Sabine Katrin Neuhaus
“Creative and driven former pianist turned international M&A lawyer with a passion for salsa-dancing.”
Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland
Fun Fact About Yourself: While pursuing a career as a professional classical pianist, I used to accompany stand-up comedy performances on the piano. Improvising on the spot and creating the sound to sketches for a live audience together with the actors was a thrilling experience. I often could not help it but laugh with the audience about a hilarious joke!
Undergraduate School and Major:
BA Classical Piano – Zurich University of the Arts
Bachelor and Master of Law – Zurich University
LL.M. in International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution – The University of Hong Kong
Most Recent Employer and Job Title:
Associate, Kellerhals Carrard (second largest Swiss law firm)
Counsel, Huiye Law Firm (KC’s Chinese partner law firm in Shanghai)
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? For me, the key part of the MBA curriculum that led me to choose CEIBS was its clear focus on China and its geographical location in Shanghai, China’s financial center. This was crucial to me because, for several years already, I have actively pursued an international career with the aim of building a profound understanding of the Chinese market.
Switzerland was one of the first European countries to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with China, and China is Switzerland’s third largest trading partner. At the outset of my career, I had the opportunity to work on one of the largest M&A deals in history as part of a deal-team advising a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Since then, I have noticed a lack of and a demand for China experts with first-hand experience of modern China. After working in China for almost three years, choosing CEIBS as Asia’s Number 1 business school was the logical next step for me to advance my career.
CEIBS is known for “China Depth, Global Breadth.” What is the biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China? The biggest appeal of earning an MBA in China at its top business school is to gain a deep understanding of the Chinese market, its opportunities and challenges in particular, through the various cases developed by the brilliant minds of the CEIBS faculty. Considering China’s importance in the global economy, the world needs business leaders and entrepreneurs who understand China’s history, its business culture, its markets, and its people. With the majority of the CEIBS student body being Chinese nationals, doing an MBA at CEIBS is the ideal place to make life-long friends with China’s business leaders of tomorrow and to gain access to a vast network of inspiring CEIBS alumni.
What club, class, or tradition are you most looking forward to at CEIBS? I am most looking forward to the Integrated China Strategy Project, which presents CEIBS students with a unique opportunity to work with one of the school’s partner companies to tackle a real-world problem, as well as the Gobi China module, which is a 88km trek in groups with CEIBS EMBA and MBA students through the Gobi desert enhancing our crisis leadership skills.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After having joined the Shanghai office of the second largest Swiss law firm as the first foreigner in 2019 and having worked in China for two years, I won the “M&A, Business and Commercial Lawyer of the Year in China 2021” award by Corporate INTL. Besides, I have achieved fluency in Mandarin, which allowed me to add value for Chinese and foreign clients during cross-border negotiations.
What do you hope to do after earning your MBA and why will that be significant? After earning my MBA, I hope to develop a career in the venture capital industry. Having gained experience as a cross-border lawyer negotiating and closing several Sino-foreign VC/PE and M&A deals, I am seeking to build additional expertise in China and beyond that will help me achieve this long-term goal. This will be significant because I am convinced that working with successful entrepreneurs, start-ups, and scale-ups will foster innovation that will help solve humanity’s challenges of tomorrow.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the CEIBS MBA program? Apart from academic and professional excellence, the key for gaining admission into the CEIBS MBA program is to have a compelling story and a profound interest to pursue or further develop a career in or in relation to China, paired with a willingness to immerse yourself in a Chinese environment.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE CEIBS MBA CLASS OF 2023