Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Eleni PETRI, CEIBS


China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

I am a life-long learner with a passion for the interplay between finance and sustainable development.”

Hometown: Arcadia, Greece

Fun Fact About Yourself: I come from an unusually large family (by modern European standards). I have six siblings (five brothers and one sister).

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Piraeus, Greece – Major: Economics

Agricultural University of Athens – Major: MBA in Food and Agribusiness

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Analyst. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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? Working with an internationally acclaimed bank, I witnessed first-hand the pressures on the traditional bank-­based financial ecosystem, from the point-of-view of both start­ups and well-established big tech companies. Current finance systems suffer from an absence of universal access to financial services for a large portion of the world’s population, ineffective and costly cross­border payments, massive delays in deciding funding requests from business owners, and questionable developmental impact (as proof of impact is difficult to trace with existing frameworks). At the same time, ICT revolution and the increasing share of internet­based retailing have created the demand and technological space for P2P digital transactions and currencies that are radically changing payment and financial intermediation systems. Bitcoin, and other similar systems are only the tip of the iceberg.

China is now leading the new revolution in digital payments with systems like WeChat and Alipay using digital wallets and QR codes. After visiting China and studying its digital payments ecosystem, I chose the CEIBS MBA programme to specialise and delve deeper into the impact of digital currencies and payments on the banking sector and on responsible investment through its focused electives such as Blockchain Business Applications and Rethinking Strategy for the Digital World.

CEIBS is known for “China Depth, Global Breadth.” What is the biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China? The tokenisation and digitisation of assets will bring a revolution with tremendous impact on international monetary and financial systems and will have immense economic, social, and political repercussions. New business models will emerge for a new generation of agile and innovative leaders, entrepreneurs, managers and finance professionals.

As a finance professional with aspirations to be a world leading expert on impact investment, I find myself at the heart of this revolution. I anticipate China, as an economic powerhouse with immense global influence, to be at the forefront of these disruptive developments. I therefore expect that a CEIBS MBA will equip me with the necessary skills, expertise, knowledge, networks, perspective and outlook, to enable me to steer successfully through this new emerging world and become a successful leader.

What club, class, or tradition are you most looking forward to at CEIBS? I am looking forward to the Integrated China Strategy Project and China Discovery Series to delve deeper into an understanding of the Chinese ecosystem.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As the finance director of an NGO, when Greece was experiencing an influx of more than 1,000,000 refugees and migrants, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the dire consequences and devastating effects that issues such climate change and environmental degradation have onto the local and global socio-economic ecosystem and therefore the importance of sustainable investment. With my team, I developed and implemented a framework and practices to align the organization with the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). I undertook initiatives for green impact investments involving migrants and demonstrated the potential of sustainable model with scarce resources.

What do you hope to do after earning your MBA and why will that be significant? I aspire to work in the investment industry in China with a focus on technological innovation in financial services and innovative approaches to impact investing and green finance. In the long term, I aspire to set up my own firm which will be a channel for Chinese and foreign investment flows, make an impact and be part of the new era of China.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the CEIBS MBA program? I would advise them to have a clear and thorough understanding of why they want to be in China and to see the CEIBS MBA program’s instrumental role in this achievement, as it will provide them with the necessary cultural insights, deep understanding and networks of the Chinese business and financial ecosystem.


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