GEMBAs "Recharge" at Their Five-Year Reunion

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In June, a group of dynamic business leaders travelled to Hangzhou for a special "summit". For such a high-octane crowd, the usual back-and-forth business negotiations were conspicuous by their absence. Instead, this meeting took place in a convivial atmosphere of sharing and friendship - for it was a class reunion! For this gathering, members of the 2014 Class of the Global EMBA programme traveled from across the globe to celebrate the shared learning journey that they embarked on five years ago. The event offered a chance for them to take a moment out of their busy schedules and rekindle the spirit of campus life, celebrate their achievements, contemplate challenges, and turn to the future.

Group photo of the 2014 CEIBS GEMBA class's five-year reunion


Five years ago, 59 executives from different countries and regions went back to school to bolster their business skills. Ranging from diverse professional backgrounds, this disparate group was united under the "GEMBA" banner, beginning a camaraderie that will last a lifetime.

Remembering their opening module- Sept 2014 


After graduating from CEIBS, these business leaders continued to pursue their careers, applying the knowledge and skills acquired on the programme towards their work. Some stayed in the same sector, while others broke into new fields to explore new possibilities. At the reunion in Hangzhou, these GEMBAs chatted about their changes in the past five years, as well as their own personal development and challenges.


2019 reunion in Hangzhou after five years


Bei Zhang, a member of the 2008 Class of CEIBS' Chinese EMBA, was also invited to attend. Founder of Alor Valley and Blossom Hill hotel resorts, Zhang spoke of her own entrepreneurial story, focusing on the challenges along the way. To conclude, she used four phrases to sum up the essential qualities of an entrepreneur, "tap potential, think big, act boldly, and stay curious".


As well as rekindling old friendships, the reunion was also about learning and personal development. GEMBAs drew on Robert Kegan's theory of adult development and orders of mind to explore how to raise their self-awareness and embrace their careers and lives in the future.


At the reunion, three representatives from the 2014 CEIBS Global EMBA Class also shared their own thoughts and insights from the past five years.


Yuntao Zhao

General Manager

Arkema Hebei Casda Biomaterials Co. Ltd.

CEIBS Global EMBA 2014


"I was fortunate to choose CEIBS - it helped me to turn the tables."

Strengthening environmental protection and implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) are two key challenges faced by the chemical industry. As the General Manager of a chemical firm, Yuntao Zhao spends much of his time dealing with inspections and checks, leaving less time for business development. In spite of this, he has succeeded in growing the company and turning it around, just as he was taught on the CEIBS programme.

"The topic of today's reunion is 'Inspire THE NEXT'. Before forging ahead towards the next stage in life, I felt that I needed more motivation." said Zhao. He added, "I've always felt incredibly lucky to have had the chance to study at CEIBS, and I was fortunate to make the right choice. Here, I got to know a class full of close friends that helped me to broaden my horizons, and I gained access to a platform that will support me throughout my life. Thank you, CEIBS!"


Kevin Chen

Chairman & General Manager

SwiftCarbon (Xiamen) Sports Technology Co. Ltd.

CEIBS Global EMBA 2014


"CEIBS helped to bring like-minded people together."

"After graduation, I encountered a number of challenges. Using the knowledge I gained at CEIBS, I steered the company's development strategy from diversification to specialization. I even sold my bicycle business to ease our cash flow pressures," said Kevin Chen. However, the business landscape is always evolving: trade frictions between China and the US reduced SwiftCarbon's revenue from cases and bags by 30 - 40%. Initially, this spelled "disaster" for Chen, until he discovered the plight of his competitors, who had sustained losses of 50% or more. "CEIBS connected me with like-minded people, and provided us with a platform for exchange. That's the main thing I've taken away from CEIBS. The school taught us to put problems in perspective and to try to be at ease."


Clara Cao

Global Operation Finance Director

Medical Business Unit, TE Connectivity Co. Ltd.

CEIBS Global EMBA 2014


"Learning to box helped to unlock broader job opportunities."

The past three years have been the busiest in Clara Cao's life. After graduating from CEIBS, she joined a CFO scheme that involved considerable global travel. Although she relished the chance to meet new people and learn new things, the job also tired her out.

"I needed a change, so I signed up for boxing classes. I'd never really thought that boxing was for me, but just a few days ago, my coach commended me on my progress." Cao managed to land two job offers through her hobby: one from a consulting firm and another from a company based in Ireland. She decided to move to Ireland with her family to start a new chapter in her life.

"I'd like to welcome all members of the 2014 Global EMBA Class to Ireland for our six-year reunion!" joked Cao.


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