How much Growth trough trade with China?

Dear reader

I wonder if you are aware that the trade between Switzerland and China accounts for 4% of the annual Swiss GDP. And did you know that the Chinese manufacturing labor costs (2014) were higher than those in Romania? Chinese labor costs rose by an annual average of 17% in 12 years. The old rule of thumb that China is [only] a manufacturer and [only] sells in Europe is not true anymore.

China is an economy that increasingly focuses on services and that is one reason why many Chinese companies are suddenly investing in Europe. There are, however, obstacles for Chinese companies when they are trying to enter other overseas markets. They often need to overcome hurdles such as claims of ideological incompatibility, concerns that they are threats to national security and suggestions of unfair competition.

All these questions formed the background for the CEIBS 2nd Europe Forum on May 20 in Zurich (which was the second of four stops: Munich, Zurich, London and Paris). From early in the morning, some 240 people gathered at UBS’s renowned conference center building located a stone’s throw away from the legendary “Paradeplatz,” the heart of Switzerland’s financial center.

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-2
The morning was filled with talks and panel discussions; the afternoon was rounded out with excellent presentations such as the one given by Nicolas Musy. He is the co-founder and President of the Board at Swiss Center Shanghai. He drew on the findings of the Center’s latest survey, which included interesting and surprising insights such as the ones I have mentioned in the first paragraph.

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-4
You’ll find a longer summary of the morning sessions on the CEIBS website (including the speeches by H.E. Geng Wenbing, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, People’s Republic of China to Switzerland, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary and Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Prof. Ding Yuan, as well as two panel discussions).

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-35.jpg

In the morning, Prof. Ding Yuan said that the main motives for Chinese companies to go abroad were to obtain resources and skills that they can then use to perform even better in their home market. In the afternoon, the challenges for foreign companies working in China were the subject of four workshops.

The first was on the challenges of working in private and China’s state-owned enterprises. It was presented by John-James Farquharson, Head of Corporate H.R. at Conzzeta AG, Zurich.


He explained how SASAC, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, supervises 117 companies worth 15 trillion USD and highlighted a few specific state-owned enterprise (SOE) characteristics, like the fact that they tend to discuss the numbers and top-down objectives whereas Western companies usually know the numbers and discuss objectives. And the fact that they are caught in the dilemma of being profitable while keeping people employed. If any company starts working with an SOE, they must be able to deal with organization complexity and ambiguity and also be willing to spend time in remote places.

In addition, Angela Qu, Group Vice President for Supply Chain Management, ABB, spoke about supply chain management challenges in the Chinese market, Peter Lennhag, President of Asia Pacific Executive Advisors, unveiled his six winning strategies for companies in China, and Jean-Luc Meier, co-founder of “Strategic Expansion Solutions,” spoke about corporate diplomacy in China.

You’ll find more pictures and a video on our website.


Peter Lorange

Hiring strategies: how to find talents among Generation Y / Millenials

Dear reader

A few weeks ago we organized a workshop on millennials called „Generation Y“ with speakers such as book author Steffi Burkhart („The Y-Mindset“) and Generation Y speaker Simon Schnetzer. (there is a picture gallery on our website)

Generation Y Millenials Workshop with Steffi Burkhart and Simon Schnetzer

Both Steffi Burkhart and Simon Schnetzer emphasized that millennials were literally everywhere – not only in media, blogs and the like. More than that, millennials are likely to make up have of all employees by 2020 and rising.

Steffi Burkhart und Simon Schnetzer über Generation Y

This is more than paying with numbers. Let’s think about what it means for the recruiting process.

Professional services companies have always known that people are the sources of their competitive advantage. That is the reason why they invest heavily in them. Millennials have an entirely different approach to job searching, using mobile phones and social media platforms at the expense of desktops and job boards.

The question is: how can employers reach out to millennials? The answer is as simple as challenging: a compelling employer brand is essential.

Employer brand strategies are increasingly multi-channel to appeal to digital natives. Career sites must lead with a highly visual brand message. Disruptive recruitment marketing campaigns and gamified elements challenge conventions.  And finally, real people stories shed light on life inside the company and give the company a human face.

A leading example for a millennial employer branding strategy is the german SAP.

Over the past two years, the company has increased its appeal to millennials by changing its communication style, pushing out a strong brand message and increasing their visibility and transparency.

As a tech company that doesn’t have a public-facing product, SAP knew they had to improve the way they communicate, increase their visibility, and up their transparency to appeal to the younger millennial.  Here’s in brief how they got there:

They merged the branding department with the global sourcing team. By merging the two divisions, SAP was able to communicate better with the talents they were trying to attract by addressing their concerns, challenges and needs ahead of the game.

They redesigned their careers website and changed the model to a much more visual one with a tailored approach and pushed new brand messaging out on social media.

They democratized their college recruiting process and started using big data to inform the process. Now with upwards of half a million active members in their talent community, SAP has a big talent base to build from going forward.

Some may complain about these developments and think with nostalgic memories of the ‚good old days’ where people were hired with a printed job advertisement and the telephone. In such I case I to refer to Charles Dickens who wrote in the „Tale of two Cities“ ‚It was the best of times, it was the worst of times‘. That’s why I say: it depends on us whether times are the best or the worst. Also when it comes to recruiting millennials.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

(Sources: E.Smykal / S. Matthews /

What’s the link between Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann and the Lorange Institute?

Dear reader

What an honor: Swiss President Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann ended his three-day official visit to China with a keynote speech at the Sino-Swiss Innovation forum hosted by the China Europe International Business School.

The forum explored the new opportunities for innovation and cross-border investment available for China and Switzerland in an increasingly globalised and digitised world.

Johann Schneider-Amman duales Bildungssystem

President Schneider-Ammann spoke of the “ingredients” that had earned Switzerland a reputation of being “one of the most innovative countries in the world” – its vibrant private sector, funding agencies such as the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Commission for Technology and Innovation, the Swiss educational system and the country’s “world class research institutions”.

With innovation being so important to both countries, the Swiss President added that CEIBS, with its “world-class expertise in education,” has a role to play in promoting ties between the two countries and he said he was „pleased that CEIBS now has a European campus in Switzerland thanks to the acquisition of the Lorange Institute, which gives us a strong base for cooperation in innovation management and we look forward to welcoming more CEIBS students and alumni to discover the Swiss innovation economy.”

I could not have said it any better especially when I think of the study project, which explored the issue of Smart Manufacturing and which has already been completed in Switzerland and Germany since we have become a member of the CEIBS Group.

There is a longer report about the visit of the Swiss President on our website.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

Building bridges between Europe and China

Dear reader

Some time ago I announced that I would share a few personal thoughts about our deal with CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School.

Repeatedly, I was asked about my motivation for this move. Now, why did we choose this option? There are two reasons that I would like to explain in greater detail. One reason is personal, the second reason is strategic.

The personal reason has to do with my age. Soon I will be 73 years old and, as any business owner, I am interested in the ownership’s succession. The idea of an international network was always very important to me and this idea is key to understanding the Lorange Institute of Business which has no permanent faculty and is, therefore, closely connected with many other business schools in Europe and overseas. One of these business schools is CEIBS in Shanghai.


Signing the contracts with CEIBS Dean Yuan Ding, our CEO Ph. Boksberger (top left) and CEIBS President Pedro Nueno (back middle)

A key person in my international network is Pedro Nueno. He not only holds the Chengwei Ventures Chair of Entrepreneurship, but has been a member of the CEIBS Board of Directors and Chairman of the Academic Council of CEIBS ever since 1994. He was also a fellow of mine when we did our doctorate in business administration at Harvard in 1973. So, you can see the need to think about ownership succession, the idea for both a long-term and sustainable strategy for my business school (and its employees), and the fact that a key person in my international network is not only a friend of mine but plays an important role in a business school in *the* market of the future, China, proved decisive for me to take action.

The latter brings me to the second reason for my decision. As I just said, China and many other countries in the so-called Far East are the markets of the future, not only for commodities and consumer goods, but also for education. Europe is a somewhat saturated market for postgraduate or continuing education, whereas China is growing. We are, on the one hand, interested in being a player in this market. On the other hand, CEIBS is looking for an entry to the European market, which is part of their vision: to become the most respected international business school by linking East and West. This strategic move will help to strengthen CEIBS’ position internationally. In addition, this helps the Lorange Institute of Business to develop its competences when it comes to China and the rest of Asia.

I feel that this move will further enhance our concept of the ‘business school of the future’ by strengthening the international network of faculty members and business competences with an added focus particularly on key future markets. As of autumn 2016, our new Global Executive MBA will be offered at the Lorange Institute to become a major hub for Chinese-focused business in Switzerland.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

Let’s solve youth unemployment

Dear reader

Employment is one of the key issues of today. Usually, we talk about human capital management, talent retention and alike. But there is a form of wasting talent that affects us all: youth unemployment.

The problem: 60% of surveyed employers across Europe cannot find young candidates with the right soft skills & competencies. 7.5 million young people across Europe are out of a job, training or education. 2 million jobs are vacant and cannot be filled, limiting the growth potential of employers and creating instability for societies.

eYe Training

For this purpose the Circular Society, a Swiss-based for-profit enterprise that applies a business approach to solve social issues and which aims at creating sustainable business and societies, has designed the eYe-training curriculum to find jobs for unemployed youth in Portugal.

Carsten Sudhoff is the founder and CEO of Circular Society and one of the project originators. I know him personally and we, the Lorange Institute of Business, are a partner of Circular Society. Consequently, this partnership resulted in several events that we organized together. The latest event was about interconnected leadership.

As a partner, we also support  the foresighted initiative eYe-training to solve youth unemployment and we recommend that others take there cue from the various supporters.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange



“I figured I couldn’t be fired on my first day”

Dear reader

Have you ever asked yourself, what courage has to do with leadership in organizations today?

Andy Boynton*), Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Managementand Margareta Barchan**), faculty at the Lorange Insitute of Business, asked this question Paul Polman, CEO at Unilever when they sat with him at Unilever’s London headquarters.

Paul Polman knows what courage is. Not only did he become CEO in the heat of the global financial crisis in January 2009 but what he did on his first day required far greater daring.

picture Paul Polman CEO UnileverPaul Polman, CEO

He declared that Unilever shareholders should no longer expect to see quarterly annual reports from the company, along with earnings guidance for the stock market.

„Put your money somewhere else if you don’t want to buy into this long-term value-creation model, which is equitable, which is shared, which is sustainable.” he declared.

I highly recommend this article in FORBES co-authored by Andy Boynton and Margareta Barchan about Unilever’s 10-year Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint.

I wish you good reading!
Peter Lorange

P.S. Click the links in the text or Paul Polman’s picture to get to the Forbes article.

Picture Andy Boynton* Andy Boynton
is Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, one of the world’s leading business schools, the author of several books and co-creator of DeepDive™, the world’s leading methodology for helping executives harness the power of teams to significantly improve problem-solving speed, innovation and results.

Picture Margareta Barchan** Margareta Barchan
has been involved in several successful start-up ventures, including New Angles, a strategic sustainability consulting company and Pioneers of Change, a young professional leadership organization. Margareta is the past CEO of Celemi International, a global learning design company, which she co-founded, and for which she was named Sweden’s Business Woman of the Year. She continues to serve the business and nonprofit sectors in director capacities.

PopupOffice – a Swiss company claims to evolutionize the office world

According to the New York Times, studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative. However, employees, especially younger ones, expect to be able to work remotely. And over all the trend is toward greater workplace flexibility.

The outcry surrounding a decision by the new Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end work-from-home arrangements has shown just how strongly many companies and employees have embraced remote work, but it also underscores tensions between workers’ need for flexibility and their need for visibility.

PopupOffice is the name of a Swiss start-up company which follows the office nomad trend. Office nomads are often self-employed brain workers without an office of their own, sales representatives who travel a lot or home office workers who like to work in an office-like space for a change.

The business idea of PopupOffice is to rent not only office space but also prominent locations which are temporarily available such as galleries. Moreover, clients of PopupOffice become users who will have the opportunity to connect with other clients thus creating an “analog network” in combination with a digital booking tool.

We at the Lorange Institute of Business supported him with a Zurich Living Case. Below you find and interview with PopupOffice founder Mathis Hasler.

Peter Lorange

PopupOffice Logo
Mr Hasler, you signed up  a so-called Living Case, a case study. This is quite unusual for a start-up company?
“Indeed. We founded PopupOffice in March 2015 but started  team building in 2014. The reason why we needed the second opinion was to do with the fact that we hadn’t yet been successful. We were an empty shell. That is why we had to harden the shell. The case study was our hardening agent.

You put your business case under the microscope?
You could put it like that. The results of the case study give our business model a seal of quality. The Lorange Institute is a strong brand and an innovative business school. The market analysis is essential for discussions with potential investors.

How did you find out about the Lorange Institute?
Thanks to my network. A former workmate suggested that our business model should undergo a market analysis and recommended the Lorange Institute of Business. I was very keen on this idea. Students from the Executive MBA program, all with a great deal of managerial experience, write an analysis about our business case. They do it during the course ‘Modern Marketing” in only twelve days. Where else would you receive a paper written by experienced leaders in so little time?

How well matched were you, the innovative start-up company and the established business school?
Very good indeed. The Lorange Institute has proven to be more than a business school. An international faculty meets master’s course students from all over the world and together they build a network. Their innovative spirit and the idea of a network match with the idea of PopupOffice. Our offices are different from the currently used co-working spaces in so far as they become a means of communications and eventually a sales channel. The first is important with regards to the employer branding. Moreover, our customers become users with a profile. To book an office space they log in and after booking the space they become visible to other users. PopupOffice is an all-in platform.

What aspect did you find most  positive in cooperating with the Lorange Institute?
The Living CaseTM study was part of a twelve day marketing block. I even participated in the course for three half-days in the course. We discussed aspects of so-called disruptive innovation business models, which suited the idea of PopupOffice. We are a bit like Uber or irbnb and are trying to break into the real-estate and office market.

Final question: Were you to order a Living CaseTM again what would need  to be different from this one?
Let me put it like this: as a start-up every investment must have a direct return on this investment. In this respect the case study was a delicate matter because all we would get was a paper. Would we be ever capable of quantifying the study on our excel sheet? I therefore wish the business school had given our business even greater visibility in its network.

PopupOffice Work where life happens

New website of the Lorange Institute of Business, a Zurich business school for executive Master of Science and Executive MBA

New Website – New Communication

Dear reader

Recently, I was asked: „Why do you have a new website? The former was easy to navigate etc.…“. We all have habits, and working with a website is a little bit like always sitting on the same chair in a café.

But we are an organization, which must be kept up-to-date like all our products and innovations in the field of studies and pedagogy are kept up-to-date. Needless to say our communications must also meet these requirements and frankly, to me the new site is more intuitive and thus even more user friendly.

Hence, our new website shall reflect the uniqueness of the Lorange Institute and both inform and spur on future participants. It is inspired by our campus on the lakeshore and also by our tailored programs, which are completely based on modularity.

New website of the Lorange Institute of Business, a Zurich business school for executive Master of Science and Executive MBA

  (from left to right: modular study overview, new homesite, video testimonials)

The new website is at the heart of our communications and meets the technological needs of our claim to be the business school of the future. Of course, this includes the mobile aspects of Internet communication, the whole e-learning process and also the design.

I am convinced that with the new website our communication, both internal and external, will help us to communicate faster and more precisely.

I invite you to explore our new website and most of all our new exciting programs.

Peter Lorange

Peter Lorange’s Interview with @Handelszeitung

Dear reader

Two month ago we announced our strategic alliance with CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School. In the meantime several newpapers (FT, Handelszeitung) and news channels (MBA Journal, Top MBA, Global Praxis) reported on the deal. I will shortly come up with a personal statement about this new executive partnership.

In the meantime the Zurich Handelszeitung published an interview with me. I talk about the future of our business school after the cooperation with CEIBS. The interview appeared in the newspapers special supplement MBA. Click on the image to download it. Below, there is an English translation.

All the best,
Peter Lorange

Handelszeitung 26. Februar MBA Special

Source: Special „MBA“ „Handelszeitung“ February 26, 2015 (click to download)

What are the reasons that the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich enters into a strategic alliance with the China Europe International Business School?
Peter Lorange: The key reason is that we are eager to become stronger positioned for the growing markets in China. On a worldwide basis China has been the fastest growing economy, far ahead of our stagnant Europe.

Why is it important for CEIBS to secure access to the European market for further management education?
Peter Lorange: China has invested heavily in Europe, e.g. Volvo passenger cars etc. They feel they need management education training in Europe, for their Chinese executives working here

Is CEIBS holding a stake in the Lorange Institute?
Peter Lorange: CEIBS is gradually taking a stake in The Lorange Institute, as a function of the anticipated success of the strategic alliance.

Are you planning a sale of your Business Institute at a later time?
Peter Lorange: See above, the only Institute I am contemplating a sale to, in due time, is CEIBS.

How will the Lorange Institute profit from a partner in the Far East?
Peter Lorange: We expect a number of Chinese participants see above, and there will also be European executives that will increasingly be attracted to the Lorange Institute given our additional Chinese partnership.

Is your institute becoming a Chinese Business School?
Peter Lorange: No, the Lorange Institute will be run as before with the same management, Dr. Philipp Boksberger to be the CEO/President and as myself as the honorary Chairman

Or, if not your business school, will your programs become Chinese or more Chinese focused?
Peter Lorange: We will continue to run the current programs, but we shall of course add more “Chinese” content where appropriate.

Even prior to your cooperation with CEIBS you organized a day event called „Doing Business in China.“ What was the ambition for this move – or was the day event a first step on a long journey towards such a cooperation?
Peter Lorange: The latter. We realized that we had to be even stronger so we could be alone, hence we became increasingly motivated for this alliance.

What does this strategic alliance means to your „Swiss“ Executive MBA, which is validated by the British Ashridge Business School and which guarantees a Dual Degree accepted in the EU?
Peter Lorange: We do not expect any changes in this.

What can students expect: will there be an exchange program for EMBA students or will there study modules in the form of study trips to one or another CEIBS campus?

Peter Lorange: We are not yet clear on that, but we expect that our EMBA students will be given the opportunity to take modules in China.

Coaching first – right after the arts

Dear reader,

Jörg Reckhenrich_2Joerg Reckhenrich, our faculty member for innovation and creativity management is both committed in art and management: he is an artist and director of the Berlin-based consultancy ‘Strategic Creativity Zurich’ and adjunct professor at the Antwerp Management School. With his profound experience, Joerg has facilitated workshops on creativity and innovation as part of executive education programs  at various business schools, including IMD.

In this article (Joerg is co-author) about coaching, the authors focus on the immense pressure of both companies and institutions which strive for innovation.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.30.31Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.30.22

The authors reflect how coaching today relies on experiences from the arts as we suspect the artist to be a role model for many things: leadership personalities, force of innovation, creativity and stratification of perspectives.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-01 um 16.31.01CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

How art and coaching do interact is explained in the article, which I would like to share with you.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange