From March 27th to 30th, International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) organized a four-day executive education programme for Sodexo China its high-potential managers who are employed all over the country.
Sodexo, a French food services and facilities management multinational corporation headquartered in Paris, is a leading company worldwide in its business, presently on 34,000 sites in 80 countries. In China, Sodexo serves more than 730,000 customers every day with its 16,000 employees. As the company has grown rapidly along with China’s vibrant economy and fast changing social contexts, Sodexo, like other multinationals, faces an ever more demanding and diverse customer base. Thus, it seeks to collaborate with Chinese higher educational institutions to develop joint training programs in order to broaden the perspectives of its management.
Lilly Li, Sodexo’s training manager commented that the development of Sodexo’s employees is crucial for its business success in China. “To ensure that our employees receive the quality of education they deserve, we carefully selected IBSS as our strategic academic partner for our corporate training,” she said.
IBSS Professor Qi Deng, Program Manager for the Sodexo Project added, “We are proud to have the first group of Sodexo site managers being trained by our IBSS professors. The 4-day programme is a true example of the close cooperation between Sodexo and IBSS. Multiple meetings were held between the senior management of Sodexo and the IBSS professors to ensure that the program was truly customized to meet the development needs of the Sodexo Site Managers.”
This pilot executive education program comprised four distinctive modules that involved finance, strategy, leadership-people management, and business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C). It required long and extensive preparation, design, and fine-tuning process of a team of faculty members. IBSS faculty Dr. Dieu Hack-Polay, Dr. Heini Shi, Dr. Paul Howe, Barkely Xu, Lucy Jun Ge, Jean-Yves Le Corre and Sarah Huijuan Peng worked closely with Sodexo China on content development through numerous meetings, preliminary interviews, and on-site visits in Shanghai. This program was managed by IBSS professor Qi Deng, supported by Lillian Wang.
The program delivery started on Friday, March 27 with a strategy module where Dr. Howe explained strategic management theories and models with a business case, followed by a guest speaker covering the applications of the management theories in the food and beverage industry. On Saturday, the finance module was taught Lucy Jun Ge’s, with support of Jean-Yves Le Corre. Having practiced for years in leading accounting firms, Lucy’s lecture was well received by the participants.
The main focus of the Sodexo China programme at XJTLU-IBSS was leadership-people management, the third module, on Sunday March 29. The joint efforts and collaboration between Dr. Dieu Hack-Polay and Huijuan Peng were appreciated; the tools and thorough analysis on competencies provided were useful and hands-on. As most of 2,000 clients of Sodexo China are foreign-invested companies, cross-cultural leadership emerged to be a crucial issue in people and client management. Dr. Heini Shi professional performance inspired the participants to observe and lead from a new perspective and higher latitude.
The fourth and last module on B2B and B2C was delivered by Professor Barkley Xu and a guest speaker. Having served at several multinational corporations, Barkley brought in professional experience very familiar to the everyday life of the managers and offered both strategic and practical insights on the topic.
Upon the completion of the 4-day programme, Sodexo China and IBSS agreed that the initiative is an excellent illustration of the recently signed MOU, outlining the three year strategic partnership to co-develop an executive education programme for Sodexo China.