May 6, 2011. Jinqiao Office Park, Pudong -- Clad in the crisp khaki outfits that they will wear during the gruelling competition from May 15-19 the CEIBS team members who will participate in Gobi Challenge 2011 gathered today for an enthusiastic Morale Building Departure Ceremony. The 57-member strong CEIBS team -- the school’s largest Gobi team ever -- is expected to be the largest among the 18 participating schools.
Prof. Zhu Xiaoming
They were joined by members of CEIBS Management Committee Executive President Prof. Zhu Xiaoming, Vice President and Co-Dean Prof. Zhang Weijiong and Associate Dean Prof. Xu Dingbo (who will again be a team leader this year). Other school officials present included Director of Alumni Relations Wang Qingjiang and Professor of Finance Zhang Yimin (who is also among the competitors).
Today’s grand ceremony, an affair full of camaraderie, laughter and team spirit, was also attended by VIP event sponsors Mr. Chen Yao, Party Committee Secretary, Double Coin Holdings Ltd; and Mr. Zhang Wanyou, the company’s Vice General Manager. Also in attendance were former Gobi Challenge competitors, members of EMBA 2011, as well as some of the more than 200 cheerleaders who will be shouting ‘jia you!’ from the sidelines of the contest. Throughout the Gobi Challenge’s 5-year history, CEIBS has participated four times; taking the top prize in 2009 and again in 2010.
Today, in an inspirational address, CEIBS Executive President Zhu told the competitors of the great significance that he attaches to the Gobi competition. He has secured the use of a satellite telephone to guarantee members’ safety, and has been at the forefront of negotiations that ensured that ICS TV is the exclusive media for the event. An ICS documentary crew will be with the teams during the trek, the first time that a TV station will provide such extensive coverage. Prof. Zhu is convinced that strong support from the school, and school executives, is an important driver for team members.
“Winning is not the ultimate goal during the Gobi Challenge,” Prof. Zhu said. “The most important thing is learning from other competitors, and challenging yourself.” The contest was an excellent opportunity, he added, to showcase the CEIBS spirit and brand. To encourage competitors, Prof. Zhu then used his IPad to write -- and immediately email to each team member -- the words “Chu Zhen” which roughly means “On Your Marks!”
Prof. Zhu also made a RMB100 thousand donation to the 6th Gobi Desert Crossing Challenge Team and CEIBS Gobi Desert Crossing Challenge Association.
The Gobi Challenge has become a valuable cultural event and test of physical endurance for EMBA students from China and global business schools. The trek retraces Monk Xuan Zang’s arduous Tang Dynasty pilgrimage through the Gobi Desert 1,300 year ago.
The afternoon event got underway with alumni representative Mr. Zhu Xiaoming announcing the team leaders; then addresses by Double Coin Holdings’ Mr. Chen Yao and CEIBS’ Director Wang Qingjiang were among the speeches made.
One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of certificates, by CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean Prof. Zhang Weijiong, to outstanding team members from former competitions. Those lauded in the “Greatest Contribution” category included: Jiao Shen, Zeng Liqing, Lu Jiangning, Liu Xunfeng, and Song Ping. Meanwhile, the “Most Frequent Participant” award was presented to: Gobi 2 team, Gobi 3 team, Gobi 4 team, Gobi 5 team, Wang Yaohai, Liang Bixia, Zhu Yuan, Zhou Yingxu.
Later, after CEIBS Alumni Association and the ShuangQian Group signed a sponsorship agreement, team leader Chen Libo received the flag from Prof. Zhu Xiaoming, and together with all the challenge participants, swore the oath: 'Shouldering the expectations of thousands of alumni, the 6th Gobi Desert Crossing Challenge Team will bear in mind the school leaders’ exhortations, and live up to the tradition and spirit of previous CEIBS teams. For the ideals and beliefs, the glory of CEIBS and the dream of the team, we will do our best, move forward, and are determined to win.'
Prof. Xu Dingbo
The oath elicited vigorous cheering from the audience, especially the cheerleaders. With the important task of keeping team members’ spirits up, the cheerleaders are also impressive in that they participate at their own expense. During today’s ceremony, Prof. Xu Dingbo presented them with a flag in recognition of their support.
Also during the ceremony, certificates were presented to CEIBS team members and alumni in recognition of their efforts in helping to raise RMB 461,000 that was donated to the Yanshi government to build Yanshi CEIBS High School. CEIBS Gobi Desert Crossing Challenge Association and CEIBS Alumni Charity Union got involved with the project to show their appreciation to the Luoyang Yanshi government for its strong support of the Gobi Challenge.
After all the speeches and awards, the Morale Building Ceremony ended with a dinner full of laughter and good cheer.