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Friday, May 29, 2020

Positives dominate negatives for CEIBS amidst virus recovery

May 29, 2020. Shanghai – CEIBS President (European) Dipak Jain was today joined by more than 400 CEIBS staff and faculty for the school’s second virtual Staff Town Hall Meeting of 2020 on the topic of Preparing for the Challenges Ahead: Global Experience and Practice.

During the meeting, Prof. Jain addressed the impact of the current COVID-19 outbreak and spoke about his personal experiences as a business school leader in responding to past crises, including 9/11 in 2001, the 2003 SARS outbreak, 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis.

Uncertainty is inevitable, worrying is optional

Prof. Jain began by noting that each of us has experienced the coronavirus outbreak first hand and that it is a problem which has affected all of us. Nevertheless, he said that it is a challenge we are all capable of dealing with.

“No challenge ahead of you is greater than the force behind you,” he said.

Furthermore, when crises like this happen, he stated, the responsibility of people in leadership is to anticipate what the consequences of the event will be.

“The situation is out of our control, but what is under our control is how we respond to it. Uncertainty is inevitable. Worry is optional,” Prof. Jain said.

Eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground

In difficult times, Prof. Jain stated, it is necessary for business schools to call on the co-operation of all parties – faculty, staff, students and alumni – and stay rooted in the things that need to get done.

“In times of crisis, you should have your eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground. We need to be in touch with reality,” he said.

He added further that while the virus outbreak represents a major challenge for many activities, it is important to be persistent and continue moving ahead.

“Don’t give up what you’re planning to do. You may not be able to do it in full, but don’t give it up. Failure is giving up,” Prof. Jain said.

Human lives and safety — the highest priority

Prof. Jain said that the present crisis serves as a chance to think about what is most important, plan for the future and then take the proper actions.

“Human lives and safety should be the highest priority. Financial problems can be solved, programmes can be extended, graduations can be postponed, but nothing is more important that human lives and safety,” he said.

At the same time, Prof. Jain noted the importance of keeping the communication channels active, connecting with others and not hesitating to ask for help.

“In difficult times, the best thing to do is become close. Difficulties come our way to make us better, not bitter. So let’s not lose touch with the future,” he said.

Build closer connections with communities

Prof. Jain was also joined by CEIBS Vice President and Dean Ding Yuan and Vice President and Co-Dean Zhang Weijiong for the Q&A portion of the session.

Responding to a question from the audience, Prof. Jain stated that in weathering the storm of the outbreak, he has been amazed by how alumni and other members of the community have rallied to support the school.

“Every opportunity and crisis go together, so if you ask me, the positives dominate the negatives. We have built new connections. People we have lost over the years have been re-connected. And, the biggest point I want to make is that people have come together and become closer to the school,” Prof. Jain said.

Michael Thede
Cameron Wilson