Meet The MBA Class of 2025: Jeanne de Gayffier, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

Jeanne de Gayffier

China Europe International Business School

“Multilingual globetrotter, fueled by cheese and curiosity, seeking inspiring adventures”

Hometown: Paris, France

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once took a train for 4 days in a row (in Siberia), surviving with dried fish, instant noodles and a Dostoevsky book.

Undergraduate School and Major: French and German Law, double degree between University of Cologne and Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Legal Advisor at Horizons

What has been the biggest accomplishment in your career so far?

Helping colleagues across the globe understand and navigate complex legal landscapes in over 20 countries has been a very fulfilling accomplishment. I leveraged my legal and language expertise to support colleagues from various departments to enter new markets and confidently launch the company’s operations. Witnessing their success and knowing I played a part in it was very satisfying and motivated me to broaden and amplify my skills to bridge cultures and facilitate smooth international operations.

When you think of CEIBS, what is the first word that comes to mind?

Community is the first word that comes to mind when I think of CEIBS. The school is bringing together brilliant businesspeople and faculty, creating a powerful platform for sharing knowledge and experience, for addressing challenges and for seizing opportunities.

What are one or two key aspects of this program that led you to choose CEIBS, and why were they so important to you?

I’ve been attracted by Shanghai’s unique energy for many years. I was looking for the opportunity to immerse myself in its fast-paced economy and innovative environment. CEIBS, located in the heart of it, seemed like the ideal choice. What really convinced me was hearing success stories from graduates, highlighting a positive and supportive community that I really wanted. The combination of being in a lively city and having a strong network convinced me that CEIBS was not just about education but also a great starting point for an exciting future!

What course, club, activity, or experience at CEIBS excites you the most and why?

While CEIBS offers many courses, clubs, and activities, my current role as section representative holds a special place in my heart. It’s not just about organizing small activities; it’s about fostering a sense of community among the 60 students in my section. This responsibility comes with challenges, but seeing everyone connect and build meaningful relationships makes it very rewarding. The opportunity to contribute to a positive class culture and witness individuals feel supported and happy within it motivated me to invest my time and energy into this role. Beyond being busy, it was an opportunity to influence my classmates’ CEIBS experience, something I truly cherish.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to other prospective CEIBS MBAs?

I recommend 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. 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. I believe western prospective CEIBS MBAs may find it particularly interesting to understand from a western point of view what doing business in China means, and it can also serve as a tool to assess readiness to navigate in this environment.

What are two things you have learned being at CEIBS that have surprised you so far – one academic and one non-academic?

In Macroeconomics class, I’ve learned about the concept of overheating. Every country has a certain potential of output or employment rate. If production or employment exceed this average level, the economic growth goes beyond its normal rate. While above average growth rate might seem positive, ultimately it is unsustainable, leading to issues like inflation and financial instability as well as long-term concerns like resource depletion and social inequality. The class concluded with Professor’s warning “Do not overheat” serving as a reminder to prioritize long-term well-being and avoid reaching a personal “burnout zone.”

Outside the classroom, I was delighted to discover so many talented musicians, dancers, DJs, designers, singers, photographers, and actors among my fellow classmates, highlighting the diverse nature of individuals and the enriching experiences beyond academic pursuits.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into CEIBS MBA program?

Learn Mandarin and become familiar with the Chinese business landscape, the cultural nuances, and the geopolitical intricacies. Read articles, watch documentaries, attend webinars – anything to demonstrate your interest in the “China Depth, Global Breath” philosophy. Show that you’re not just there for the degree, but to become a global citizen who can navigate at the intersection of China and the world.

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