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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

CEIBS Says Thank You to Pedro Nueno, Welcomes Dipak Jain

September 11, 2018. Shanghai – In a bittersweet journey down memory lane, courtesy of photos that had the entire auditorium’s attention, Professor Pedro Nueno today began a new chapter as Honorary President (European) of CEIBS. And after his look back at the birth and growth of the 24-year-old school that has accomplished so much in such a short time, his successor CEIBS President (European) Dipak Jain laid out his vision for the journey ahead. The historic moment was shared not just by faculty and staff who filled the Petrochemical Auditorium at the school’s flagship Shanghai Campus but also those from CEIBS’ Beijing, Shenzhen, Zurich and Accra campuses who joined via video conference.

Pedro Nueno, Honorary President (European) of CEIBS

The ceremony, chaired by CEIBS Vice President & Dean Professor Ding Yuan, was also an opportunity for the school’s leadership, both the European and Chinese sides, to lead the rest of the CEIBS family in saying thank you to Prof. Nueno and welcome his successor, Prof. Jain.

Eric Cornuel, Director General & CEO of EFMD

In an often witty presentation that brimmed with sincerity, Eric Cornuel, Director General & CEO of EFMD, the European half of the joint venture that established CEIBS on November 8, 1994, spoke of Prof. Nueno’s long and impressive track record in modern management education in China. He mentioned his key role in the EFMD project CEMI, which was later reborn as an international business school in China, then led the audience in a round of applause for the man who has been synonymous with CEIBS since its launch. Cornuel also had warm words of welcome for incoming President (European) Dipak Jain, drawing a parallel between his experience across many continents and CEIBS’ global footprint before saying he was “absolutely certain Dipak would carry the flag of both the EU and Chinese sides.”

CEIBS President (European) Dipak Jain

In his address, CEIBS President Professor Li Mingjun spoke of Prof. Nueno’s more than 30-year choice (dating back to CEMI) to be a member of the CEIBS community. “The school is like his baby; he fed it, supported it, facilitated its growth and nurtured its achievements. He has always been a determined advocate, an active fundraiser, and a passionate ambassador of the school,” said President Li as members of the audience nodded in agreement. “His love for China, contribution to Shanghai and dedication to CEIBS have been well perceived and recognised.” Over the years, Prof. Nueno has been awarded with the Shanghai Magnolia Award, the Friendship Award from the Chinese government, and he was invited to meet with President Xi Jinping, representing foreign experts in China. President Li also spoke of the high regard for Prof. Nueno, the individual, the inspirational leader. “All his colleagues know him and like him – he’s kind, generous, insightful, and witty. Great leaders not only help people, they inspire them. That’s Pedro,” he said, before leading yet another round of applause.

President Li then turned to the task of welcoming President (European) Dipak Jain, mentioning his penchant for giving warm hugs to all he greets, as well as his impressive academic pedigree: a globally recognised marketing and innovation expert, an insightful opinion leader with experience as Dean of Kellogg and INSEAD. “We are now facing a dynamic new era when everything is uncertain. Challenges and opportunities co-exist in the management education sector. How we position ourselves, what our strategic initiatives are to cope with all those challenges, how we envision ourselves in the future… these are vital to our existence,” President Li told the audience. “Let us work together, the Chinese and the European side, the management team, faculty and staff members across time differences and geographical boundaries, let us work together as one. The Power of One has been the recipe of our success in the past and will continuously enlighten our way for the years to come.”

CEIBS President  Li Mingjun

A few minutes before President Li’s address, Prof. Nueno had painted a very convincing picture of just how much can be accomplished through teamwork. He had been inspired, he said, by his former Harvard Professor Frank Foltz who told him long ago that “creating business schools is creating bridges for peace” and the successful formula for running a b-school was a combination of humility and treating others with respect. With a series of photos, each revealing a bit of CEIBS’ and his own personal history, he took his audience with him from the days when the school began with “nothing” except a group of individuals who banded together as a team to create something they all believed in. There were photos of the very first meeting, in 1983, when the idea “of doing something in China” was born, photos of CEMI’s first MBA and EMBA graduation, the official birth of CEIBS, the milestone of opening the Shanghai Campus, the first CEIBS MBA and EMBA graduation, the launch and gradual growth of industry forums, developing a world-class faculty team, the decision to establish the Beijing Campus or lose the donated land, being awarded the Magnolia Award and meeting President Xi Jinping, to name a few. He also spoke of the things that set CEIBS apart from other business schools: its global footprint through its campuses worldwide, the wide range of business schools around the world with which it collaborates, its solid financial footing that has resulted from efficiency and control plus strong support from the corporate world, and its leadership team. “We have an excellent team,” Prof. Nueno said of the new core structure that includes Presidents Li and Jain along with Vice Presidents Ding Yuan and Zhang Weijiong. “Let’s look forward with ambition, be creative, and accomplish a lot. I will continue to support CEIBS but I think it’s the right moment to make way for somebody better than me.”

In his remarks, Prof. Nueno’s successor Prof. Jain laid out a clear roadmap of the current environment in business management education and his vison of how he will be part of the team that shapes CEIBS’ vision over the next 25 years. His focus, he explained, would be on CEIBS’ internationalisation within the context of its competitive advantage of providing an understanding of and entry into the Chinese market. He also thanked the rest of the school’s leadership for their confidence in his ability to contribute to its future growth. “Thank you all for this opportunity, and for including me as part of the family. I will do my best on every dimension. Let’s stay united and take CEIBS to greater heights,” he said.

The day ended with a cocktail party where members of staff and the faculty competed for the opportunity to take photos with Prof. Nueno after moving personal stories of how he had touched their lives. It was also an opportunity for even more accolades from the school leadership. “Prof. Nueno has shown remarkable spirit and devotion in contributing to business management education in China. We shall maintain a similar spirit to further CEIBS’ development and enhance China’s educational landscape,” said Honorary President Liu Ji. He added that he looked forward to seeing Prof. Nueno during the latter’s visits back to campus, and to showing him a bit more of China and Chinese culture. The cultural lesson began shortly after, with CEIBS President Li Mingjun presenting the school’s newest Honorary President – on behalf of all CEIBS staff – with a ruyi (a homophone in Chinese that means “as you wish”) symbolising the hope that all his wishes become reality in the future.

Humble as always, Prof. Nueno reminded those present that though the evening’s celebration was for him, all that had been accomplished so far was not just through his individual efforts, but the result of teamwork.

Charmaine N. Clarke