CEIBS Acquires Lorange Institute of Business Zurich

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CEIBS logoGuest post by Dr. Peter Lorange, Honorary President, Lorange Institute of Business Zurich, A Member of CEIBS Group

CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School, took over the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich, effective October 2015.

CEIBS was established in 1994 under an agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation (MOFTEC, now The Ministry of Commerce) and the European Commission. The school has had a very successful development, and is today considered by many to be not only a top school in China but also one of the leading business school in Asia. CEIBS is now “re-entering” Europe through the acquisition – via the Friends of CEIBS Foundation – of the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich. Lately, we have seen important acquisitions by Chinese companies or the Chinese government all around of the world, including in Europe. The development of a base for CEIBS in Switzerland, thus, comes as a natural consequence of this added Chinese visibility in Europe.

For CEIBS the choice of Switzerland was important, as the country is situated in the center of Europe, with a neutral status vis-à-vis the major European countries, and with a high attractiveness ranking. And, selecting the Lorange Institute was equally natural for CEIBS. The fact that the Lorange Institute has no permanent faculty, but relies exclusively on drawing on faculty from other academic institutions, was seen as attractive to CEIBS as this ensures that there will be no major issues of cross-cultural integration of faculty.

The Lorange Institute is largely expected to maintain its present modus operandi, including continuing to offer its Masters programmes (E-MBA, E-MSc/ and its tailored corporate programmes). In addition, there are four new focal points for the Lorange Institute:

  • Many companies in Europe have been acquired by the Chinese organisations. This has risen a need for training of Chinese executives being assigned to these acquisitions. The new entity aims at providing relevant executive education offerings to this customer segment.
  • Exchanges for EMBA programme participants. Many of these Master students from CEIBS shall come to the Lorange Institute for several weeks and attend specific modules. Similarly, Master students from Lorange Institute shall be attending learning activities at CEIBS. The purpose: improved focus on the cross-cultural aspects of internationalisation.
  • Prepare European executives for China. Many European businesses see the large, fast-growing Chinese market as attractive, perhaps particularly now with a shift towards consumerism and away from classical manufacturing in China. However, the European executives may not be all that well prepared for doing business in China. The new entity is aiming to address this market.
  • Study trips in Switzerland for Chinese executives. There is often much to learn when it comes to management practices of Swiss companies, in particular when it comes to how these firms focus on rapid implementation of innovations. This will be one area of focus during study trips that will be arranged for Chinese executives.
A final issue: it is the intention of the acquirer, CEIBS, to maintain the fundamental ways in which the Lorange Institute now operates. So, Dr. Philipp Boksberger, President and CEO, shall continue in this roLorange logole, with Dr. Yuan Ding, Dean at CEIBS, as the Executive Chairman. The basic modular structure of many of the offerings at the Lorange Institute shall remain; as will the heavy focus on outsourcing, modern pedagogy, and ability to act with speed and flexibility.

In conclusion, it is important to point out that the clear aim of this deal is for dominant Chinese practices - such as long-term time horizon, consensus management, etc. - to be shared with European audiences, where there is already a genuine interest. Similarly, CEIBS is interested in drawing on several of the innovative business school practices put to work at the Lorange Institute. Dr. Peter Lorange shall remain involved in the new entity, and shall play a role when it comes to this, and as Honorary President.