Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Agnes Wen, CEIBS

Agnes Wen

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

“A critical, thinking mind, always on the look-out.”

Hometown: Shenzhen, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I chose Lincoln College when applying to Oxford because, on the admissions brochure, the college mentioned it had a Michelin chef on the dining team. Every meal there backed the advertisement.

Undergraduate School and Major:

B.A. in Mathematics – University of Oxford

M.Sc. in Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing – University of Oxford

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Assistant Manager

Foresight, Research and Innovation Division at Arup

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA curriculum that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Having spent more than ten years in the UK and Hong Kong, I am eager to develop the next phase of my career in Mainland China as it is where the vast potential of exciting opportunities reside. In addition to the diverse background of my classmates who are also driven by this motivation, the Integrated China Strategy Project (ICSP) is a particular part of CEIBS’ MBA program that attracts me the most. We will be working with our sponsor firms, experienced faculty advisers, and senior company executive mentors to work on group consulting projects tackling real problems companies are facing. I believe this hands-on experience will help me adapt to the China business environment rapidly, equipping me for my post-MBA career in China.

CEIBS is known for “China Depth, Global Breadth.” What is the biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China? China is not a market to be missed. However, the business environment is getting increasingly competitive. MBA professors at CEIBS make sure that students not only learn about Chinese business mindsets and approaches, but are also instilled with the wisdom to embrace diversity and inclusiveness to achieve win-win outcomes. It has been only one week since our studies officially started, but we have already stepped in the shoes of the protagonists of many case studies to experience how situations differ in a China context.

What club, class, or tradition are you most looking forward to at CEIBS? My background was in education before moving to the built environment, focusing on social innovation. I particularly look forward to participating in more activities organized by the Social Impact and Responsibility Club. I also heard a lot about Professor Bala Ramasamy’s economics course. The first several lessons have been very enlightening and promising; I look forward to the rest of the course.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I take much joy from the continuous learning and applying process, so continuously stepping out of my comfort zone to know more, learn more, and do more is my biggest career accomplishment. Starting as a consultant, I became a partner responsible for leading the marketing and consultant teams and business development. In another job, in which I was tasked with managing regional machine learning projects, I published reports on hybrid retail and learned about social innovation on the side. The process itself was a great reward.

What do you hope to do after earning your MBA and why will that be significant? After my MBA degree, I hope to devote myself in the retirement industry, providing more quality and affordable services to help retired people achieve active ageing. This is significant, as I see a personal need from my family. It is also significant because it is a pressing need from millions of families like mine, many of them less privileged or less able to access adequate services. Almost everyone I have talked to about this say it is too challenging because the problem is too big and the market is not ready, but I hope to join forces with people who are making small steps and eventually make a leap of change together.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the CEIBS MBA program? I have been through the admissions process at several business schools and I would say the one at CEIBS was the most demanding, required the most self-reflection, and was, hence, the most rewarding. If you are serious about doing an MBA, especially the CEIBS MBA, you cannot get by with generic canned answers, not even for commonly-asked questions like your introduction.

Starting from the essays, I was pushed to dig deep into particulars about what I wanted to do after the MBA, why I wanted to do so, what I know about the industries and markets I am interested in. It got tougher during the interview as the interviewers were very well-versed with my profile and supporting documents and were keen to ask why, drilling down to the third or even fourth layer of the original question.


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