1995: HSG joins the European Community Management Schools (CEMS)

On 1 December 1990, HSG became a member of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS). This membership has served not only to improve HSG's networking with the leading European business schools but also intended to support HSG students in their international mobility and to enable them to obtain an additional internationally recognised qualification. It was a special honour for HSG that the CEMS Graduation (6th CEMS degree ceremony) could take place here for the first time on 2 December 1995, thus almost exactly five years to the day after its accession. More than 250 graduates from all over Europe received their degree certificates at this major event, and at the same time, furthermore, the CEMS Executive Board appointed the HSG professor Heinz Hauser as CEMS chairman.

President Prof. Georges Fischer congratulates a graduate on the first CEMS graduation at the HSG in 1995.

In the following year, 1996, HSG students founded the CEMS Student Association St. Gallen, its core tasks being defined as the promotion of informal exchange both among CEMS members at HSG and with CEMS students at other universities, and also the promotion of contacts with CEMS corporate members in the field of practical experience, with the overall aims of  developing the international mobility of HSG students and of facilitating HSG's European integration.

Following preparations made by the Research Center for International Management (FIM-HSG), the Senate and the Board of Governors of the University approved the founding of a new international master's programme in 1999: CEMS-MIM. This is a double degree programme that is run jointly by renowned European business universities, forming an alliance with leading international companies. The University of St.Gallen is the only university in Switzerland to whose students this programme is open; they may be studying for master's degree in Business Administration, in Economics, in Law and Economics, or in International Affairs. the CEMS-MIM can be completed in parallel with their main degree.

The Master of International Management (MIM-HSG) was launched in the winter semester 1999-2000 and welcomed by the President's Board as a key element in HSG's strategic positioning as one of the leading business schools in Europe. The two-year master's programme, taught in English, was under the responsibility of Professor Winfried Ruigrok as Dean and Dr Robert Straw as Executive Director.

Between 2003 and 2010, CEMS Academic Chair and HSG professor Thomas Bieger coordinated the development and management of the programme on the level of the entire CEMS  network. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of HSG joining CEMS, Professor Bieger characterised the development that had taken place in terms of the following three mile stones: 'the introduction of modern quality management, including peer review', had been an important step; this focus on quality had also brought with it 'further development of the CEMS-MIM curriculum'; and the strategic expansion of CEMS had meant that it changed 'from a European to a global alliance', now being represented by partner universities on five continents.

The Financial Times rates CEMS-MIM number one worldwide and in 2009, for the first time, the University of St.Gallen received the title of CEMS School of the Year.

In 2012, HSG hosted the CEMS Annual Event for the first time since 1995; this event, attended by over 2000 guests, marked the next chapter in a success story. The following year, the alliance awarded the HSG professor emeritus Heinz Hauser an honorary membership, to recognise his pioneering work in the internationalisation of CEMS and also the University of St.Gallen itself.

According to Dr Andreas Wittmer, Dean of HSG's CEMS programme since the winter semester 2016, the CEMS projects here at the University have owed their success and their positive evaluations partly to the many years of development and expansion work that had been carried out by his predecessor Dr Jürgen Brücker. In 2019, the University of St.Gallen was awarded CEMS School of the Year after having previously gained the title in 2009 and in 2013.

By 2019, CEMS had grown into a global alliance of 32 business universities and around 70 corporate partners, an alliance that had been jointly offering an international master's programme in Management since 1988. Dr Wittmer explained: 'Since 1990 we have been cultivating very good relations with the CEMS corporate partners at the University of St.Gallen. This master's programme represents not only a global education but also an international network a cross-border bond to last a lifetime".

The forward-looking nature of CEMS projects at HSG was also demonstrated by the fact that, in addition to the title of School of the Year 2019, the University has been awarded further distinctions: for example, for its course on climate change and models of climate negotiation (CEMS Model UNFCCC, 2018-19), which was conducted jointly with eight further CEMS member universities.