More CEIBS MBAs are taking first jobs in local Chinese companies rather than in multinationals, with 40% joining Chinese firms now, compared to 20% a decade ago, says Yvonne Li, MBA director of Admissions and Career Services. Some 400 companies recruit at CEIBS, with a typical job fair drawing 80 to 100, about 30% to 40% local, Li says. The percentage of graduates taking jobs in Chinese companies will climb, Li predicts: she tracks the number of Chinese firms in the Fortune 500 and says there were fewer than a handful 12 years ago, and now there are 102.
‘MORE EXCITING IN CHINA THAN IN THE U.S.’
China’s economy has grown quickly over the past three decades, Chen notes. “China is emerging in every way. When you have a growing emerging economy, risks are higher, there’s no question. But with risk you have reward. You have many opportunities. There are many less-developed areas in China with opportunities.
“It’s more exciting in China than in the U.S. People are attracted by the excitement and opportunities. Look at the U.S. MBA graduate: gradual mobility upward. Here, if you do well, it’s much quicker for you to rise in an organization.”
The excitement and business prospects attract significant numbers of international students, with CEIBS’ MBA classes made up of about 43% foreign citizens. “People come to us, especially American students, they’re willing to take a risk, they’re willing to get out of their comfort zone,” Chen says. “We’re not going to attract all American students. There are always forward-looking students who want to enlarge their experience. Those students we want to attract.
PASSION AND OPPORTUNITY DRAW FOREIGN STUDENTS
“Some of the students just have this passion for Chinese culture. Many other students believe the Chinese economy will have a lasting impact on the world economy so they want to come here.”
Participants in the CEIBS pre-MBA boot camp in July heard repeatedly from lecturers and multinational company representatives that an MBA from China confers specialized knowledge and training that can be attractive for multinationals trading with China and wanting to hire people into offices outside China. But for foreign students desiring to work in China right out of school, the odds show the risk: 80% of foreign grads want to stay and work in China, but only half the international graduates succeed in doing so.
“Right now (employers hiring in China) are more interested in our Chinese students than the American students,” Chen says, “unless an American student can demonstrate he or she has some unique edge Chinese students don’t have.”
For U.S. MBA students, learning Mandarin can overcome the language obstacle to a job in China, and in combination with the soft skills Americans tend to possess to a greater degree than Chinese – teamwork, people skills, communication – may make a U.S. MBA attractive in the job market, Chen says. “They’re more well rounded, I would say. That’s important. U.S. students talk better. If you can convince these companies these qualities, plus your China experience, brings them value, I think they will hire you.”
While in the MBA program, foreign students and Chinese students share knowledge of culture and business, Chen says, resulting in “tremendous learning opportunities for both sides.”