30 Years & Beyond: CEIBS Hosts 30th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Ceremony
November 18, 2023. Shanghai – Founded in 1994 as a joint venture between the Chinese government and the European Union, over the past 29 years CEIBS has grown into one of the top business schools in Asia and the world. The school has also become an indispensable bridge between China, Europe, and the world, earning praise from leaders of both China and the European Union as a “cradle of excellent executives” and “a role model of EU-China cooperation.”
In 2024, CEIBS will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding, offering a chance to look back on three decades of success and forward toward the future. On November 18, 2023, the school held a 30th Anniversary Celebration Kick-Off Ceremony at its Shanghai campus, welcoming students, alumni, staff, and other distinguished members of the CEIBS community to join in the celebrations. CEIBS staff from across three continents and campuses in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Zurich, and Accra joined in-person and online to witness the launch ceremony.
The event opened with a keynote speech from CEIBS President Wang Hong, entitled A Three Decade Dream and a New Journey.
President Wang highlighted that for international business schools like CEIBS, just as for individuals, reaching 30 years of age represents an important milestone in the pursuit of excellence, self-realisation, and learning, explaining the anniversary’s theme of “30 Years and Beyond”.
Looking back to the time of CEIBS’ founding, she described the school's story as one of pioneers and pathfinders working diligently, with an international vision, the courage to innovate, and the desire to nurture modern management education in China. President Wang paid tribute to every President and faculty member that has contributed their wisdom and work to the development of the school over the years, and expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all the CEIBS alumni that have invested themselves in the development of the school.
Next, she shared her insights on strategies for the future development of CEIBS, discussing how to build a new benchmark for management education and highlighting the school’s progress toward achieving its eight strategic objectives: reinforcing CEIBS’ top-tier position, expanding CEIBS’ world-class faculty, creating signature research areas, diversifying CEIBS’ programme portfolio, bridging China and Europe, serving regional development strategies, exemplifying ESG education, and empowering CEIBS alumni. President Wang went on to note the ways in which CEIBS is progressing, whether through its outstanding faculty with previous experience at other top international business schools, the strength and dedication of the school’s ever-growing alumni network, or the incorporation of ESG into all elements of CEIBS teaching and the recent release of the CEIBS Carbon Disclosure Report. She also emphasised the continuing success of the CEIBS Europe Forum Series, the school faculty’s continued generation of world-class research and management knowledge, and the growing prominence of CEIBS as a top think-tank.
President Wang further pointed out that management education is facing unprecedented challenges amidst a complex global landscape. In change, however, there lies opportunity, and as such the development of CEIBS should be actively aligned with the trends of global economic development as well as new rounds of scientific and technological revolution and industrial change.
President Wang’s speech was followed by a keynote speech from CEIBS President (European) Dominique Turpin entitled Global Outreach: Steering the Future.
He began his speech by recounting a lesser-known aspect of CEIBS’ history, describing how, in 1992, the head of the European Commission Jacques Delors came to China with a long list of potential collaborative projects, one of which was to cooperate with China in training a new class of exceptional business leaders in the country, which drew an enthusiastic response from Deng Xiaoping himself. Working at a European business school at the time, President Turpin witnessed this proposal come to fruition firsthand, recounting how he began serving on the CEIBS Advisory Board a few years later.
Noting that CEIBS is now “well respected in every part of the world, whether the Americas, Asia, or Europe,” he went on to say that he believed the continuing internationalisation of the school is vital as it looks toward the future. Going forward, CEIBS must aim to have “an impact for the next 30 years”, he continued. “The school has demonstrated that it can make an impact, from its talented faculty to the successful alumni that we have produced and the research that we continue to generate”.
Finally, President Turpin outlined the importance of his own concept of “IMPACT”: I for Innovative Ideas, M for Mutual Understanding, P for Pragmatism, A for Action, C for Constructive Communication, and T for Trust, asserting that each one of these values will be vital to the school achieving as much development in the coming 30 years as it has in the previous three decades.
Professor of Economics, Associate Dean, and Director of the EMBA Programme at CEIBS Zhu Tian then also delivered a keynote speech. Entitled My Story with CEIBS, the address outlined not only his history with the school, but also his deep personal connection to the institution and his fellow faculty members.
"In my personal career, the most important decision I’ve ever made was the decision to join CEIBS in 2005," he said. "On 28 September 2004, I wrote an email to Vice-President Zhang Weijiong, and received a reply from him just half an hour later telling me that CEIBS was indeed hiring, and that he encouraged me to come and have a look."
When Professor Zhu Tian ultimately joined CEIBS in 2005, he noted, he was following in the footsteps of friends and distinguished academics like Professor Xin Rong, Professor Xu Dingbo, Professor Zhou Dongsheng, and Professor Zhang Yimin. Over the past 18 years, he has achieved a great deal in both teaching and research, and during that time his love of CEIBS has only grown.
"CEIBS has achieved what it has in less than 30 years thanks to its first-rate faculty, outstanding students and alumni, excellent administrative team, and dedicated and selfless Presidents," Professor Zhu Tian said. In his view, he said, the most important contribution of good leadership is to establish and maintain a positive culture. “CEIBS' motto is "Conscientiousness, Innovation, and Excellence", and it is our adherence to these values that attracts outstanding professors, students, and staff to CEIBS.”
Next, Li Wen, CEIBS alumni and CEO of China Universal Asset Management, delivered a keynote speech entitled Growing with CEIBS: Go Beyond Your Dreams.
"My time studying at CEIBS was wonderful,” he said. “Its impact on me was far-reaching. CEIBS gave me the vision to open up and also gave me a sense of purpose, inspiring me to work passionately, develop an innovative spirit, and dedicate myself to the success of China Universal Asset Management.
Drawing on his unique experiences participating in the Gobi Desert Challenge with other CEIBS alumni, he described what he believes sets the CEIBS community apart. "In the past 11 years, I have walked on the Gobi more than 20 times, and witnessed time and again the spirit of tenacity, unity, cooperation, and dedication of the CEIBS community,” he said. “CEIBS is not only the champion of the Gobi Challenge, but also always the most respected team on the Gobi." Mr. Li went on to assert that these attributes are among the reasons that CEIBS is able to cultivate exceptional entrepreneurs and promote social progress.
The keynote speeches were followed by a dramatic Kick-Off Ceremony featuring CEIBS President Wang Hong, CEIBS President (European) Dominique Turpin, Former CEIBS President Liu Ji, Former CEIBS President Zhu Xiaoming, Former CEIBS President Li Mingjun, Dean Frank Bournois, Co-Dean Zhang Weijiong, Secretary Ma Lei, Professor Wang Gao, Professor Shameen Prashantham, and CEIBS alumni Li Wen and Wang Chaofeng.
The ceremony was hosted by Professor Zhang Weijiong, CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean. During the event, Professor Zhang spoke about his own story at CEIBS and how, having joined the school in 1997, he had witnessed and participated in its impressive development. Looking back at the challenges that CEIBS had successfully overcome, from faculty development to curriculum building and from campus construction to operation management, filled him with pride, he said.
The 30th Anniversary Kick-Off Ceremony then concluded with a captivating performance by the CEIBS Alumni Choir, performing an original song composed especially for the occasion entitled Where Dreams Set Sail.
The Kick-Off Ceremony was followed by the first event of the CEIBS 30th Anniversary Celebration Series, the CEIBS Outlook Series. Entitled Towards the Age of Nuclear Fusion Energy, the event featured an opening speech from President Wang Hong followed by a lecture from Doctor Zhang Jie, Chairman of the Chinese Physical Society, former President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Director of the Tsung-Dao Lee Institute. The event wrapped up with a lively interactive dialogue between President Wang and Dr. Zhang, along with an audience Q&A.