Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Priyesh Patel, CEIBS

Priyesh Patel

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

“Astute, detail-oriented, and open-minded, always seeking to improve myself and the situation of others.”

Hometown: London, UK (but oddly, I support Manchester United).

Fun Fact About Yourself: My father’s family are Indians who settled in Uganda in the 1930s before moving to the UK in the 1970s. My mother’s family are Indians who settled on the Pacific Island of Fiji in the 1970s. All have amazing stories and have become successful business people in their own right.

Undergraduate School and Major: MSc Mechanical Engineering and PhD in Energy, Combustion and Fuels – University College London.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Senior Software and Systems Engineer/Technologist, Delphi Technologies (now BorgWarner)

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA curriculum or activities that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? CEIBS’ faculty is international, yet so adept in their knowledge and understanding of China. At CEIBS, you study the same case studies taught at other top MBA schools, but we benefit from the addition of Chinese cases that give us that added Asian perspective. The Integrated China Strategy Project module is unique to the CEIBS curriculum, where you engage with a real international company operating in China. It is a great opportunity to get hands-on momentum in a new functional role, industry and location.

What is the biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China? China has been leading the world for a while in terms of the rate, level, and scale of digitization – and COVID-19 has only accelerated this even more. In China’s early growth years, entrepreneurs and companies were looking at bringing mature business models and ideas from the West to China, where the market was less developed. We are starting to see reversals of this trend, with Western companies now looking to the East for ideas. Additionally, as Chinese companies look outwards to expand to nearby markets like Southeast Asia and India, you are presented with employment opportunities in this region that you could not find as easily while based in Europe.

Despite recent politics and COVID-19, the appeal of earning an MBA in China has become exceedingly strong this year. It is one of the only economies in the world that is currently experiencing growth, making it the most advantageous place to be right now for an international MBA. Finally, personally speaking as a Brit dealing with the Brexit context, I predict that having this China experience and deep China insights will be a significant asset in the future as a point of differentiation.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My Ph.D. It was uniquely challenging in that I had to create a complex device (software included) that filled a large room, weighed as much as a car, and required high levels of safety and security. I had significant time and budget constraints as I was funded by industry. Personally, I wanted to complete my Ph.D. in four years and move into industry while still fairly young.

These conditions forced me to be very entrepreneurial in a way – internally, I pulled together limited resources from the university, sponsor company, and other Ph.Ds around me. Externally, I negotiated special terms from suppliers to provide materials, while also sourcing extra funds to help promote my research in Japan. This entrepreneurial mindset is something I carried forward, even when I went to work for a big automotive supplier. It even allowed me to achieve promotions and job rotations across the UK, Luxembourg, and China.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? It would be creating a new model for holding sports competitions on campus that ensures mixed gender participation. Twenty participants have signed up for the event and it will run for an entire term. Aside from the initial set-up time, it requires minimal active management and resources, so it is very scalable! Hopefully these events will continue at CEIBS for years to come.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and how do they demonstrate this quality in your interactions? The leadership abilities and community spirit displayed by my classmates this year have been amazing. COVID-19 has impacted us economically, reduced our freedoms, separated us from each other and our loved ones, and worryingly, exposed us to increasing global political divisions. Despite all that has been going on, our interactions with each other haven’t been negatively influenced; we are still defined on the merits of our individual performances, behaviors, and values.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I considered the HK MBA schools. In the end, I received an offer from CEIBS.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The automotive industry sector I was in was facing severe disruptions in a declining economy. This factor, coupled with Brexit uncertainty, made me believe now was a good time to invest in myself.


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