Last night I was invited to speak for MBA students at CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School. I heard a lot about the school over the years, but I had never actually visited the campus in Pudong.
The school started in 1994 and has grown quite a lot over the years: in 2007 a total of 542 EMBA students and 164 MBA students graduated here. Even though the education is in English, I expected that there would not be too many non-Chinese studying here. But it turns out that actually 30% of the MBA class are foreigners. The school is not only the number one MBA in China, but also the number one in Asia, according to the Financial Times.
Before my talk I had dinner with Maria Fleuren, who is a Dutch MBA student here. She interviewed me a few years ago for a study about user-generated content, while in her previous job at Dutch TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), and it was interesting that she now landed here. She showed me around campus, and we talked a bit about her experiences during the MBA program so far.
The talk I gave was about entrepreneurship in China and success factors to grow a business here. I also talked about the differences between setting up and running a business in China versus doing this outside China. Nothing theoretical, but based on my own experiences over the past years with lots of real life examples. The session was interactive, so people could make remarks or ask questions during the presentation. The students had some good questions, and a few of them also seemed to think about setting up their own business in China (next to or after their MBA).
I enjoy giving this kind of talks to either students, scholars, entrepreneurs or other business people. I like to interact with smart people, and their questions force me to think about things that I often did not really think about.
I am not sure if I ever blogged about this, but one of the things I still hope to achieve is to teach at a university in the future. For me the ideal situation would be teaching part-time to motivated students, while at the same time writing a book. Giving a talk to MBA students like last night, reminds me once again of the fact that discussing interesting topics in front of a group is something I really enjoy.
Picture above: CEIBS Campus in Shanghai, from CEIBS website