best quality Swiss chocolate.