Meet The CEIBS MBA Class Of 2025

Harmony.

That’s the first word that comes to mind when Victor Han thinks of China Europe International Business School. CEIBS, whose main campus is located in Shanghai — sophisticated, international, and highly commercial, with the world’s largest port — is “a rare sanctuary, where Eastern wisdom meets Western analytical rigor,” Han says. 

Han is among the 121 CEIBS MBAs set to graduate in the Class of 2025 — just one more student this year than last year’s Class of 2024. He chose CEIBS because of their unparalleled combination of deep insights into China and their broad global perspective: As the school’s motto goes, “China Depth, Global Breadth.”

CEIBS      MBA Class of 2025      MBA Class of 2024
   Class size   121   120
   Average GMAT Score   688   684
   GMAT Range   640-740   630-740
   Female %   46.3%   51.60%
   Countries   18   14

WHY THEY CHOSE CEIBS

Growing up in Canada, Han has always balanced his American, Canadian, and Chinese heritage. His cohort also reflects cultural diversity, with MBAs from 18 different countries.

“Unlike standard business education available globally (and online for free), CEIBS provided a unique chance for me to deep dive and reconnect with my ancestral roots,” Han says. “Fearing a loss of connection to my Chinese roots, CEIBS became a beacon, offering not just business fundamentals but also a platform to embrace and integrate my dual identity.”

Also interested in fostering connections, Fernanda Nunes Mamede Rosa, a senior vendor manager at Amazon Brazil, says her class culture embodies Family: “A Future full of brAvery, charisMa, resIlience, coLlaboration and diversitY.”

CEIBS campus. Courtesy photo

“I had the chance to visit CEIBS before accepting my offer,” she says, “and the truly international environment with such welcoming people was key in making my decision since I was moving from Brazil to China for this experience, and having a safe place was important to me.” 

A second factor that played a part in her choosing CEIBS was the China Discovery modules where her class traveled to different business centers in China, such as Shenzhen, Ningbo, and Changsha, to visit local companies and have an in-depth and practical course on the region’s economic development.

“This is perfectly aligned with my MBA goal of understanding how to do business in China,” she says. 

MOST LOVED COURSES, CLUBS & ACTIVITIES

Many students get involved in some of CEIBS’s clubs, like the Entrepreneurship club which attracts about a fourth of CEIBS MBAs. Rosa, chose to join the Women Leadership Club, and not only did she join –  she is now the president. The incoming Class of 2025 is nearly half female students, with a representation of 46.3%.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to meet powerful women and be inspired by their stories,” she says. “Women still face significant challenges in the workplace, and I am glad to be part of this discussion on the other side of the world (for me), and at a business school that is shaping the next generation of leaders and has the role of educating them.”

As for curriculum, CEIBS’ Real Situation Learning Method (RSLM) brings students directly into the cases, working with the companies involved. University of Nottingham alum Shane Xu’s favorite course so far is Strategic Management, led by Professor Zhuo Chen and Professor Changhyun Kim.

The course, he says, is “a highly anticipated opportunity for students due to its exceptional faculty, practical relevance, interactive learning format, and hands-on approach.”

It holds a variety of theoretical frameworks, case studies, and simulations, and students gain skills and confidence to excel as strategic leaders in today’s dynamic business environment, adds Xu.

CEIBS campus in Shanghai. Courtesy photo

Originally from Paris, globetrotter Jeanne de Gayffier is enjoying being an ambassador for her cohort.

“While CEIBS offers many courses, clubs, and activities, my current role as section representative holds a special place in my heart,” she says. “It’s not just about organizing small activities; it’s about fostering a sense of community among the 60 students in my section.”

Having this responsibility comes with challenges, but seeing everyone connect and build meaningful relationships makes the challenges very rewarding. 

“Beyond being busy, it was an opportunity to influence my classmates’ CEIBS experience, something I truly cherish.”

TOP MEDIA PICKS FROM CEIBS MBAs

This year, Gayffier has much enjoyed reading the book Dragon Tactics by Aldo Spaanjaars and Sandrine Zerbib. “Reading this book solidified my desire to evolve in China, to learn about the Chinese way of doing business, overcoming constant challenges of uncertainty,” she says.

“It contains many concrete examples of unexpected but proven business management skills, how they came about and why they work — not only to succeed in China but also to better navigate an increasingly uncertain and volatile world beyond China’s borders.”

Those from the west may find it particularly interesting, taking a look at what doing business in China means, and she sees the book as a tool to assess readiness to navigate an international business landscape.

From China, avid dancer and Anna Hu recommends that prospective MBAs listen to President Xi Jinping’s 2024 New Year Address. “In his speech, President Xi highlighted China’s steady transition in pandemic control, sustained economic recovery, and the solid advancement of high-quality development,” she says. 

The CEIBS Shanghai campus. Courtesy photo

“He emphasized the maturation of China’s modern industrial system, with the rapid emergence of high-end, intelligent, and green industries. It offers prospective students a deeper understanding of China’s evolving business landscape and underscores the importance of staying informed about key policy directions and economic trends in the region.”

Passionate about expanding international frontiers and cultural collaboration, it is no wonder that Piyagoon (Safe) Kongjinda from Thailand recommends the book “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer.

“It offers essential insights into navigating cultural differences in global business, providing frameworks and real-world examples crucial for thriving in CEIBS’s diverse and multicultural environment,” he shares. 

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS THUS FAR

Almost a quarter of the Class of 2025 have a background in marketing/sales, and Kongjinda is among them. The Sales and Marketing Director for Esco Premium, he says “​​My biggest career accomplishment includes leading the company’s CRM system rollout, enhancing sales team efficiency, and directing our first rebranding initiative, significantly revitalizing our corporate image.”

  Class of 2025 Industry Background
   Marketing/Sales         23.97%
   Consulting         22.31%
   General Management         19.01%
   Finance/Accounting         14.05%
   Operation/Logistics         7.44%
   Information Technology/ Research & Development                      4.96%
   Others         3.31%
   Human Resources         2.48%
   Entrepreneur/Owner/Partner         2.48%

Shanghai local Raj Wang was drawn to CEIBS’s MBA program because of the diversity in his cohort as well as the extensive alumni networking opportunities. He worked for Vivo as their Purchasing Manager, where his biggest accomplishment was “Successfully introduced eight Chinese companies to set up their new factories in South Asia.”

Remarkably, Wang helped the company to kickstart right before Covid, saving them millions of dollars in customs duty annually.

Also from Shanghai, Emory University grad Jack Sha is a mega Jay Chou fan – Taiwanese singer dubbed the “King of Mandopop.”

Sha’s biggest accomplishment came a bit after his classmate Wang’s, during the COVID lockdowns, when he stepped up as the project manager and successfully closed a multi-million acquisition deal for Microport Scientific. 

‘NAME 2 THINGS YOU HAVE LEARNED THAT HAVE SURPRISED YOU’

Sha’s amazed at just how applicable theory taught at CEIBS really is. “Despite the fact that I had previous exposure to fundamental courses such as financial accounting and managerial accounting, CEIBS professors focused specifically on the application of certain concepts by spending more time talking about analyzing real-world financial statements and managerial decision-making mindset from an executive’s perspective,” he says. 

CEIBS courtesy photo

He’s experienced the supportive culture at CEIBS, and when it comes to aspects outside of course content, he says “Despite the fact that I am a middle management executive within a prestigious medical device MNC, my assigned mentor is very approachable and willing to share personal, useful advice to my school life and potential career trajectory.”

Though she is 28, Jolie Chen has worn many hats, working for more than 10 companies. She chose CEIBS because she wanted a career change and wanted to gain insight from a multitude of CEIBS alumni in different industries.

Thus far, she has been surprised to learn the importance of value proposition in her Marketing Management course. “After learning the Perfect Diary case, I realized that I used to learn various marketing techniques, but in some scenarios I overlooked the essence, such as how to do value proposition for a new brand,” she says.

“This realization prompted me to integrate the value proposition framework more systematically into my analysis of marketing trends and news.”

Chen also realized how critical informal networking is for building relationships.

Co-Founder and co-CEO of Göllmann, an Italian boutique consulting agency, Giovanni Pan didn’t expect the faculty to be as diverse as they are. 

“Despite being in China and attending a Chinese university, I was pleasantly surprised to find a faculty pool comprising individuals from various nationalities, including Malaysian, Canadian, Australian, German, Taiwanese, British, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Ghanaian, Russian, and more.” 

MBA Giovanni Pan and others, courtesy photo

On a non-academic note, he’s surprised by the familial atmosphere at CEIBS. “There’s a palpable feeling of kinship among CEIBS alumni, characterized by mutual respect and genuine kindness towards one another,” tells Pan. “This sense of belonging creates a supportive environment akin to a close-knit family, where members readily support and uplift each other.”

ADVICE FOR THOSE TO COME

Pan has many tips for future CEIBS MBAs: “Be confident in your skills and abilities”; “Proactively reach out and interact with current CEIBS students, alumni, and faculty to gain insights into the program”; “Be mentally prepared to face the challenges and demands of the MBA journey, including physical and mental fatigue — stay resilient and focused on your goals.” 

Omar Maadarani is an entrepreneur planning to expand his global trading company to China. He recommends that future MBAs focus on clarifying their motives for coming to China in their application essays.

“Discuss how your varied experience will enhance your ability to engage in the MBA program and how you will contribute to the learning experiences of your potential cohort of peers,” he says. 

Wisconsin competitive snowboarder Martin McLaughlin chose CEIBS for its reputation and rigor. He’s looking to grow his business, Journey Far Consulting, and grow both personally and professionally. “My advice is to practice with mentors for the interview process, as many of your ideas will be challenged, so be ready to back them up,” he says. “Also, be authentic, it’s much more impactful than pretending to be someone you’re not.”

Next page: A Q&A with CEIBS MBA Director Michelle Zhu

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