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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Building an Industry-focused Lifelong Learning Community

August 29, 2020. Shanghai – The CEIBS Global EMBA Healthcare Club (CGEHC) today wrapped up its first offline event.


Founded in April of this year, the CGEHC is a student organisation independently operated by CEIBS Global EMBA (GEMBA) alumni. As a part of the GEMBA alumni community, the CGEHC is committed to building a lifelong learning and sharing platform to enable its members to stay on top of cutting-edge theories and practices in the healthcare industry, communicate effectively with each other and explore industry-specific issues.

Core team members of the CEIBS Global EMBA Healthcare Club


Given the limitations on public gatherings this year, the CGEHC initially relied heavily on online channels for previous events and communications. Since its inception, several online sharing sessions have been held to enhance communication and sharing amongst alumni in the industry. Thanks to the efforts of the core team members and strong support from the CEIBS Global EMBA Office, the CGEHC finally made its highly anticipated offline debut on August 29.



According to a pre-event survey, as a result of the pandemic, digital strategy has become the most prominent topic of concern for alumni working in the healthcare industry. As such, the CGEHC’s first offline session focused on digitalisation attempts in key healthcare areas. Several alumni who have successful digitalisation experience shared their insights. Shanghai Pharmaceutical (“SHAPHAR”) acted as the venue sponsor for the event, and the company’s Vice General Manager Ren Gang, a CEIBS alumnus, personally welcomed over 40 CGEHC members onsite. He praised the club’s dedication to “shared learning and common progress.”


CEIBS Global EMBA Programme Director Isa Luo also addressed the event. Along the way, she highlighted her team’s unremitting commitment to building a lifelong learning and sharing community for CEIBS GEMBA alumni.


“Since the unveiling of its first international EMBA class in 1995, CEIBS has graduated more than 2,200 GEMBA students working in many different industries. It is of great significance to help alumni forge stronger bonds in a specific industry. This not only echoes the needs of our alumni, but also gets us closer to our goal of building a lifelong learning community. The successful kick-off of the CGEHC will bring new vigour to our GEMBA community. More industry clubs are expected to be established to make our community a thriving place for learning,” she said.



Vice President of Digital and Commercial Innovation at AstraZeneca China and Global EMBA 2004 alumni Xu Jing then delivered the first keynote speech, sharing her company’s industry-renowned innovation initiatives and discussing why AstraZeneca enjoys a strong reputation in business innovation and digital transformation.



According to Xu Jing, in the past, the pharmaceutical industry used to focus on products, while innovation now comes from the in-depth analysis of holistic disease management solutions, taking into account the needs of all stakeholders involved in the process. Working closely with government, industry, academia, researchers and hospitals, AstraZeneca has created a co-innovation model to deliver a holistic disease management solution based on patients’ pain points.


“Traditional business models are being challenged by the changing needs of patients. External changes often trigger internal innovations,” she emphasised. “AstraZeneca is dedicated to establishing patient-centric innovation solutions, covering all of AZ’s therapy areas.”


She further discussed how AstraZeneca uses a “0-1-10-100” approach to catalyse innovation from scratch. Starting from a small idea, Phase 0-1 is about coming up with a whole-process solution that benefits patients the most through the evaluation of technology and medical science. Phase 1-10 focuses on piloting new solutions in hospitals to explore a sustainable co-operation model from all stakeholders. In Phase 10-100, projects are replicated and implemented on a large scale (e.g. an all-in-one hospital or even all-in-city/province model). In this process, her team follows the philosophy of taking small but fast steps, constant trial and error and making incremental improvements.


After sharing her personal experience in leading her team to make innovations, Ms. Xu continued the conversation with questions from alumni, including how to discover and cultivate a shared mind-set in the process of innovation, draw and inspire support from different sections across the organisation – especially operating departments – and how to try and fail in the journey. Re-inventing oneself in the innovation process and the emerging challenges were discussed as well. These discussions provided a rewarding experience for participants.



Next, Hou Yi (Global EMBA 2017), Associate Director of Digital Solutions and Service at Eli Lilly, shared her personal experience in digital innovation and transformation in the pharmaceutical industry. According to her, the digital transformation journey evolves along three stages:

Automating offline processes to improve operational efficiency and cost-cutting;
Leveraging different channels to improve the experience of doctors and patients; and,
Exploring emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data for new business models and unlocking new sources of profit growth.


Digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry has been profoundly influenced this year by the ‘black swan’ event of COVID-19, as well as national medical reform initiatives such as the Volume-based Procurement (VBP) policy. Digital innovation cannot be achieved overnight, however. Instead, it requires steady effort to gain a deeper understanding of business models and pain points. In practice, digital innovation in the management of chronic diseases is maturing, with end-to-end, patient-centric solutions covering early disease screening, treatment and adherence management.



Susanna Yang (Global EMBA 2016), Director of Strategic Partnering & Innovation at Roche, then shared her views on how her company has worked towards the goal of “personalised medicine”, through  developing strategies to drive digital transformation and through forging strategic collaboration with the right partners. She emphasised the importance of managing all stages along the patient journey, including mass education, disease diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. In this way, a disease management ecosystem can be established with objective criteria and standardised procedures in place for disease diagnosis and treatment. All these efforts will pave the way for the actualization of “personalised medicine”.


Furthermore, she said, AI technology makes it possible to monitor and manage the whole patient journey at all times and places in the disease management ecosystem. Different therapies can thus be applied to patients with the same disease based on consistent, objective diagnosis and treatment standards.


Additionally, the disease management ecosystem involves multiple stakeholders, including doctors, patients’ families, companies, policy makers, payers, medical institutions, AI technology providers driving the medical technology development, internet-based medical companies disrupting supply-demand paradigms, as well as big data companies focusing on medical data. The key to success is to identify and develop long-term strategic partners for mutual support and win-win results.


Digital transformation in healthcare has just gotten off the ground and requires more incubation and collaboration before reaching its full bloom. Once the transformation is completed, however, a truly personalised and efficient medical system will be established.



During the final panel discussion, six alumni from different segments of the healthcare industry, namely Susanna Yang from Roche, Daniel Gao from Catalent, Jessie Liang from Abbott, Brian Wang from Pharmaron, Angelo Lü from Accenture and Li Zhi from Apex Medical shared their experience in digital innovation in the healthcare industry. The event came to a conclusion with discussions regarding different parts of the healthcare ecosystem and the latest digital innovation attempts and trends.


This event has set the standard for a new format of club activities for the CEIBS Global EMBA alumni community. In the future, more club events are expected to help alumni communicate broadly and explore deep industry insights, and to build a better lifelong learning platform for them.


Alumni Voices

Daniel Gao

General Manager

Catalent Pharma Solutions

Global EMBA 2019

“It was a real pleasure to join the core team of CEIBS GEMBA Healthcare Club and play a part in preparing its first offline activity. The club provides the perfect platform for alumni in healthcare-related industries to enhance communication and broaden perspectives. It has enriched our GEMBA community life.”


Dylan Ren

Head of Supply Chain


Global EMBA 2018

“CEIBS boasts a large alumni network and has a variety of industry-specific alumni associations. So, it hit me to set up a club to connect all GEMBA alumni in the healthcare circle. When I brought this idea to Isa Luo, she assured me of her full support. So, together with other core team members, I set up the first healthcare club for GEMBA alumni, and rolled out a series of online and offline events in the first half of 2020.”