Teaching corporate governance in Shanghai

I spent last weekend teaching at one of the best business schools in China — CEIBS in Shanghai.  CEIBS stands for the China European International Business School. Their new dean is John Quelch, a friend of mine from Harvard Business School.

CEIBS has a lovely campus on the Pudong side of the river–with white buildings interspersed with grass and reflecting pools.  This was a serene environment for debate and thinking, quite removed from the hustle of Shanghai street life.

The students were all working at jobs within China — middle-level management to general managers. The course was on corporate governance.  And the objective of many students was to take their companies public. 

But the companies were often controlled by government agencies and families.  So we spent a lot of time discussing the tensions between what these control group wanted and treating minority shareholders fairly.

I was quite impressed by the quality of the students and their desire to understand good practices on governance issues.  On the basis of these young people, we should look forward to better governance in Chinese public companies.

Bob Pozen is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His latest book, Extreme Productivity, is now available at your favorite local or online bookstore.

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