China was not really on Nomble Coleman’s radar, and though she was planning on an MBA, she’d never considered getting one from a Chinese business school. Then she received notice of an essay contest, a partnership between the U.S. National Black MBA Association and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). In answering the question about how studying in Asia would differentiate her MBA experience and help her realize her career goals, Coleman took first prize. She won enrollment in CEIBS’ five-day pre-MBA boot camp, and airfare to and from China.
Coming to Shanghai for the boot camp gave Coleman a striking introduction to the importance of China in global business, and affirmed the importance of building a global perspective. A marketing associate for Boston-area firm EMC since graduating with a BS in marketing from Bentley University in 2011, Coleman had decided several years ago she would eventually get an MBA. While in high school, she competed in case competitions in a business-basics program put on by the National Black MBA Association. The group has continued to support her, awarding her a full scholarship to Bentley (where undergraduate tuition is currently $42,500 per year), and, she says, pushing her to get a master’s degree. She’s an active member in the association and has served as a case competition mentor and judge, and director of university relations.
Earlier this month, with four other young U.S. professionals who received runners-up prizes in the essay contest, Coleman flew to Shanghai. Before leaving, Coleman knew that to advance her career she would need to develop an international perspective. “You can’t just stay in your own neighborhood,” says Coleman, 26. “Business is moving to become more global. You have to open up and expand to other parts of the world.”
SIGHTSEEING, COMPANY VISITS: WHAT TO PACK?
Having traveled outside the U.S. only to Europe, Coleman was going through the visa process for the first time, and struggling to pack for a week of boot camp followed by a week on her own, with a trip to Beijing. “For me a big thing, maybe a small thing, is just shoes and the number of shoes,” she says. “There’s going to be a lot of walking, so I definitely need a good pair of sneakers, but also we’re going to be visiting a lot of corporations, so you need to dress well.”
She bought guidebooks for Shanghai and Beijing, but still had apprehensions about getting around, including the initial trip on the magnetic-levitation bullet train from the Shanghai airport toward CEIBS, and a jaunt to see the Shanghai skyline, in a country where relatively few people speak fluent English.