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CEIBS Offers MBA Bootcampers Entry Into Vast China Biz Landscape

Dr. Zhang Yu lectures CEIBS bootcamp participants on Building Competitive Advantage for Innovative Organizations. Courtesy Luminary Visuals

If you are a business school in Shanghai and you’ve got a group of potential students you want to impress, you don’t have to worry too much. The city is an architectural and cultural wonderland, with a “wow” factor that does much of your selling for you. 

China Europe International Business School has been happy to use its home city of Shanghai as the main selling point to would-be students in the school’s annual pre-MBA bootcamp. Word has gotten out: This year’s bootcamp, which concluded earlier this month, saw a bigger crowd than ever, about 70 would-be MBA students from 20 countries, up from 58 last year and 49 the year before. That’s 70 talented up-and-comers from around the globe willing to pay about $1,500 each to test drive a program in a city many have never seen. And it’s no wonder why. It’s a city at the forefront of China’s economic and cultural revival.

Once they arrive, would-be students sense Shanghai’s energy immediately. It’s impossible not to. It’s a mix of excitement, optimism, and drive, and potential applicants to CEIBS are responding: So many young women and men crowded into the school’s residence halls for this year’s bootcamp, the sixth CEIBS has staged, that next year’s event may be split into two groups, MBA program Director Juan Fernandez says. What started as an experiment is turning into a major pin in the CEIBS calendar.

Shanghai may be CEIBS’ chief attraction for both Chinese and international talent but it is not the only one. The school, 1,800 acres of glassy pools, sharp lawns, and ultramodern facilities, is on the rise in the rankings and in the estimation of peers — particularly as a gateway to the world of Chinese business. 

INTERNATIONAL VERSUS CHINESE GRADS: A SALARY COMPARISON

Courtesy Luminary Visuals

Would-be MBAs in the annual pre-MBA bootcamp at CEIBS are smart people. They can read the data. And the data for graduate salaries at one of Asia’s premier B-schools shows that for non-Chinese grads — fully a third of the cohort for the Class of 2019 — it pays more to leave China after getting their degree. For Chinese students, it pays to stay. 

The most recent data available, for CEIBS’ 2017 grads, shows that international students who stay in China to enjoy the lower cost of living (among other perks) pay for it with lower salaries. Median pay for this group (which decreased between 2016 and 2017 from 13.6% to 11.8% of all grads) fell from $63,000 to $61,200. Those who left mainland China, meanwhile (22.1% of all grads), had a median pay of $72,750 in 2017, much higher than those who stayed ($56,287) — though both are down significantly from the year before ($82,500 and $61,200, respectively). Throw other compensation into the mix, and you can add $18,900 to the total. Irrespective of location, a typical newly minted international MBA from CEIBS can expect to get a starting pay package of $75,000 to $90,000. This is borne out in further data provided by the school showing that international grads in 2017 fell equally into three different pay brackets, with 20% making between $45,000 and $60,000 to start, 20% making between $60,000 and $75,000, and 20% making between $90,000 and $105,000 — though a lucky 10% made more than $105K. (All compensation calculations based on 1 yuan = 0.15 U.S. dollar.) 

For Chinese CEIBS students, the choice is clear: Stay in China, make much more. For those who stay (74.6% of total grads), median base salary jumped from $54,000 in 2016 to $66,750 … and for those who leave (just 1.5% of total grads, down from 4.2%), there’s a huge dropoff, from $70,500 in 2016 to $28,192 in 2017 (though the small sample size probably skewed the latter figure). Add $22,500 in other comp and, without stipulating where they work, Chinese grads can reasonably expect to pull in just shy of $90,000 in year one of post-grad work. However, the starting pay bracket with the most 2017 Chinese grads (31.1%) was $60,000-$75,000.

Who’s hiring? Lots of familiar U.S. names — Amazon, Deloitte, Google, PepsiCo — and lots and lots of Chinese companies, among them giants like Alibaba, Baidu, Meituan-Dianping, and Tencent. Most CEIBS MBAs go into financial services (30.4%), tech (17.6%), or manufacturing (15.5%), and by far the greatest percentage of grads become managers — 39.1%.

CALCULATING THE COST OF ATTENDANCE

So … is it worth it? CEIBS tuition and other costs for the Class of 2020 are not yet available, but going by the 2019 figures and using the current yuan-to-dollar exchange rate, here are the costs calculated into U.S. dollars: 

• $180 app fee ($150 for Chinese applicants)

• MBA 2019 tuition: $59,850

• Estimated rent for single room on campus: $450 per month for 21 months: $9,450

• Estimated textbook cost: $600

• Estimated food cost: $4,200

• Insurance estimate: $3,450

• Estimated miscellaneous expenses: $4,500

That makes the total for the whole program around $82,230, not counting expenses incurred if a student participates in the CEIBS exchange program. So say you’re an international student making the overall median starting pay package of about $80,000 — it won’t take you long to pay off your investment, assuming it isn’t paid off by your employers or your rich and generous uncle. And for Chinese grads making the estimated starting pay of $90,000 based on the above calculations, the picture is even rosier.

See complete CEIBS salary data on Page 3.