"Inspiration is being engaged with others in developing new ideas. This can be new ideas in teaching and learning, for supporting young professionals and leaders in who they are and want to be, and ideas to develop organisations in their life cycle."

- Jaap Boonstra, CEMS Faculty Member

“Since the very beginning in 1988 the architects of CEMS shared a vision: Creating a global alliance in advanced management education of academic, corporate, and social partner institutions, sharing a common spirit about educating responsible leaders for the future of our societies in the 21st century. This CEMS spirit was and is based on the persuasion that plurality and diversity of academic traditions, national cultures, and management styles add high value to and are key success factors for a truly international management education. This means not only respecting diversity but welcoming, enjoying and valuing it. The CEMS spirit provides a common value base for CEMS students and alumni but even more for all CEMS stakeholders for solving management problems, responsible leadership and citizenship, and more generally for shared mindsets and attitudes. The successful evolution of CEMS over the last 35 years has been achieved thanks to the contribution of many, many CEMSy people, sharing this spirit and making the CEMS vision come true.”

Werner Delfmann, Former CEMS Chair, 2000-2003


A Unique Alliance with Transformational Global Power

Jaap Boonstra, CEMS academic and author on many books, has spent the last few years investigating what makes CEMS so special as an alliance.
Inspired by his years of teaching students, working with other CEMS academics, Jaap realised that CEMS is a truly wonderful community to be celebrated!
His new book, “Alliances for Sustainable Futures” delves into the history of the CEMS alliance and uncovers its uniqueness and beauty.

We caught up with Jaap while he was grading his CEMS Leadership class papers and he shared with us just how interesting and unique the CEMS alliance is with an in-depth conversation. 

"CEMS is a fascinating and excellent example of a values-driven alliance of business schools, corporate and social partners with an already long history of 35 years. During this history CEMS has been adaptive and agile, and able to reinvent herself over and over again, while keeping her roots and strong identity. The original idea and values are still guiding principles and this is one reason why the alliance is sustainable."

Your chance to win a copy of "Alliances for Sustainable Futures" All sign ups to the newsletter between 1st June to 30th June will be entered into the raffle. Winner will be notified via email in July 2023.

Huge Thanks to our Past CEMSational Supporters

Since the foundation of the CEMS alliance, Corporate Partner and later Social Partner representatives made a huge difference in shaping our alliance. Yes, they have been a source of inspiration and disruptive innovation! They have challenged academics to migrate from their comfort zone. They have been bold, and embodying true CEMS spirit, in other words, they have been incredibly committed and supportive. Throughout the years, they have provided valuable insights to academics and the CEMS community to ensure impactful decisions were made. Academia and businesses are two different worlds that enrich each other when they collaborate. That’s the magic of diversity. 

The intuition of the CEMS academic founders from ESADE and HEC was confirmed by people from the industry who became the first CEMS corporate partners. We would have put an end to our ambitious project if the corporate world had not answered so enthusiastically. Bernard Castaing, President of Procter & Gamble France at the time, played a key role as the first enthusiastic supporter of the CEMS community. Other corporate representatives such as Jacques Baudouin from Crédit Lyonnais and Franco Riolo from Banca Commerciale Italiana, supported the first founding steps of CEMS. A few years later, Peter Jensen from SmithKline Beecham, served CEMS with an amazing degree of energy and enthusiasm.

Egbert Appel from Hilti has been another long-lasting supporter of CEMS as Vice President Corporate Relations, being at the very heart of the engine. Hanneke Frese from Zurich Insurance and Philippe Louvet from L’Oréal also played an invaluable role in a similar position. We’ll further celebrate Philippe Louvet’s contribution in September as a story on Innovation because his contribution has been extraordinary and immense. 

On the Social Partner side, Robert Glasser, former Secretary General of Care International, played a major role in participating in the elaboration of the CEMS MIM Learning Outcomes. 

“CEMS has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence. It's commitment to global values, in particular to professional responsibility and accountability in relation to society and the environment, is well aligned with CARE's global mission to end poverty and promote social justice”. - Robert Glasser

Some past supporters that come to mind include Steve Boley representing PwC, and Mary Talbot representing Reuters. There are too many great and inspiring supporters to mention in one article and I apologise for all the contributors that I didn’t mention. CEMS would not be what it is, maybe CEMS would not even exist anymore without the generous support of these Corporate and Social Partner representatives who gave so much of their time, talent, and energy without asking for an immediate return for themselves or their company. 

On behalf of the whole CEMS community, it is my immense privilege and pleasure to extend my gratitude to all our past supporters. 

Nicole de Fontaines, CEMS Executive Director 

““I became involved with CEMS when heading up the European business of a leading global company. For a number of years, I worked alongside my business and academic colleagues during those early years of the CEMS organisation. CEMS is a fantastic partnership between the Business Schools and Commercial Businesses. It has grown and has sustained over 35 years and the organisation grows stronger every year. In my view, this is a UNIQUE & INSPIRING CONCEPT, which deserves the recognition and respect that it has earned. Many students and businesses have benefited from the CEMS over the 35 years. Long may it continue”.

Peter Jensen - SmithKline Beecham, Former Executive Board Member

Turning to our Corporate Partners and Social Partners for Inspiration

The CEMS Alliance is vast and we have now
74 Corporate Partners and 8 Social Partners.
We are fortunate and grateful that we have experienced talent to call upon, share and create ideas with for the benefit of our future leaders.

Audrey Clegg - CEMS Corporate Partner Chair

One of the CEMS Alliance's most inspirational members for over 20 years, is Audrey Clegg. She now works at Sanofi and has been instrumental in three former companies becoming CEMS Corporate Partners. We thank you graciously Audrey.

"Some problems we can solve,” she says, “And some we can’t. But if we can learn something from them either way, we come out on top. That’s why I persuaded all the companies I’ve worked for to join CEMS. It’s a great place to find new ways of turning problems into opportunities.”

She left her native USA for a three-year placement with Wolseley, over 25 years ago. She's been based in Europe ever since, working for ABB, Coca-Cola HBC and now Sanofi.

Continue to read more here 

"Our determination to find answers for patients motivates us to develop breakthrough medicines and vaccines. And to never settle. Fueled by data and digital technologies, our cutting-edge science and manufacturing have the potential to transform the practice of medicine, turning the impossible into possible for millions of people around the world.
By chasing the miracles of science to improve people’s live, we surprise ourselves with what we can achieve. And when we discover the extraordinary, we’re already planning
where to go next."

Discover more Inspirational CEMS Stories

From a Refugee to Global Citizen

In many ways, Octave Hirwa is like many CEMSies: he’s ambitious, intelligent, speaks many languages, is interested in the global community and is highly engaged in responsible leadership practices.
There is one aspect of Hirwa’s path to his graduation this year that makes him unique amongst his CEMS graduating class. Hirwa was born in Kigali, Rwanda. In 1994, he and his family fled the country along with millions of other Rwandans.


Professional and Personal Purpose

Rita Cunha is a perfect example of a CEMSie. Firstly she  was Executive Councillor of CEMS and, before that, the first Academic Director of the MIM at Nova SBE. Additionally, Rita is mother of two CEMS alumni. Both her professional and personal lives have intertwined with CEMS in a close and affective relationship. This is a testament to her beliefs that CEMS is the best network in Higher Education to prepare leaders that combine drive and purpose.

"The way CEMS enlarged its reach to all corners of the planet, embracing the values of sustainability and responsibility, together with innovation and inclusive community spirit, reflects how CEMS is a very special organization that brings the world together. Let’s celebrate the 35th anniversary with joy and pride!"

Keeping it in the CEMS Family

In 35 years CEMS has become a close community much like our families. Academics, alumni and corporate partners seeing family members follow in their footsteps are becoming community members in turn.  One family sees a trio of sons join the HKUST CEMS MIM program as the springboard to their careers. The Wiedenmann brothers, Pierre (2016), Francois (2018), and Frederic (2020). The myriad of experiences that Pierre encountered while studying in Hong Kong inspired both his younger brothers to follow in his footsteps. Like other CEMSies, this band of brothers are destined to be leaders in their respective fields, to make positive impacts within society, and to relay the spiritual flame of CEMS to the next generation!

 “CEMS was the perfect program to deepen my international exposure, all while teaching me essential skills in business and management which I use on a daily basis in my work. I can now confidently say that I would be able to work in any country, in any environment and be successful in my endeavours.”  - Frederic Wiedenmann

Finding Inspiration in Flight

CEMS Connections can happen anywhere anytime and this was true for Professor Zoltan Buzady. Zoltan, a seasoned traveller, happened to bump into a CEMSie, Gergely K at 20,000 feet in the air, en route to Kazakhstan. Gregly K, is a CEMS graduate of Corvinus University of Budapest pursuing an international career and works as a financial professional expert for a global company. This chance encounter led to them ­discussing common experiences, future ideas, and possible collaborations! 

Graduating both from LSE and HEC, Zoltan now teaches in the field of leadership development and  Flow using the FLIGBY method. He has taught at various CEMS Schools including HSG, WU, ESADE,  SGH, VSE.  Zoltan is inspired by CEMS and continues to inspire others with his research portfolio and expertise in Central Asian markets. He says, "Whilst most of us have very little information and experience about the Central Asian countries, the fact is that their geo-political significance has grown gradually during the past 30 years of independence."

Professor Zoltan’s thesis on Kazakhstan is soon to be published in the 2023 Global Leadership Practices book, edited by the CEMS faculty group.

CEMS Challenges

For Henrique Henares (FGV/HSG ) the CEMS journey started like any other CEMSie. But due to family financial issues Henrique found himself in a unique position. To gain his CEMS degree he would have to complete one year worth of the CEMS MIM in only one semester! Living far from the university and working hard to complete the degree, Henrique passed all 10 courses! From there he went to Miami and then to St. Gallen and HEC. Now he works for CEMS CP Gartner. Well done Henrique! 

His personal tips for resilience include
1. Persevere through unplanned life events
2. Be responsible for your own work
3. Build a support system and use it
4. Do not procrastinate - get it done today
5. Practice Time Management - find your system

✨ 2023 CEMS Alumni of the Year Awards: Nominations now open!✨

Who inspires you? Celebrate the diverse success of our CEMS alumni 🎓, by submitting your nomination of CEMS Alumni of the Year today! The awards are presented annually to outstanding alumni in recognition of excellent contributions to promote one or many of the CEMS values.

CEMS Alumni Award Categories
 1. Junior Alumni Award (1 to 5 years)
2. Mid-Career Alumni Award (6 to 15 years)
3. Senior Alumni Award (16 to 30+ years)

Nominations close September 8th. 

Nominate and highlight our alumni who shine HERE

“Ivey has a rich tradition of excellence and joining the CEMS community pushed us to be even better. Winning the CEMS School of the Year in our second year was a testament to how willing our partners were in how to deliver a great program experience. The opportunity transformed our School. Not only did it bring the world regularly to Ivey in a way that went far beyond “just an exchange”, it inspired us to think big about our own programs. The Ivey MSc has been our internal innovation platform and without CEMS it probably remains an idea, not a reality.”

Darren Meister - Associate Dean, Faculty Development at the Ivey Business School