Nevertheless, three weeks before leaving, she was looking forward very much to the journey. “I really do enjoy just being immersed in a completely different environment, something that takes me outside of my comfort zone,” she says. “i’m really excited that I’m going to be in a classroom environment with people from all over the world. I’m hoping to make some connections.”
The NBMBAA/CEIBS essay contest brought China to the forefront of her attention, and got her thinking about the economy of the 1.3 billion-person nation, she says. “When you do think about it, it’s just the huge size of the market,” she says.
She was expecting that the boot camp would reveal whether getting an MBA in China would be a good choice. “Nothing’s not an option right now. I am pretty open and willing to explore. The boot camp’s a great way to test the waters to see what it would be like to live in China . . . and work there. I do have aspirations to eventually work internationally,” she says, noting that C-suites are full of people with international experience.
Coleman planned to talk to CEIBS students and alumni to get an idea of how CEIBS’ MBA brand is perceived in the job market, and to find out about students’ and graduates’ career plans. “Are they working in China, are they trying to come back to the United States?” she says.
A DECISION ABOUT WHERE TO GET AN MBA
During her trip to China, Coleman would stand on Shanghai’s famed waterfront Bund and look at the city’s stunning skyline, she would walk on the Great Wall in Beijing, and she would become convinced that China was going to affect her career. But, she would decide, given her short- to medium-term ambitions, she’d be better off getting an MBA in the U.S.
CEIBS professors and multinational company representatives, in boot camp lectures and company visits, put forward a persuasive vision – backed up by a lot of fast-rising numbers concerning China’s economy – of business opportunity in the country, and outside China in companies trading with it. “The megatrend that resonated most with me was the rapid adoption rate of e-commerce and social media in China,” Coleman says after the boot camp. “As a marketer who works in tech B2B e-commerce, I’m even more excited to better understand the Chinese market and take advantage of the massive opportunity. China is something I can’t ignore.
“It’s going to impact my career so I need to make sure that I understand it and I participate in it as early as possible. If I don’t have a good context, I’ll be behind.”
Aiming for an eventual position as a vice-president in a major organization, Coleman can see herself, after obtaining an MBA, getting herself onto an Asia-focused team in the U.S. Because she plans to work in America straight out of business school, she has concerns about the brand recognition of a CEIBS MBA. Her list of target schools remains limited to American business schools: at Georgetown University, NYU, and the University of Texas-Austin.
In meeting first-year CEIBS students, Coleman found that many intended to work in Europe or Asia after graduating. “If I wanted to work in Asia,” Coleman says as the boot camp is finishing up, “I would come here.”