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Taking care of business

By He Wei and Ma Zhenhuan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-12-18 10:14:31
Taking care of business

Nueno (center) and his partners at the founding ceremony for CEIBS's Shanghai campus. Provided to China Daily

My China Dream | Pedro Nueno

Seeing parallels between Europe's post-war industrialization and China's reform and opening-up period, a Spanish entrepreneur founded a school to promote global commerce. He Wei and Ma Zhenhuan report in Shanghai.

China Europe International Business School's president Pedro Nueno says he recognized China's potential in his first week in Beijing three decades ago. What he saw then reminded him of his childhood in Barcelona, Spain, when the city was undergoing massive industrialization after the recession in the late 1940s.

He remembers smoke puffing from chimneys and black soot flakes falling. People wore blue, or green, striped company uniforms. Night markets sold street food underneath the glare of bare light bulbs.

"I felt motivated by what I saw," Nueno recalls. "I was convinced that China had potential. Look, if we did it, this country can."

This led Nueno to devote his life to his education project in China, he explains, gazing across CEIBS' roof at the vast Shanghai campus that did not exist two decades ago.

The Spaniard was a curiosity to the Chinese when he lived in Beijing at the start of the reform and opening-up in the 1980s, but the feeling was mutual.

He wanted to learn about the country by opening a school.

His vision has created campuses in Beijing and Shanghai attended by 1,000 students a year, and an upcoming projects in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

The school started in Beijing in 1984 with a two-year MBA program.

Nueno believed the fledging market economy would generate demand among the nascent business management set.

The process was slow at first.

Taking care of business

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