Harvard Prof Becomes Dean of CEIBS

Harvard Professor John Quelch teaching at CEIBS last year. He takes over the deanship of CEIBS in February of 2011.

The highest ranking business school in China–China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)–scored a coup today by recruiting Harvard professor John A. Quelch as its new dean. Quelch, who brings experience to the job as the former dean of London Business School, will assume the post in February.

This is the first time a Chinese school has successfully hired a former dean of a major business school. The hire will bring immediate prestige and attention to what many observers consider the best MBA program in China. Poets&Quants currently ranks the school 14th on its non-U.S. best business school list. Forbes already ranks the Shanghai-based CEIBS tenth among the best business schools outside the U.S.  with two-year MBA programs. The Economist ranks the school 100th in the world, while The Financial Times puts it at 22nd, tied with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

CEIBS is a relative newcomer to the world of MBA education. It enrolled its first 61 MBA students in 1995. The following year, it became the first school in mainland China to accept international students in an MBA program. Two years ago, in 2008, the school finally won accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). CEIBS is still a small MBA program, graduating 188 students in its Class of 2010. The average GMAT score for enrolled students in the Class of 2012 is 691. About 56% of those students are from mainland China, with 15% from Europe and 7% from the U.S.

For Quelch, taking over the top job at CEIBS won’t be a complete culture shock. He was a visiting professor at CEIBS last year, an opportunity for him to get a close look at the school and for the school to get an equally close look at him. Between 1998 and 2001, he served as dean of the London Business School, and between, 2001 and 2008, as senior associate dean at Harvard Business School. Before his administrative jobs at both London and Harvard, Quelch was co-chair of the marketing unit at Harvard Business School. Quelch declined comment, saying he wanted to stay mum until he assumes the job, out of respect for Rolf Cremer, who has been CEIBS dean for six years.

As dean of London Business School, Quelch had a transformative impact. He brought a distinctly American approach to the school, by focusing on strategic initiatives that boosted London’s revenues and raised its international profile. In three years, he managed to increase the school’s revenues by 50%, partly by more deeply engaging the school’s alums.  When he arrived at London, the school didn’t have a single alumni chapter. When Quelch left, there were 35 alumni associations around the world. The school didn’t have any when he arrived. One alumnus even donated office space in Silicon Valley for visiting students and faculty to set up camp. Quelch also revamped the Career Management Service, which had gone without a director for more than two years.

Known for his teaching materials at Harvard, Quelch’s case studies in marketing have sold more than 3.4 million copies, the third highest in HBS history. In 1995, he developed the first HBS interactive CD-ROM exercise on Intel’s advertising budgeting process. In 1999, he developed and presented a series of 12 one-hour programs on marketing management for the Public Broadcasting System.

Professor Quelch was born in London, England, was educated at Exeter College, Oxford University (BA and MA), the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (MBA), the Harvard School of Public Health (MS) and Harvard Business School (DBA). In addition to the UK and USA, he has lived in Australia and Canada.

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