Africa: Vital to CEIBS’ Internationalisation Strategy

BY: Naa Lamiley Bentil
A WELA Class
A WELA Class

In just 25 years, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) has earned a spot among globally recognised training institutions with a focus on transforming businesses and economies across the world, particularly in Asia, Europe and Africa.

And in Africa, CEIBS’ impact is already being felt by the hundreds of students who have enrolled in the school’s various programmes since its Africa campus was opened in Ghana’s capital, Accra, in 2008.

They are part of the school’s more than 22,000-member alumni network spread across 80 countries around the globe.

“When you enrol in a CEIBS programme, whether it's the MBA, EMBA or a shorter course for business executives or women entrepreneurs, at the end of the day you become a part of something much, much larger,” said CEIBS European President Professor Dipak Jain.

And you can be confident that, whether you study at our campuses in China, Africa, or Switzerland, the quality is assured.”

Over the years, the Financial Times (FT), Bloomberg Businessweek and Forbes Magazine have all ranked CEIBS full-time MBA programme, offered from its flagship campus in Shanghai, the ultimate business programme in Asia.

The programme is now ranked fifth in the world in the Financial Times’ latest ranking of MBAs, the highest spot ever achieved by an Asian business school.

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The FT also ranked the CEIBS Global EMBA fifth worldwide, making CEIBS the only business school in Asia and only a handful globally who have ever accomplished this feat of holding dual fifth place spots.

Both the MBA and EMBA programmes have had students from Africa over the years, but CEIBS also plays a major role in educating the continent’s women entrepreneurs through its WELA programme and a wide range of business executives who benefit from its shorter executive education courses.

So far, more than 500 graduates have been trained at the school’s Accra campus.


These achievements notwithstanding, Professor Jain told the Daily Graphic in an interview that “the best days of CEIBS are ahead”.

With 25 years of experience at some of the world’s best business schools, including Kellogg and INSEAD, Prof Jain sees something “special” in CEIBS: an international school with a clear focus on China.

“CEIBS has a great potential to be truly international.

It has a historical link to China and Europe and it recognises the importance of providing business education in today’s Africa.

We see a clear link between China, Europe and Africa,” he stated.

The US is the other piece of the global puzzle.

In his role as the school’s European President, Prof Jain said he has a responsibility to enhance CEIBS’ global visibility, strengthen the school’s European and African initiatives, as well as create a stronger link to the USA.

“For a business school today to be global you need links to America, and given my experience working there for so many years we are creating partnerships with different American universities so that our students – both in China and Africa – also experience what is happening in America and Europe,” he said.

“CEIBS has played a major role, over the last 25 years, in providing the managerial talent the Chinese economy needed for growth and development.

These are lessons that the school’s leadership feels it can share with Africa”, he stated.

Vice President and Dean Prof Ding Yuan explained, “CEIBS is the only top business school from an emerging market which can provide Africans with substantial insight into how to do business in another emerging market.

“The fact that China is currently the second largest global economy even while still considered an emerging market, makes it an even more fertile source of lessons to be learned”, he added.

Dean Ding expressed confidence that as long as China remained a major economic player, CEIBS would continue to be relevant to Africa and Asia.

The school’s rapid growth, he said, was a result of a strategic focus on strengthening its faculty and its global expansion into Africa and Europe.


The Executive Director of CEIBS Africa, Prof Mathew Tsamenyi, believes the school has played an interesting role within the African context.

Prof Tsamenyi, who is also Professor of Management Practice in Accounting said “CEIBS is the only business school in Africa offering top five globally ranked programmes on the ground.

“Our Global EMBA brings together the most senior people from very reputable institutions around the globe.

What we offer that no other business school can match is expertise on China, what we refer to as China Depth.

“We provide that within a global content, and that is our Global Breadth.

China is the second largest economy in the world today and cannot be neglected”, he stated.

According to him “Anyone who wants to be in the China market or do business with the Chinese must first look to CEIBS.

“We provide practical experience and knowhow that will bring transformation to businesses and corporations.

For example, here at CEIBS Africa, we recently launched the Doing Business in Africa Survey in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Chartered Accountants (CIMA)”, he added.

Alumni experience

Mrs Dzifa Anyasor, CEO of Ultimate Credit Solutions, and Mr Carl Sackey, Product Development Manager, GCNet, are among the roughly 500 people in Africa who have so far benefited from studying at CEIBS.

Before attending the Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa (WELA) programme in 2012, Mrs Anyasor had a staff strength of 60 operating in seven branches but with an annual turnover of between GH₵1.5 to GH₵2 million.

After the training however, Ultimate Credit Solution trimmed its workers to 20 and reduced the number of branches to three.

However, Mrs Anyasor said, the company was now making an annual turnover of about GH₵5 million.

“CEIBS is a school every entrepreneur should attend.

Since 2012, month on month, I can interpret my own accounts and that is how much CEIBS can equip entrepreneurs.

I was confident of being a good manager but after our session in Shanghai, I discovered I was not.

So, my husband, Dominic had to take up the managerial role,” she explained.

Mrs Anyasor said CEIBS empowered her to take full control of her business by understanding virtually all the facets involved, and this has enabled her company to grow.

“One of the important things I was able to do after the training was to eliminate theft in my company. Right now, it is impossible to steal inside my organisation.”

She said she has also benefited immensely from being part of the CEIBS alumni network, which continues to give her support and fresh knowledge through exchange programmes, seminars and fun trips.

Mr Sackey’s work initially revolved around the technical aspect of IT and he received much-needed training for a managerial position during his CEIBS EMBA.

“CEIBS teaches you entrepreneurship, an appreciation of the service market and how to reinvent yourself.

One of the many wonderful things that a CEIBS education has offered me is the rich and enormous network that has opened up to me not just here in Africa but also across the world in places like China, Switzerland, India and the USA,” he said.


CEIBS offers a range of programmes from its five campuses in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Zurich and Accra as well as its various electives and modules in other major global cities.

Its Company Specific Programmes (CSP), for example, are carefully designed to address the challenges and opportunities facing business and corporate leaders who operate in dynamic economic and geopolitical environments like that of Africa.

Students and lecturers work together to co-design and implement programmes that meet their unique challenges, priorities and opportunities.

With a diverse international and African faculty possessing deep industry knowledge, CEIBS delivers a learning solution that brings tangible and relevant business and industry specific results.

Meanwhile the CEIBS Global EMBA Programme, which has been ranked top 20 globally for nine consecutive years (2010-2018), is a 20-month programme specially designed for senior executives and entrepreneurs.

CEIBS is the only top 20 global business school with an on-the-ground Global Executive MBA where students take core modules in Zurich, Accra, Shanghai and Dubai, with global electives in New York, Silicon Valley, Sao Paolo, New Delhi and Munich.

Advanced Management Programme

The Advanced Management Programme (AMP) for Africa, meanwhile, aims to provide executives with general management perspectives, systematic management knowledge, frameworks for strategic thinking and hands-on management tools.

The programme comprises five modules run over five months in four cities: Accra, Lagos, Casablanca and Shanghai.

Ideal candidates for this practice-oriented programme are Africa based CEOs, Executive Directors/General Managers of fast-growing enterprises, Senior Managers or Executives, Department Heads and Regional Directors of big multinationals, Directors of Public Enterprises, Country Heads, Directors and Deputy Directors of International NGOs, as well as Board members.

Then there is the CEIBS Owner Director Programme, which provides owners or directors of businesses the opportunity to share, learn and network with colleagues across various industries on key concepts that affect the survival and growth of their businesses.

The programme comprises four modules run over four months in three cities: Accra, Lagos and Shanghai and the ideal candidates for this practice-oriented programme are CEOs, Managing Directors, Chairmen, Presidents and Executive Directors of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based in Africa.

The Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Africa (WELA) Programme provides world-class management training focused on strengthening competencies in project design and management, finance, entrepreneurial marketing and innovation as well as leadership and business sustainability.

The programme is comprised of four three-day modules taught in Accra and/or Lagos, Johannesburg, Casablanca during weekends of every other month.

The fifth and final module is taught at the CEIBS Shanghai campus.

The China immersion module, which is an integral part of the programme, allows WELA candidates the opportunity to immense themselves into the Chinese market through a 12-day visit to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Yiwu. In Hangzhou, the group spends five days at the Alibaba headquarters where they participate in the Alibaba Netpreneur programme.

CEIBS also offers an MBA from its Shanghai campus. This is a world-class, 18-month, full-time MBA Programme taught in English and designed to prepare talented professionals who have strong career aspirations, promising managerial potential, and a clear international orientation for post-graduation roles as global business leaders.

There is also a 12-month alternative which is an intensive academic option that has electives front-loaded during the third and fourth terms of the first year, the summer internship period is shortened, and the exchange term is eliminated.

Applicants from Africa may take advantage of a number of scholarships available for international MBA students.