Global Triumphs and Transformations: A Remarkable Year as a CEMS Exchange Student at Cornell

Keményfi arrived in Ithaca at the start of the fall semester along with 15 other exchange students in the CEMS program, a global alliance of top business schools. For one semester, CEMS graduate students from a network of 33 business schools on six continents take classes in international management at a partner institution in the program.
Gergely Keményfi

Gergely Keményfi experienced a series of milestones in the past year. In August, he set foot in the United States for the first time as an exchange student at Cornell University. Just three months later, he and three peers from Hungary achieved a historic feat, becoming the inaugural European team to secure victory in the Cornell Emerging Markets Institute Corning Case Competition.

Beginning the fall semester in Ithaca, Keményfi joined 15 other exchange students as part of the CEMS MIM program. Beyond gaining insights into innovative business practices at Cornell, Keményfi's journey also connected him with a vibrant and diverse community of students hailing from 16 different countries.

“The program helped me in more ways than I could imagine,” he said. “I thought I would only learn about the courses, but then I got to know these CEMS students from other cultures. It opened up the world in a way.” - Gergely Keményfi

Keményfi, who is also earning a master’s in management and leadership at Corvinus University in Budapest, took seven courses at the Dyson School last fall in everything from Corporate Finance to Power and Politics in Organizations.

Prevailing in the EMI Case Competition

Shortly after the commencement of the fall semester, Keményfi was informed about the Cornell Emerging Markets Institute Corning Case Competition, which delves into the effects of globalization on businesses in emerging markets. Without delay, he reached out to some of his fellow CEMS peers at his home university, and together, they decided to participate in the competition.

The challenge was to develop a financial strategy for a Brazilian semiconductor company that was on the verge of collapsing and about to be sold to a Chinese investor. Another question the teams tackled was whether Brazil should incentivize the development of its own chips industry and form international alliances to make the industry viable. 

In September, 127 MBA and graduate student teams worldwide dedicated seven days to dissecting the case. Keményfi's team from Corvinus, comprised of four members, emerged as one of the five finalists. Then, on November 3, they triumphed over their competitors in the ultimate round at the 2023 Emerging Markets Institute conference held at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, securing the coveted $6,000 first prize.

Exchange Student at Dyson Leads Winning Team in EMI Corning Case Competition