Johnson at Cornell University and CKGSB Form Unique Partnership as U.S. and China Compete Economically

ITHACA, NEW YORK (February 12, 2015) –  

An Ivy League University MBA program and leading Chinese business school join forces to create an immersion program for family businesses. The Smith Family Business Initiative (SFBI) at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and China’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) have formed a partnership that will immerse next-generation leaders from American, Chinese and international family businesses in a unique, cross-cultural, executive education program called iLEAD — Intergenerational Leadership Entrepreneurial Accelerated Development. The program is a landmark collaboration of two of the world’s most respected institutions. It was created to help bridge the business and cultural gaps between the countries, and follows the International Monetary Fund’s October 2014 announcement that China surpassed the U.S. as the number one global economy.

“We are very excited that Cornell and CKGSB are partnering on the design and delivery of iLEAD,” said CKGSB Dean Bing Xiang. “The result will be a powerful combination effectively positioning participants from family businesses and high- net-worth families to network and master wealth over generations. Participants will benefit from the rare opportunity to interact directly with top global wealth creators, CEOs, business leaders, and subject matter experts while creating long-lasting business and networking opportunities with their iLEAD peers.”

“CKGSB has a keen understanding of the business world today, and their global expertise and faculty will make iLEAD the only program of its kind in the world,” said Elizabeth A. Mannix, associate dean for Executive Education and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Management at Johnson.

iLEAD prepares 20-30 next-generation leaders of primarily U.S. and Chinese family businesses for ever-increasing responsibilities in a complex global business environment. The program begins with 11 days in the U.S. in June and moves to China for another 11 days in July. In both countries, participants will meet with and work alongside senior executives from leading global companies such as Alibaba, Fosun, Lenovo, NYSE, Google, Tiffany & Co., and Brooks Brothers.

“Often faced with the burden of legacy, family enterprises need to be vigilant about constant innovation, be it in the first generation, second generation, or any subsequent generation,” said Daniel Van Der Vliet, founding director of the Smith Family Business Initiative. “Our new program, iLEAD, will help leaders of legacy businesses to understand that enduring, cross-cultural collaboration is necessary to be successful in this shifting global economy.”

For more information visit iLead at Johnson Cornell or iLead at CKGSB, or contact Daniel Van Der Vliet, founding director of the Smith Family Business Initiative, at 607-255-4881 or

About the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University is a leader in innovative business education for the connected world. Consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world, Johnson offers six MBA programs, spanning North America, Mexico, and China. Its two most recent innovations in MBA education are the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA in New York City, and a dual-degree MBA/FBA with Tsinghua University in Beijing. Johnson is home to the renowned academic journal Administrative Science Quarterly; its 59 full-time, tenure-track faculty members conduct award-winning research and educate some 650 MBA and PhD students each year.

Founded in 2014 from a generous gift from John and Dyan Smith, the Smith Family Business Initiative provides education, networking and research for family business owners, successors and students from across the globe.

About Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)

Established in Beijing in November 2002 with generous support from the Li Ka Shing Foundation, CKGSB is a private, nonprofit, independent educational institution. The school offers innovative MBA, Finance MBA, Executive MBA, Finance EMBA, DBA and Executive Education programs. CKGSB’s mission is to generate differentiated insights through engaging its world-class faculty who are global authorities in their respective fields, with the goal of developing existing and aspiring business leaders for a new era of global business both in China and beyond.

Over the past 12 years, CKGSB has developed into a prominent business school with over 43 full-time professors who have received over 67 global academic awards and whose research has provided the basis for over 300 case studies of both China-specific and global issues. More than half of the 7,000 CKGSB alumni are at the CEO or chairman level and, collectively, lead one-fifth of China’s most valuable brands. Together, their companies shape over $1 trillion in annual revenue. Last but not least, nine of the 25 individuals voted as the Most Influential Business Leaders of China by China Entrepreneur Magazine 2013 were CKGSB alumni, demonstrating the impact and influence of the institution.  In addition to its main campus in the center of Beijing, it has campuses in Shanghai and Shenzhen and offices in Hong Kong, London and New York. For more information, visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s