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Friday, June 21, 2019

Exploring the Future of Management Education: EMBA Council Asia Regional Conference Hosted at CEIBS

June 20-21, 2019. Shanghai – The EMBA Council Asia Regional Conference was hosted on CEIBS Shanghai Campus on June 20 and 21. The conference brought together more than 70 guests, including deans and programme directors, from business schools offering more than 30 EMBA programmes across Asia, as well as Executive Director of EMBA Council Michael Desiderio. Participants hailed from numerous well-known business schools in Asia, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, INSEAD and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

In his welcome address, CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean Professor Zhang Weijiong pointed out that as most EMBA students have plenty of hands-on experience, business schools often face three major challenges in running EMBA programmes: first, what to teach in classes and which cases to use; second, how to set strict demands for students to manage the programme more effectively; third, how to build strong faculty teams.

In his keynote speech, “Eternal Value of Management Education”, CEIBS President (European) Professor Dipak Jain noted that in the era of entrepreneurs, EMBA students are focused more on business ethics, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and their own social impact. As more and more innovative modes emerge, Prof. Jain predicted that future trends in EMBA programmes will be redefined – such as offering professional degree programmes, dual/joint-degree programmes, overseas modules, corporate degree programmes, regional programmes, O2O programmes, short-term degree programmes, global diversified programmes, programmes that target younger students and DBA programmes.

During a group discussion on EMBA programme design, Dr. Tan Joo Seng, EMBA Academic Director of Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, proposed that in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, more courses like “digital transformation”, “digital marketing”, and “agile leadership” should be added to EMBA curriculums to meet related needs. To this end, he added, Nanyang Business School is now experimenting with new teaching methods and stepping up faculty training so they can better adapt to an upgraded curriculum system. Dr. Raymond Xu, Assistant Director of CEIBS Case Center, stated that he believes that in the context of China’s robust economic growth, western case studies will be in no position to help Chinese enterprises tackle the new problems they are facing. CEIBS professors prepare about 100 cases a year to satisfy EMBA students’ growing demand for China-focused cases and 59% of case studies used in teaching are developed by CEIBS, while the use of Harvard cases has dropped to 22%.

On June 21, Michael Desiderio gave a keynote speech titled “Global EMBA Programmes: Latest Findings, Framework and Future”, in which he argued that the digital age has transformed business education, bringing about new opportunities.

Afterwards, guests engaged in a roundtable discussion on talent strategy, programme operations management, marketing and admissions and joint EMBA programmes.

CEIBS Professor of Management Jean Lee, Dow Chemical China HR Director Jenny Ni, and Aliyun Research Institute President Tian Feng held a roundtable discussion on “Talent Strategy in an Ever-changing Economic Landscape”. During the session, Prof. Lee explained that VUCA is an acronym for “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity”. In the midst of geopolitical changes and technological advancement, industries across the world are facing increasingly formidable challenges. What new traits and capabilities should business leaders and executives develop? What role should business schools play in taking on these challenges? Jenny Ni said she believes that digital management, in full swing, has brought about tremendous change in our patterns of thinking and management, and the scenarios we are facing. Considering the increasingly blurry organisational boundaries and value propositions held by the new generation of employees, she said, companies should manage and cultivate talent from a fresh perspective. Tian Feng then emphasised that employees’ abilities to innovate and integrate resources are crucial to running an ecosystem that encompasses 20 million partners and 1 billion consumers around the world. To bring in talent, funds and resources from the outside, companies must beef up internal management and redefine organisational boundaries.

A roundtable discussion on “Programme Operations” was then moderated by Pei Ming, Marketing Manager of CEIBS EMBA Programme, and attended by Wendy Lee, Degree Programme Director at the National University of Singapore Business School; Janet Quek, EMBA Programme Director at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Hong Kong Campus; and Isa Luo, Deputy Director of CEIBS Global EMBA Programme. According to Wendy Lee, NYU’s EMBA Programme is based on a service-oriented ecosystem, where all processes – from application to enrolment – are carefully designed to bring students a better experience. Janet Quek pointed out that the Booth School of Business Hong Kong Campus can marshal all resources from the campus in Chicago to meet the needs of local EMBA students. Isa Luo noted that CEIBS has offered its alumni access to a lifelong learning platform, on which alumni programmes, industry forums and alumni activities have deepened their ties with students. The closed-loop operations system has brought CEIBS a global network of excellent alumni.

The roundtable discussion on “Marketing and Admissions” was moderated by Marcel Austin-Martin, Senior Marketing & Admissions Manager of CEIBS GEMBA Programme, and attended by Christine Manipur, Senior Marketing Manager of INSEAD Degree Programmes; Michelle Zhu, Deputy Director of CEIBS Finance MBA Programme; and Jodie Zhu, East Asia Regional Director at Duke University Fuqua School of Business. Christine Manipur emphasised during the discussion that as pervasive ads make people’s attention span shorter and shorter, content marketing should be a key strategy. INSEAD follows five steps to develop a content marketing strategy for its EMBA programme, namely, understanding the target audience, creating customer profiles, developing different content on each stage, building content centres, and releasing the content and evaluating the results. Michelle Zhu agreed that content distribution matters a great deal. Given WeChat’s prominent position among China’s business and personal applications, business schools should make the most of this powerful tool to deliver content to the public to give their own brand more visibility. With a representative office in Shanghai, Duke University Fuqua School of Business has set up an advisory board that oversees its development in China, according to Jodie Zhu.

The roundtable discussion on “Joint EMBA Programmes” was moderated by Zhao Ying, Editor-in-Chief of The China MBA Review, and attended by Shao Bo, Director of Fudan-Washington University EMBA Programme; Tian Bei, Deputy Director of Joint Programmes of Shanghai National Accounting Institute; and David Liu, Executive Director of the China Representative Office of Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. According to Shao Bo, Fudan-Washington University EMBA Programme has stayed competitive in the international market thanks to years of efforts to gear the curriculums toward the market demand. Tian Bei noted that in response to the policy change, Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAC) has ramped up content and brand marketing to make more people know about SNAC-W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University EMBA Programme. David Liu stated that joint EMBA programmes, which remain a niche market, have produced a profound influence on the business education landscape.

The EMBA Council Asia Regional Conference ended with a closing address by Michael Desiderio.


Profile of EMBA Council

Founded in 1987, the EMBA Council is a global spin-off of AACSB and is a non-profit organisation whose members include 200 schools and universities that offer more than 300 EMBA programmes in more than 30 countries. Presently, the EMBA Council exerts a profound influence on EMBA education.

Rachel Wang
Michael D. Thede