October 12, 2020. Shanghai & Zurich – Today marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for both 157 young professionals from 27 countries and regions - and also for CEIBS. For the first time in the school’s history, the MBA programme kicked off simultaneously from two global locations – the flagship campus in Shanghai and the European campus in Zurich.
Ahead of their 16-month journey, CEIBS Vice President and Dean Yuan Ding addressed the students with some special opening remarks.
"Finally we made it. It has not been an easy year, but I’m honoured to welcome you today and proud of the history we have already made together with our combined proactive efforts,” he said. “Preserving our international diversity whilst prioritising student safety has led us to this historic twin-city opening. I look forward to meeting our Zurich section in person very soon and wish you all the best of luck on your exceptional CEIBS journeys ahead."
Assistant Professor of Management Byron Lee then took to the stage in Zurich to speak on behalf of CEIBS faculty.
“As today is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I’d like to thank you all for entrusting us with the privilege and opportunity to help you along this journey,” he said. “People often ask me about the drivers of China’s success and I’ll share them with you today as I believe these three points can help you to navigate your own successful development. Firstly, embrace and adapt to the inevitability of change. Secondly, rise to the challenge. And, thirdly, care for and support your community – don't let distance be a barrier for strengthening your connections.”
Following Prof. Lee, CEIBS MBA Administration Director Michelle Zhu and Zurich Campus CEO Dr. Robert Straw took to the stage in Shanghai and Zurich, respectively, to share a few words on the historic twin-city opening.
“Outside our auditorium here we have 25 degrees of sunshine, whilst in Zurich I can almost feel the chilly morning breeze. Regardless of location, we are all here today to warmly welcome you to CEIBS,” Michelle said.
“In the weeks and months that have led up to today, I have often spoken about the VUCA-ness of this unique time for MBA students. Those who embrace this will master the future. You are pioneers – we are family,” Dr. Straw said.
In keeping with tradition from previous MBA Opening Ceremonies, a student from the previous class was also welcomed to share their reflections from the journey. CEIBS MBA 2021’s Echo Jin pushed back her own on-boarding date at Danaher to join today’s celebration.
“I’d like to share three reflections from my journey through CEIBS,” she said, “Firstly, be determined to achieve your goal. Secondly, be brave and lead the change. And, thirdly, CEIBS is a collective community, be grateful for your seat and contribute for the benefit others.”
The MBA Class of 2022 also heard from a student representative of their own, Pablo Pinos from the Zurich section.
“I’m honoured to represent my fellow classmates here today. As section representative, I have gotten to know many of you over the previous weeks and am excited to start this journey together with you, one that will propel us into the next stage of our lives,” said Pablo. “CEIBS will give us the tools, the alumni and leadership have given us the platforms in Zurich and in Shanghai, and now it is our turn to achieve our own transformations.”
As the opening ceremony came to an end, CEIBS Associate Dean and MBA Director Professor Shameen Prashantham reflected on his own experience through business school and journey to CEIBS.
“Be proactive and good things will happen,” he said. “Either this will lead to opportunities or moments of self-awareness.”
After saying digital goodbyes to their counterparts in Zurich and Shanghai, students continued to network with their new peers over a cocktail celebration in Shanghai and hiking up the Swiss Alps in Switzerland.
For more information about the CEIBS MBA programme, please visit our programme introduction page here.