Wow, it has been an amazing last couple of weeks!! So much has happened since I first arrived in this city of over 20 million people just over two weeks ago. Shanghai is where I’ll be spending the next 3 months studying on exchange at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and I already think I’m going to have a hard time leaving this place at the end of the program : )
CEIBS is a relatively new MBA program, established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Chinese government and the European Union, but it is already regarded as the top MBA program in mainland China. Full-time students come from all over the world, but over 75% are from either mainland China or other regions in Asia Pacific. What is unique about this program (and many other business schools outside of the US) is that a large portion of the 2nd year students go on exchange. At CEIBS over 50% of the full-time class studies abroad, allowing for a very large class of exchange students to come to CEIBS. My class consists of over 70+ exchange students from all over the world – Germany, France, Spain, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and Israel to name a few – making our class extremely diverse. The classroom experience here has been really interesting because of all the varied backgrounds that bring a unique and global perspective to the discussion. Most of the cases that we work on are focused on international or China related topics, such as Tesco’s entry into China (in my Retailing Strategies class) and China Telecom’s IPO (in my Investment Banking class) – which was a deal that my professor actually worked on when he was at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong.
Life outside of the classroom has been awesome too. Shanghai is a very modern and international city that offers unlimited options for fun and cultural experiences. I was actually surprised at how westernized the city actually is compared to other cities I’ve been to in China. Here you can have pretty much every luxury you have back home but usually for a fraction of the cost. There are times you feel like you are in China when hundreds of motorbikes are zipping by and thousands of people are climbing on the subway during rush hour, but there are also times that you don’t, like when at an expat bar watching college football. The city itself is really spread out but the subway system makes it really easy to get around. Fellow McCombs classmate Joe Gosse and I, along with many other exchange students, live in the Jing’an district of Shanghai, which is located about an hour away from school but in the middle of the nightlife and restaurant scene. Since most important business deals in China are sealed only after meals and heavy drinking, we figured we might work on those important business skills as well while here ; )
Another thing I’ve found surprising is how friendly people are and how easy it is to meet people here. At school the full-time students really go out of their way to meet the exchange students and make them feel welcome, inviting us to work on group projects with them and go out to local Chinese restaurants for beer and food after class. As an exchange student at CEIBS we get to partake in all of the social and networking events offered by the school and are even able to join the CEIBS Alumni Association after we leave. I am definitely taking advantage of the networking opportunities and want to meet as many people as I can while I’m here in China. There are many company presentations held on campus (I attended the LVMH presentation yesterday) and I’ll also get to meet with the CFO of Gap China, and fellow Stanford alum, in a couple weeks!
Stay tuned for more updates from China! And please reach out if you have any questions at all about studying abroad.