Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Archie Preston, CEIBS

Archie Preston

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

“A cross border investment banker with a desire to bring China and Europe closer together.”

Hometown: London, UK

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a retired/failed child actor.

Undergraduate School and Major: Chinese Studies – University of Cambridge

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Vice President, DealGlobe Capital

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? The differentiator for CEIBS is fairly clear: its focus on China-Europe business is unrivalled by any other school, in China or elsewhere. In addition to CEIBS, I also received offers from leading US schools. After long consideration, I decided that my career plan was to be positioned at the juncture of China and Europe; this was where I was going to learn the most relevant content and be exposed to the most relevant ideas. A large number of the cases we look at here and the work we carry out are focused on international businesses coming into China, or (sometimes) visa versa.

These are precisely the kinds of lessons which I want to be learning from my MBA, and that is why the CEIBS MBA was so attractive.

CEIBS is known for “China Depth, Global Breadth.” What is the biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China? I have been a student of China for 12 years now and have been working between China and Europe for eight years, so personally it is where my interests lie. More generally, it is clear that more and more global companies rely on the Chinese market as an engine for growth. However, the China market is extremely complicated to navigate and so companies need people well-versed in both cultures to help them strategize, communicate and execute. It seems obvious to me that as a (relatively!) young person that we should always try to position ourselves in high growth areas, be it industry, location, or function. Choosing China as a foundation for my future growth therefore seems sensible. Also, on a more subjective level, I find it a fascinating and exciting place to live even after being based in Greater China (on and off) for seven years.

What club, class, or tradition are you most looking forward to at CEIBS? Currently, I’m running to be President of the Finance and Investment Club – by the time this article comes out, I will have found out whether my team has been successful or not!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2020, I managed a team based across London and Shanghai, and led the execution of three complicated $100+ million cross border deals (and several smaller deals), reporting directly to our CEO. It was a very high pressure period of time. Combining the soft management skills with the technical execution skills, without any employee turnover during that period, is something I am very proud of.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the CEIBS MBA program? I would encourage applicants to think clearly about what they are hoping to get from CEIBS and make sure that CEIBS is able to offer that. Even if it’s the best business school, if they don’t have expertise in your chosen direction, it doesn’t make sense to pursue it.

Clarify your China angle, your future goals (can be more than one if you are not sure) and what you can offer to CEIBS. Being able to prove experience in multi-cultural environments is key, so emphasize any relevant experience in that regard. Finally, even though the applications for business schools are quite dry, try to make sure your personality comes through in your application. That is what will really make you stand out.


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