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Friday, August 26, 2016

CEIBS 2016 European Alumni Reunion and Lorange Homecoming

August 25-26, 2016. Zurich - 'Going Global' was the theme for CEIBS’ third alumni reunion in Europe, which brought alumni together at CEIBS Zurich Campus over these two days for lectures, learning and sharing. While most attendees are based in Europe, two alumni from overseas also joined the festivities: Tega Tonukari from Nigeria and Rosella Lv from China.

The celebrations began with a Welcome Dinner at a restaurant on Lake Zurich, where attendees were welcomed by President Pedro Nueno. Alumni mixed and mingled over barbeque, renewing old friendships and starting new ones while taking in the beautiful scenery.

President Nueno got things started the next day by sharing some of the roots of CEIBS, the recent developments and the school’s future development plans. Alumni also heard from CEO and President of the Zurich Campus, Dr. Philipp Boksberger on developments there.

“Doing Business in Europe” was the topic of the keynote speech given by PwC Partner Stefan Schmid. He explained how globalization trends are shifting, with more Chinese companies expanding to Europe than European companies expanding to China. His keynote speech was followed by a lively panel discussion about challenges that companies face when going global. Most agreed that differences in culture, government regulations and human resources were among the most common issues. Many said that it was important to maintain the right balance between having local management while also building close ties between management and company headquarters. Alumni shared their own experiences with these issues during the open discussion portion of the session.

The importance of intercultural competencies was the focus of the second keynote speech, given by Dr. Christa Uehlinger, Cross Cultural Specialist, and President and Founder of Linkingpeople.ch. She explained how soft skills can make all the difference in a deal or in the integration of a new overseas branch, and said that intercultural competency is an individual skill that everyone can improve.

Reunion participants had the chance to apply their learning from the morning session during an afternoon workshop led by CEIBS Assistant Professor of Management Dr. Byron Lee. The alumni were organized into small groups to work on a case study. Professor Lee then brought everyone back together and analysed their results, pointing out how the exercise showed the ways in which intercultural differences can affect negotiation behaviour.  

It was an intense and fun day, rich in content, made even more enjoyable by pleasant summer weather which highlighted the beauty of the CEIBS Zurich Campus and its lakeside location. The reunion also gave the leadership of the CEIBS European Chapters and the alumni organization of the Lorange Institute of Business GAA the chance to meet in person for the first time to discuss ways to increase the interactions between the two groups. Everyone is already looking forward to next year’s reunion in Europe.

Verena Kohleick
Janine M. Coughlin