Last week I announced that I would share a few personal thoughts about our deal with CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School.
Repeatedly, I was asked about my motivation for this move and whether I sold my business school. I can clearly say that, no, I did not sell the school to CEIBS. We entered a strategic alliance and are still discussing operational details.
Why did we choose this option? There are two reasons that I would like to explain in greater detail. One reason is personal, the second reason is strategic. The personal reason has to do with my age. I am 72 years old and, as any business owner, I am interested in the ownership’s succession.
The idea of an international network was always very important to me and this idea is key to understanding the Lorange Institute of Business which has no permanent faculty and is, therefore, closely connected with many other business schools in Europe and overseas. One of these business schools is CEIBS in Shanghai.
A key person in my international network is Perdro Nueno. He not only holds the Chengwei Ventures Chair of Entrepreneurship, but has been a member of the CEIBS Board of Directors and Chairman of the Academic Council of CEIBS ever since 1994. He was also a fellow of mine when we did our doctorate in business administration at Harvard in 1973.
So, you can see the need to think about ownership succession, the idea for both a long-term and sustainable strategy for my business school (and its employees), and the fact that a key person in my international network is not only a friend of mine but plays an important role in a business school in the market of the future, China, proved decisive for me to take action.
The latter brings me to the second reason for my decision.
As I just said, China and many other countries in so-called South East Asia are the markets of the future, not only for commodities and consumer goods, but also for education. Europe is a somewhat saturated market for postgraduate or continuing education, whereas China is growing.
We are, on the one hand, interested in being a player in this market. On the other hand, CEIBS is looking for an entry to the European market, which is part of their vision: to become the most respected international business school by linking East and West.
This strategic move will help to strengthen CEIBS’ position internationally. In addition, this helps the Lorange Institute of Business to develop its competences when it comes to China and the rest of Asia.
I feel that this move will further enhance our concept of the ‘business school of the future’ by strengthening the international network of faculty members and business competences with an added focus particularly on key future markets.
As of 2015, new programs on doing business in China will be offered at the Lorange Institute, complementing the existing programs to become a major hub for Chinese-focused business in Switzerland.