Dean of the University of Sydney Business School, Professor Greg Whitwell, has been appointed Deputy Chair of the CEMS global alliance, a unique network of 30 of the world's leading higher education institutions.
Professor Whitwell's appointment was announced in Stockholm during the CEMS annual event and Graduation Ceremony, widely regarded as “a gathering, in its size and scope, without parallel in the field of international business education”.
The event will be held outside of Europe for the first time next year when it is hosted by the University of Sydney Business School. It is expected to attract more than a thousand students, their parents and some of the world's most distinguished academics.
Professor Whitwell said he felt "honoured to be appointed the inaugural Deputy Chair of CEMS" and that he is very much looking forward to working with the new Chair, Professor Eugenia Bieto, the first female to lead CEMS.
Professor Bieto is the Director General of Spain's ESADE Business School.
Commenting on the significance of his appointment, Professor Whitwell said, "to have an Australian in this new role is testimony to the truly global aspect of the alliance and recognition by member schools of the University of Sydney Business School's commitment to CEMS".
The Business School is the only Australian member of the Paris based alliance which also includes more than 70 corporate partners.
CEMS was founded 28 years ago as a pan-European organisation but has since become a global grouping with members in South Korea, Canada, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Chile and Brazil as well as Australia.
CEMS member schools are accredited to deliver a "globally integrated" Master in International Management (MIM) Program to around 1,200 students from more than 60 nations annually. CEMS graduates must be professionally competent in three languages and have studied for their MIM at least two member schools in different countries.
"In the face of what seems an increasingly divided world, CEMS strongly believes that business schools should join together and collaborate to produce a generation of leaders who are global citizens, who have experienced first-hand the benefits of cultural diversity, and who have put into practice the notion of inclusive leadership," said Professor Whitwell.
A recent survey of International HR managers commissioned by CEMS found that nearly half of (46 percent) struggle to find good global candidates with an international outlook. Culture shock and language barriers are also big challenges for employees on overseas assignments.
The answer, according to the head of the CEMS Academic Committee, the University of Sydney Business Schools Deputy Dean (Education) Professor John Shields, is the Alliance's global education model.
Cutting edge businesses now seek out graduates who are agile, adaptable, culturally intelligent and socially responsible; graduates who can successfully navigate ambiguity and think and act way outside of the square.
"CEMS provides its students with a unique blend of global mobility, experiential learning, responsible leadership development and real time application to practice. Little wonder then that CEMS graduates are at the front of the job queue - or more frequently still, talent spotted prior to graduation," Professor Shields said.
Turning to CEMS' decision to hold its 2017 graduation in Sydney, Professor Whitwell described it as "significant in many ways".
"It will be the first time that the graduation ceremony will take place outside of Europe and it will be the first time in the Southern Hemisphere and the first time in summer," he said. "The meeting will have a different vibe and it will allow us to showcase an extraordinary city and a world-class business school."
During the Stockholm event, the student-managed Sydney CEMS Club was declared the world's leading CEMS Club in the second semester of 2016 for its efforts to raise funds for an organisation that builds schools in Africa.
Sydney Club president, Alicia Berger, described the win as "very exciting". She went on to point out that this was the first award of its type to go to a Club outside of Europe.
"We won because we worked together like a real family with a shared vision," Alicia said.
"This prestigious global award is a fantastic achievement which evidences our commitment to supporting high quality extra-curricular activities for our students," concluded Associate Dean (Graduate Management), Associate Professor Philip Seltsikas.
"The students themselves have worked extremely hard at making the CEMS Club Sydney the best it can be and we're very proud of them in getting Sydney to the top."