The creation of CEMS was nothing less than a disruptive revolution in management education in the late 1980s. This month we showcase both CEMS and projects led by forward thinking people in the CEMS community that makes the alliance what it is today.

"The creation of CEMS in the late 80’s was a radical innovation. Nothing like CEMS had ever existed! There was no role model, no guidelines, no other experience we could learn from. We had to innovate every day! Setting a standard of excellence in the pre-Bologna academic landscape was a true innovation. Relying on and respecting each member school's strengths and traditions while setting up a joint curricula was true innovation as well. We discovered and applied the beauty of ‘glocal’ strategy and practice way before such a notion appeared in books and articles. The close collaboration with Corporate Partners was another remarkable innovation which remains today one of the most distinctive and powerful features of the CEMS alliance".

Nicole de Fontaines, CEMS Executive Director 

The joint graduation ceremony in 1990, spanning the four founding schools of CEMS was a first in the academic world. Over time, this practice has evolved, and now graduands from all Academic Members of the CEMS alliance have the opportunity to gather and graduate at one of the alliance's member schools. This rotating graduation ceremony location adds a unique cultural dimension to the event each year. By rotating the location, graduands and CEMS Community members have the chance to experience different cultures and educational environments, enriching their overall academic experience and fostering a sense of global unity within the CEMS community.

The 2023 CEMS MIM Graduation Ceremony comes full circle. Hosted by The London School of Economics (LSE) in December, who already hosted the event in December 2000. We look forward to celebrating the CEMS 35th Anniversary with the CEMS Community.

Please click on the Graduation Image to see the LSE Annual Events Page

"In the early 1990s, IAG's strategy was based on two pillars: exchange programs for students and research collaborations with high quality institutions. The CEMS project was particularly innovative with courses developed jointly and IAG's international strategy fit perfectly with this innovative project. CEMS choice of partnering with IAG could only strengthen its leadership in Belgium and internationally for both students and faculty."

L’Oréal and the CEMS Strategic Board decided to create the ‘CEMS Philippe Louvet Innovation Award’ in memory of Philippe Louvet, former Vice President Human Resources at L’Oréal.  The focus on ‘Innovation’ was explicitly required by L’Oréal as the best possible fit with Philippe’ personality and contribution to CEMS. Philippe engaged L’Oréal as CEMS Corporate Partner in 1996 and since then made his company one of the most active with the alliance.  He was heavily engaged in CEMS affairs as Executive Board member, Vice President Corporate Relations and Strategic Board member. Through these various mandates, he played a key role in the development of CEMS governance reforms, corporate relations, and in the design of the CEMS Mission, Vision, and Strategy.    

Philippe launched remarkable innovative initiatives: many firsts: Training for CEMS Managers, (1997-99); CEMS pan-European multimedia case (the Elsève case in 2000); Research projects including the CEMS L'Oréal Fellowship on Gen Y in 2008, which involved researchers from three member schools (ESADE, NNH and WU). Following his retirement he continued to support the alliance as Strategic Advisor on a pro-bono basis.

Philippe passed away in May 2018. This award celebrates Philippe’s passion for education, his constant quest for innovation in education, and his unique ability to build bridges between business and academia. It also expresses L’Oréal and CEMS’ values and belief in the invaluable benefits of close collaboration between Academic & Corporate worlds. 

Philippe Louvet was entitled  CEMS Honorary Member in 2013, in recognition of his invaluable support to the CEMS alliance.

“L’Oréal’s commitment and support of the CEMS alliance is built on strong common values, such as diversity, innovation and the unshakeable belief that learning and education will make the world more inclusive and sustainable. This had always been the conviction of Philippe Louvet, one of our great Human Resources Leaders at L’Oréal. That’s why the CEMS Philippe Louvet Innovation Award is a perfect illustration of our shared quest to develop and shape future generations of leaders by providing them with the skills, the mindset and the courage to question the status quo and to dare greatly.”

-Michael Kienle Global VP of Talent Acquisition, L'Oréal

The winning team receives 20,000 Euros towards their project. 

We remain ever grateful to L’Oréal and the legacy that Philippe Louvet has bestowed on the CEMS Alliance.

The CEMS student team, Damien Manhes, Dóra Szendeczki, and Jan-Niklas Franke, achieved a significant milestone with their outstanding Social Impact Project (SIP). This initiative's goal is to empower students to make a meaningful difference by immersing them in hands-on, transformative experiences. Additionally, they aim to amplify CEMS's global ethos, establishing the alliance as a powerful advocate for positive change.

Since securing the grant, this dynamic trio has been diligently advancing their project, and they offer some insights and reflections on their journey to date.  

Click on the Image to see more

2020 Inaugural Winners Lateral Collaboration in the Age of Exponential Change and Disruption

“Winning the inaugural Philippe Louvet Innovation Award in 2020 was a testament to unwavering dedication to pioneer new approaches in education. Undertaking a project that spanned multiple geographies was no small feat. It required transcending conventional boundaries and setting new standards. In doing so, students were presented with an invaluable blend of real-world experiences, navigating varied time zones and engaging with incredibly diverse teams and mentors. The pilot run of the course evolved into current launch of blended intensive programs offered across CEMS Schools, breaking down all physical barriers and offering the best learning experiences to students across the globe. Lateral global collaboration is not the future, it is the present.”

Ladislav Tyll, Academic Director - VSE Czech Republic, Deputy Chair CEMS Academic Committee

“Leading universities of a handful of European countries agreed on a management education program which included a broad disciplinary approach (management, economics and law), approved knowledge of at least two foreign languages, a semester abroad in a partner institution and an internship in an international firm. Students thus gained a competitive edge for their professional careers. And schools entered a fascinating discourse on best practice in management education which showed greater diversity at that time. Thus, CEMS was a strong learning challenge for students and universities – at least this was my personal experience.”

CEMS Academic Innovation in Action Courses of the Year 2022

CEMS Global Leadership courses equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage people across borders and within multinational teams, creating culturally savvy individuals that show empathy and can relate to and interact with different cultures

Recent winner of the CEMS Global Leadership Award, Professor Meir Shemla of the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) says  “CEMS students are incredibly ambitious, curious, and hard working.  Yet, my CEMS students often underestimate the extent to which they are alike and the difficulties they may face when working with people who have a different set of values, skills and lifestyles. What I have found most useful is to put the students themselves - their lives and personal relationships - at the heart of this course. I have witnessed that by encouraging students to implement the materials in their own lives, forcing them out of their comfort zone, we have truly managed to move the needle. Real development occurs when students face conflicts, dilemmas and discomfort."

The CEMS Global Strategy courses enable students to understand and navigate the international business environment.  Awarded for his course in Global Strategy, Professor Hannu Seristö of Aalto University says  “The course makes the students aware of the differences in global business environments and helps them learn to understand the dynamics and applicability of different styles of business management in different parts of the world. It is a joy and a privilege to teach in the CEMS programme where the students are truly talented, motivated, and conscientious.   

A crucial part of the teaching experience of the course involves project work, so the input of the four case organisations into the course was truly valuable” .

“Founded in the last years of the Cold War, CEMS was a driver for innovation in the field of Higher Education when the world started to open up. I personally see three dimensions which make CEMS special with regard to innovation: -strengthening diversity of its network with the integration of Eastern Europe in the nineties and globalisation from the years 2000 onward; -focus on teaching and learning allowing for new didactical formats like the introduction of intensive weeks at the start of the program with a focus on sustainability and CSR; - In addition, through its efforts to bring together representatives of member universities on different levels fostered the creation of important personal networks that served as a platform for various institutional innovations in all fields of the activities of Higher Education.“

CEMS Alum shapes the tech industry with an innovative mindset

CEMS Corporate Partner since 2019, Roboyo is now the world’s largest Intelligent Automation professional services company. With a presence across 24 cities, spanning 15 countries and 4 continents, Roboyo has clients including many of theFortune 500 and 22 of Germany’s DAX 40 companies.

We caught up with Roboyo Co-Founder and CEMS Alum,
Nicolas Hess.
"CEMS shapes people who want to adapt and enjoy the uncomfortable nature of change. CEMS graduands who come into the job market with this motivated mindset enjoy exciting opportunities. They are being better, it is a great asset for Roboyo."

Click here to find out more

“CEMS has innovation in its DNA: It was born to leverage the collective wisdom, experiences and visions of a number of top business schools, each with a different profile and thus different strengths, to jointly rethink global management education and together offer what became the CEMS Masters in International Management. With today 33 stellar business schools from across the world, CEMS has become a vibrant global Living Lab for sharing, experimenting and continuously innovating Global Management Education. For 35 years, CEMS has stayed ahead of the curve, attuned to the challenges facing global business today and tomorrow, to the benefit of new generations of amazing students, the companies they join and the societies they serve."

CEMS Alumni - Innovation in Action

The CEMS MIM has provided students with an education skill set that allows them to build some innovative start ups

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“In today’s business world, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the lifeblood of success."

Just Russel” provides personalised, health-focused solutions for pets. It was founded by Victor and his brother in Belgium. Their goal was simple but ambitious: to enhance the lives of pets and their owners through data-driven information.

Click on Victor's Name above to find out more

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Successful Startups

CEMS Swiss Academic member, University of St Gallen is proud to have an ever growing list of entrepreneurs working on enterprises such as clothing, children's books and medicine.

  • Nikin
  • Muntagnard
  • Vizavi
  • Swisspreneur
  • Viu
  • Librio
  • Evenito
  • Shippo
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CEMS Alum, Julie Ranty, co-founded VIVA TECH, Europe's biggest technology and StartUp event. A global Convention where exhibitors can connect with tech leaders, major corporations and investors.

Since 2021, CEMS has been an Academic Partner of Viva Technology.  

Click on the VIVE TECH title to find out more about this event


CEMS Entrepreneurs is a community of CEMS students and alumni passionate about the StartUp ecosystem. Their common goal is to raise awareness for entrepreneurship and support CEMSies along their entrepreneurial journey - no matter if they are a student, and alum or already serial entrepreneurs.


A global community of 1,000 students and alumni


 Multiple in-person events for CEMSies interested or active in entrepreneurship

Over 50+ VCs

And over 50 participating startups in our programs


“CEMS was born a pathbreaker, remains one, and is, I believe, always going to be one. It was conceived 35 years ago as an inspired experiment in pan-European (and later global) business schools and corporate partnership in pre-experience but highly experiential postgraduate education. To my way of thinking, what has always been truly innovative and inspirational is the CEMS ideal of developing graduates and alumni who embrace and practise responsible global leadership in the interests of people, planet and ethical and sustainable profit-making. As we move further into the era of Industry 5.0, CEMS continues to lead the way in equipping graduates with the intrapersonal and interpersonal capabilities and the business acumen to succeed in a VUCA world, master the exciting opportunities presented by AI, VR and Quantum computing, champion internationalism and lead by positive example. To me that is the essence of the CEMS spirit – and it is something that I am privileged and deeply proud to be part of. Go CEMS!”

Innovative Students

“Back in 2010 when we introduced the Global Values Statement during that year’s annual event in Rotterdam, it was a unique and special moment. This was before many CEMS schools had individually introduced one, so getting to a common agreement across member schools was even harder – but the tenacity of a group of Student Board members, Kristina Koenig, Gwilym Williams and Tanmayi Gummaraju made it happen. A proud moment of how innovation in CEMS was often driven by the student body, not only the academic institutions.” 

Thomas Rüdiger Smith, McKinsey, Former Student Board President 

“CEMS teaches you that the most adventurous path is often the most fulfilling and also the best for your career. Through CEMS, I've learned how far you can push your identity away from your past self to reach new heights and achieve our goals."