Excellent content and a huge learning effect: the European Food and Agribusiness Forum
Excellent content and a huge learning effect: the European Food and Agribusiness Forum
How can the agricultural and food industry implement more effective business models? Which solutions are the right ones for demanding customers? How will brands and images be strengthened in future? The European Food and Agribusiness Forum, which took place in Zurich from 18-20 June, was exactly the right place to be for anyone looking for answers to any of these questions. High-level executives from successful food companies talked about their own experiences and presented valuable case studies which were specially designed for the international forum and its visitors.

The presentation by the multi-billion group Danone was particularly well received. The company is committed to providing people all over the world with healthy food, and features strong brands such as Actimel, Evian and Milupa in its portfolio. Danone would like to strengthen these brands and how they are perceived internationally. In her case study, Nadine Küster, General Secretary of Danone DACH, therefore gave a presentation about how the company wishes to improve its image in future, in order to convey this and its values on an even greater global scale.

Forward-looking case studies of large corporations

The company Migrolino was also represented by its CEO Markus Länzlinger. The company is part of the Migros Group which is one of the most successful food companies in Switzerland, with sales of 27 billion Swiss francs and more than 100,000 employees. Migrolino has recently opened a logistics center which is implementing new business models and supplying customers in accordance with the latest standards. The company is therefore able to identify customer needs even before they arise, and meet the highest standards of quality. CEO Länzlinger talked about his experiences at the European Food and Agribusiness Forum, and discussed new value chains and partnerships with participating CEOs.

Sten Estrup, Executive Vice President of Christian Hansen, enthused about the event: "I have never before attended a seminar which dealt with the challenges facing the food industry in such depth." Gerald Wilfingseder, General Manager of the Gold Coin Group also voiced his satisfaction with the event: "It is absolutely incredible how much I have learnt from this event." For us, and for everyone involved, the European Food and Agribusiness Forum was a huge success. Further forums in Asia and Africa are planned with Wageningen University and Research.
Short and to the point: Thanks to the Executive Assessment, it is now quicker to obtain the GEMBA approval
Short and to the point: Thanks to the Executive Assessment, it is now quicker to obtain the GEMBA approval
Quicker and more efficient, but still challenging: the Executive Assessment involves a short assessment for candidates which functions as part of their admissions process and takes a minimal amount of time. In just 90 minutes, the test examines important criteria in the field of management, whilst focusing on issues such as critical thinking, analysis and problem solving, for example. The best part is that both the candidates and the CEIBS Zurich Institute of Business Education benefit from the new system. Both parties can use the “quick check” facility to identify any strengths and weaknesses.

The example presented by student Salome Risi shows that the Executive Assessment works. Her preparation for the test occurred at the same time as she had a change of employer – an extreme situation which could quickly become an obstacle for a candidate, especially with respect to the original GMAT procedure which was a much more complex test. Risi is certain: “The new CEIBS Executive Assessment is easier than the previous GMAT test because of its length. As a candidate, it is particularly important to have an understanding of the reasoning assessed in the test and to be able to complete the tasks within the set time.”

Executive Assessment: this is how it works

Positive mind – positive results! This approach also applies to the Executive Assessment because you will only be able to score points if you have a positive and optimistic outlook when you start the test. This is because the Executive Assessment acts as a form of diagnostic tool to assess your own personality and is primarily a reflection of your own character traits.

Do you wish to start a Global Executive MBA at CEIBS, and begin your application process with the Executive Assessment? You will find all the relevant information, examples, and much more here
Or call our Client Relations Team: +41 44 728 99 44

You should also go to the official GMAC website. You will find more detailed information about the test there. You are also sure to find helpful answers to your questions in the FAQ section. In addition, this section contains some useful sample questions to help you during your preparation.
Review Family Office Program
Review Family Office Program
According to a recent report, Asia creates a billionaire every three days with China taking the lead in this trend. With the increasing wealth generated from China and the well-known saying in the country that wealth doesn’t pass three generations, the issue of succession planning has become a top concern for both family businesses and family office professionals.

CEIBS’ family office program is designed exactly to address this emerging needs of China’s ultra wealthy families. There are 39 participants represented by Chinese family business members and family office professionals in the program which consist of 4 modules that taking place in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich where the program successfully concluded.

The module in Switzerland kick started at Zurich Institute of Business Education with a panel discussion chaired by Prof Oliver Rui with 5 Swiss panelist representing the Swiss family business members and Family Office professionals. It was a highly engaging discussion to share experiences and views between the Swiss panel and Chinese participants.

The second day of the program focused on the theme of alternative investing with topics such as impact investing, art management or the Swiss real estate market. The program also collaborated with corporate partners such as UBS, Bank Vontobel AG and SIX.
Interview: China’s true greatness in M&A
Interview: China’s true greatness in M&A
The whole world is talking about takeovers by Chinese companies. Yet, one thing that is rarely discussed is why do they find it so difficult to gain a foothold with foreign corporate shares and acquisitions? We asked two leading experts in the field – Prof. Ding Yuan and Prof. Shang Hua. With a global, critical view, they speak about borders, sensitivities and future possibilities of M&As “Made in China”.

„1+1“ is a new project. Can you already say something about the achievement? Could the engagement with CEBIS international community be strengthened?
Zhang: The “1+1” is designed to strength CEIBS’ reputation through the interaction between alumni and prospective students in international community. Each participant will be encouraged to bring with them a ‘plus one’ who is a qualified prospect for our MBA or GEMBA or corporate programs.

Ding: Who if not those who know CEIBS best, our alumni, should recommend it? In Europe, though, the promotion is still a hard way because the brand CEIBS is not yet well-known enough. Similar „1+1“ events had only recently taken place in Taipeh, Hong Kong and will be held during the coming week in Singapore and later in Accra, the Ghanese metropolis.

What feedback have you received so far?
Taiwan and Hong Kong were very successful. What I have learnt is that our name is a remarkable advantage but particularly in the Asia Pacific region. Even in HKG, where we have strong competitors, we are doing well. The people are coming to the events and we get good feedbacks. The participants like the lectures, and they compare it to other business school experiences.

Recently, we had a participant, a lady who was a graduate from Wharton and who was working as an investment banker in Hong Kong. She joined for curiosity and she was convinced that she should join our GEMBA program. One sentence I said moved her a lot. I said, that our lecturer that evening was great but that we had thirty more of such top faculty members. What the prospects appreciate a lot is the relationship between us and our alumni.

The topic of this „1+1“ lecture are the Chinese FDI. M+A has been a hot topic for a couple of years. How can a business school prepare its students for big international deals such as Chem China with Syngenta or the „Dalian Wanda case“?
Simply said, in three ways: first, through the textbook knowledge and conceptual framework taught in classroom. Second, through case studies on previous M&A deals. Third, students may share their experience and learn from each other.

Ding: I have to add that we did not have any M+A course before 2012. But already then did we have a recurring demand for it. We then invited professionals as visiting professors, but this attempt failed because there was no teaching structure behind it. Sharing an experience is not teaching. So, from my own personal interest, I suggested Prof. Zhang that we might develop a course. I was then involved as a consultant in different companies and different M+As and we used our experience, went through the books and developed the course from scratch. It was immediately well received. Two years ago, we reached a peak: we taught the course eight times. In the meantime, we have established a research center with a multi-disciplinary approach and did almost thirty cases. They were published and the book is shortly being translated to English. This September, we will expand the course and include various new aspects regarding cross border M+A.

Whenever you learn something, you minimize your risk. How big is the risk for a Chinese enterprise today if they invest abroad?
Just today a paper in Hong Kong published an article I have written with the title: The failure rate for cross border acquisition is 90%. How to become the other 10%? Failure means you do not reach your goals. The fact is, according a big survey, that only 30% of all involved companies can reach the expected outcomes after an M+A. Looking at cross borders you must add another 10 % of fall outs. Considering that the Chinese management have no experience whatsoever in cross border M+A you add another 10%. So, as a school we have a kind of social obligation to help the companies both for M+As in home and host countries.

Zhang: I think one risk is also to overpay. Another one is to lose the original management, which in many cases is key to the success of post-acquisition integration.

Since the end of 2016 no state group may invest more than 1 billion abroad. How shall we interpret this decision of the Chinese government?
In my view, such a regulation is mainly due to the concern on the outflow of the foreign exchange reserve in China. Once exchange rates are stabilized, there will be a deregulation. Certainly, the bar will be lifted sooner or later. Regardless of the limit, companies still get a preferred treatment by the state-owned banks in receiving low interested rates.

Ding: I also think this is a temporary measure. There was a bit too much of heat in the market and the government started to worry.  The main worries were the failure rate combined with the currency drain. Of course, if somebody has a short-term view on what happens, the situation might seem critical, but let us consider a global and long term perspective: the global M+A market is worth 4.5 trillion USD. Only 30 % of them are cross border transactions (1.5 trillion). Now you take the Chinese numbers: last year everybody thought that the 170 billion USD were a huge number, but it only amounts to maybe 15% of the global cross boarder investments. When I read these numbers, I looked at the stock of Chinese overseas investment. The stock is merely 20% of the French stock and then you look at the size of the Chinese economy. China has just started and that is the reason why the number is high and that is also the reason why we, the school, are so highly committed to support companies in this matter.

How would you distinguish Chinese FDI in the US and in Europe?
I think it is easier for Chinese companies to find good brands and good technology in Europe at a relative low price. In addition, the “one belt, one road” is also a reason.

Ding:  There are two things. One is the complementarity of China and Europe. You see more synergies between China and Europe because the goals in life seem to be similar. Let’s look at European entrepreneurs. Many have dreamt the dream of their company becoming a legacy. Chinese entrepreneurs have the same dream. In the United Stated, the affection for the business in general is lower: you make your business big, sell it and become rich. But I really feel that there is an easy relationship between Chinese and European entrepreneurs.

If you bring Chinese executives to Victorinox, a family business founded in 1884 and confront them with a Silicon Valley company which has been founded and shortly after sold for millions, for the Chinese executives the latter is just a boring story. On the technical side you see also a lot of complementarity. China is by far a manufacturing place and they do not want to abandon but upgrade their business. That’s the reason why the only place to get inspiration is the triangle of Switzerland, Germany and Austria where you find this high quality manufacturing. There is another place like Germany and that is Japan but it is not working. Japan is closed and they unfortunately do not want to collaborate.

Here, in Europe, people are neutral towards the Chinese and many see the cooperation as something positive. In the USA, the perception is mainly negative because they see China as a challenger. The Swiss don’t care about this but want to work with companies and people with whom they can make a deal. Germany and France have had their dreams of being the number one in the world. Europe is a stratified, an open-minded continent. That makes it a more favorable area for Chinese companies to expand.

Can you may a prediction about the future of Chinese FDI?
The Chinese economy will have a quite high growth rate in the future and Chinese consumers will demand more products and services with good quality. FDI with the purpose to upgrade Chinese firms’ competence will grow accordingly. We call it consumption upgrade: not only consumer goods but also the demand for industry goods will cause growth.
Executive Assessment (EA): Your Global Executive MBA in 90 minutes
Executive Assessment (EA): Your Global Executive MBA in 90 minutes
Our Global Executive MBA candidates are already busy before the study. The GMAT is an elaborate and, for many, a discouraging test. It takes a lot of time and energy, even during the preparation. What is more likely to offer capable candidates a simpler, but more efficient way to admission? CEIBS began working with the new Executive Assessment a year ago.

The Executive Assessment is simply an excellent tool for both sides, and offers relevance to executives (greater focus on critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving, and much less pure mathematics). The best: the test can be completed without further preparation and takes only 90 minutes.

The evaluation provides us the information that we need from the candidates. For the candidates, it is like a mirror: they recognize their own skills and they show us how ready they really are for the demanding advanced training, which is our Executive MBA.

What score should you aim for?

One of the obvious challenges with a new assessment and a new scoring system is knowing how many points you should achieve - the points that you fill in on our registration form. If you want to study at CEIBS, you should get 160 points. This is the average score of all applicants in recent years.

Our advice to you: be yourself and give it your best. The Executive Assessment requires little preparation because it is a diagnostic tool that shows us your strengths. If you take the test with a positive attitude, your chances are great that you will achieve a score that will convince us of your abilities.

More information about GMAC’s new Executive Assessment, The website contains a wealth of information, provides some sample questions, and answers some of your burning questions. For further questions concerning your CEIBS GEMBA application, our client relations team is at your disposal.

Phone +41 44 728 99 44
info@No spam please!ceibs.ch
CEIBS Summer Pre-MBA Boot Camp
CEIBS Summer Pre-MBA Boot Camp
For many students, the decision to study an MBA in China means entering uncharted waters. The CEIBS Summer Pre-MBA Boot Camp is a one-stop destination to understand China both inside and outside of the classroom.

Now into its fifth year, the CEIBS Summer Pre-MBA Boot Camp is the ideal program to let you “get your feet wet” before you take the plunge.

The program will expose you to our MBA curriculum with some of our most distinguished professors, as well as let you dive right into Shanghai life and China business, giving you a real feel of how things are done in this part of the world.

As part of an elite group of participants, you will have a unique opportunity to come to Shanghai for one week to live and experience China and the CEIBS MBA to the fullest.

Requirements and Application Process

The program is open to a limited number of Chinese and international applicants who are considering an MBA degree. You must be either currently enrolled or have graduated from an accredited undergraduate university program anywhere in the world, preferably with a minimum of one year of work experience. Space is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Your application will be evaluated, and upon initial approval you will be invited to a brief 15 minutes phone/Skype interview.

Register now

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The rooster crows for a prosperous year - First Chinese New Year Aperitif
The rooster crows for a prosperous year - First Chinese New Year Aperitif
Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year's Day.  This year, the Chinese New Year, which is China's Spring Festival public holiday, took place from January 27 to February 2. 2017 is a year of the rooster according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle. That means that anybody born in one of those years (2005, 1993 etc.) is a rooster.

Legendary explanations are told about the origins of the Chinese New Year festival. However, the following two are the most likely. Firstly, people celebrate a year of hard work after which they enjoy time with their family. The second explanation is to wish for a happy and prosperous coming year.

The CEIBS Chinese New Year Apéro was organized for the first time at the Zurich Campus. Study tour program partners and their invited guests enjoyed Chinese specialties. This was to show our appreciation for their support and to ongoing cooperation. For this purpose, we had our lobby traditionally decorated in red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Moreover, we had set up a rich Chinese buffet. By the way, there is no Chinese New Year without fish, as the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for surplus. Eating fish is believed to bring a surplus of money in the coming year.

Our Executive Chairman, Prof. Yuan Ding, gave a welcome speech. He particularly referred to president Xi Jinping’s speech at Davos, and stated that CEIBS is doing everything president Xi advocates. People ate, drank, and chatted, just the way they do all over China or wherever Chinese people meet out in the world. It was a successful event.

P.S. You might wonder what the dragon has got to do with Chinese New Year, as you often see them in processions. Dragons are believed to bring good luck to people. The longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it is said it will bring to the community.

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Debut in Accra - the new GEMBA gains foothold in Western Africa
Debut in Accra - the new GEMBA gains foothold in Western Africa
Debut in Accra

For the first time, GEMBA core modules with CEIBS Professors Bala Ramasamy and Lydia Price were offered in Accra
(read also: Interview with Prof. Price)

Among the students were Stanley Xust and, from Switzerland, Thomas Hueppi. Their trip to Accra was loaded with new experiences. Thomas Hueppi, member of the executive board of ChinaMed Europe AG, had previously visited other sites in Africa but has never been to Ghana or Accra before. He said that he had profited a lot from Prof. Bala Ramasamy with his great understanding of the world of economics, and in particular the Chinese Economy: “He has given me a wider understanding of the implications of the world’s behavior”, stated Hueppi, for whom, as a CEO, it is vital to understand the implications of the world’s behavior.

The economic analysis course by Professor Ramasamy introduced fundamental principles and analytical tools of economics for business analysis. It covered both micro- and macro-economics. Professor Price’s marketing strategy course introduced students to the essentials of marketing principles and strategies, as exercised with both digital and traditional frameworks and tools

Stanley Xust’s experiences where similar to those of his fellow student Thomas. Stanley heard for the first time from a CEIBS professor. Not only did Stanley appreciate the great ability of Bala Ramasamy to present even difficult topics in an easily understandable way, he received insightful analysis, especially regarding the Chinese Economy: “I do understand the Chinese government better now for its economic policy”. Stanley said after the courses.

Not only was it the first GEMBA core module in Accra, the course no longer took place in the Nestlé building located downtown. CEIBS have moved to a new, purpose-built campus in the fashionable East Legon area, a district in the greater Accra region, which is also home to the main campus of the University of Ghana. Legon is located next to a prestigious residential neighborhood.
“The Chinese are more like the French, not the Americans.”
“The Chinese are more like the French, not the Americans.”
Interview Lydia Price

Lydia J. Price is Professor of Marketing at CEIBS. From 2006-2012 she was Associate Dean and Director of the CEIBS MBA Program. Under her leadership, the program deepened its international focus and stature, as well as its China expertise, rising steadily in major business school rankings as a consequence. 

Professor Price has also overseen CEIBS accreditation processes for AACSB and EQUIS for almost ten years (Chair, Accreditation Committee 2006-2015), and she is an award-winning professor of marketing with more than 20 years of teaching experience in China.  Prior to joining CEIBS, Professor Price was on the faculties of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and INSEAD, France. She has also been a visiting professor at New York University, Beijing University, and the Catholic University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Prof. Price, you are member of the CEIBS faculty in Shanghai and the school's other locations such as Zurich and Accra get to benefit from your expertise as well. What have you been teaching during February 2017 in Accra?

I have been teaching marketing. It is part of the new version of the GEMBA where we try to take advantage of these three campuses in Shanghai in China, Accra (the capital of Ghana in Western Africa), and Zurich in Switzerland.

Shanghai, Accra - you have many years of experience in teaching and of teaching in different cultures. How do you experience these differences?

I am American and started my career at INSEAD in France. That was probably the biggest leap and my biggest learning experience: to stop looking at the world through US American eyes. I was a young professor; I had just come out of my PHD program and I went to the classes with a lot of confidence. Very quickly I learned that I had to start to understand why things were happening in a certain way in a certain location. But it was interesting to think about why things work differently in other parts of the world; and that is something that has suited me well until today.

We imagined the biggest leap was the one from the so-called Western culture to China?
After I moved to Hong Kong I was asked how I could move as a single person to China. I grew up in a multicultural environment in the United States, moved from an urban environment to the US farmland, then later to France, and each step made me more open-minded. When I went to Hong Kong, the Asian culture was very new to me. However, the Chinese in some ways are more like the French than the Americans. Chinese people take time to build relationships with business associates, often over food. To me, Hong Kong was a kind of hybrid: the system and the government were closer to the US, but the people were Chinese. When I moved to Shanghai, I had been prepared for a very long period. At this point it is not very difficult anymore for me to move to a new culture like here in Ghana.

George Steiner, the French-born American professor of literature said he felt at home anywhere in the world as soon as he would sit in his office on the campus and prepare his courses.
I think that’s true. I am often asked whether and how the students are different in various places, but the reality in this digitally connected world is that the base level knowledge is very similar around the globe. They have had different experiences but they can share their differences. But they are not different in how they approach questions.

You have experienced students from around the world visiting the campus in Shanghai. Are the students as easy going as you are in their new cultural surrounding?  
I was the Associate Dean at the full time CEIBS MBA program from 2006 to 2012. I coordinated the arrival of the international students, and prepared a module for them about what to expect. Virtually everyone goes through one type of culture shock or another. The first month they are in what I call the honeymoon period: everything is new and exciting. Students are growing and learning, and everything is fine. After a few months, they start feeling the differences. It is not only a difference in content and knowledge, but also a difference in communication styles. We feel tensions in groups that have been put together to deliberately maximize the diversity. We tell the students that this is part of the growing and learning experience. What is interesting is that other Asian students from Korea or Taiwan might think that moving to Shanghai would be easy, but sometimes it is even harder for them because they were not expecting it to be so different. But we do our best to brief the students and to help them.

Has your teaching evolved through the years based on the experience of so many different cultures and indeed of different generations?
Absolutely. I have now a variety of teaching styles. When I first moved to INSEAD in France, I learnt to be strong and to push back against the students because they were very strong-minded and I was very green, and I struggled. I learned not to be too “telling”, and to have the students do the talking. When I moved to Hong Kong, I moved to a different culture and a different age structure. In France, I taught experienced MBAs. In Hong Kong, I taught undergraduates coming directly from High School. There, at first, I frightened the students, and they remained silent for a very long time. I had to learn to have a much softer and indirect approach. I learnt that the more Northern cultures speak in a direct communications style, and the more Southern cultures in an indirect way. Today I can utilize these experiences.

Direct confrontation and open discussions are part of the learning culture in an international business school, but they seem to be opposed to very common rules of conduct in Asia…

There is a way of dealing with that. Something very simple to do with younger students is to have them talking in a group with two or three. As a teacher, you should avoid asking a single student; then it’s a group response and no-one loses face. Over time you pick up little teaching tricks to overcome the obstacles you might encounter. But the differences have been lessening over time, even among older students.  

As a former MBA Director, you took on various responsibilities including academic quality control. How can the quality over three continents, three campuses, and three cultures be guaranteed?
It’s the system that must be set up properly, because the system guarantees the quality. When we were coming to Accra and Zurich, I knew that we had to have our core CEIBS faculty teaching in these places. This is what the accreditation standards insist upon. We cannot outsource the education and the teaching, use the same name and expect the same accreditation. If I am teaching in the GEMBA program in Shanghai or the GEMBA Program overseas, it’s the same person, and when I teach in Accra the course outline is the same in Shanghai as it is in Accra.

Everything is the same?
The teachers and the course outlines are the same, but the case studies are different. Yesterday I looked at a case in a low-income market. In Accra, we were talking about the same philosophy and principles as in Shanghai, but we used a different, more local case study. In Shanghai, we talk about the same subjects but in a more developed market setting. Only today, we had an interesting discussion here in Accra; we were talking about Digital Media Channels developing in China, and the Chinese, Africans and Europeans were tremendously interested in what was happening in China. This is the goal of the teaching, and the CEIBS principles are always there no matter who, no matter where. We start drawing parallels between Africa and China because everyone is saying that Africa replicates what China has been going through.

Will we also see you at the CEIBS Zurich Campus sooner or later?

Next year I will be teaching courses for the new GEMBA in Accra.  But I hope to get to Zurich soon.  

We are looking forward to seeing you!
QS MBA World Tour: Vienna, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf
QS MBA World Tour: Vienna, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf
Take a minute and our Client Relations team and alumni tell you all about the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the CEIBS Global Executive MBA in Zurich, Shanghai and Accra and our short programs to propel your career.

  • Learn why CEIBS outperforms other top tier schools in terms of ROI, career prospects and exchange opportunities
  • How 80% of our 2016 graduates achieved a career switch to their desired industries or functions
  • How future global business leaders have benefitted from plugging into a worldwide b-school alumni pool of 19,000+ - most of them major decision makers

The QS World MBA Tour offers you the opportunity to meet with MBA admissions officers and alumni from top business schools around the world.

For more information please contact: info@No spam please!ceibs.ch

Date: 27 February, 2017
Time: from 6.00 pm. – 10.00 pm.


Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna
Schottenring 24
1010 Vienna

Date: 8 March, 2017
Time: from 6.00 pm. – 10.00 pm.


Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam
Professor Tulpplein 1
1018 GX Amsterdam

Date: 20 March, 2017
Time: from 5.30 pm. – 09.30 pm.


Leonardo Royal Hotel Düsseldorf Königsallee
Graf-Adolf-Platz 8, 40213 Düsseldorf