Admissions.SG: What would you like candidates to know about CEIBS?
Prof. Shimin Chen: CEIBS is China’s leading business school, ranked #1 in China by BusinessWeek, with two programs in the FT Global Top-20 (MBA #17, and EMBA #10). Our motto China Depth, Global Breadth reflects the fact, that we are by far the most global b-school in China, and out of all the top-tier schools in the world, we provide our students with the most in-depth knowledge of how to do business in the world’s largest market and most dynamic city. The CEIBS experience is truly unique because of where we are, the growth and market around us is just fascinating. I would argue, now that the economic pole of activity has moved toward China and Asia, an MBA in this part of the world is almost indispensable for ambitious young professionals.
Admissions.SG: Candidates often ask whether the MBA is a worthwhile investment. What would you say with respect to the ROI of a CEIBS MBA?
Shimin Chen: Well I think the ROI is quite evident to be frank. Being ranked #3 in the world for salary increase after graduation (average of 88%), there is an attractive ROI for most students who choose a CEIBS MBA in the short to medium term. In the long term, your network in Asia, newly acquired management and leadership tools, and new opportunities which arise with a globally recognized degree, offer you virtually endless possibilities to excel as well as help you ADAPT as your career develops.
Admissions.SG: How does CEIBS differentiate itself from other schools in the region?
Shimin Chen: By the top-tier int’l and Chinese faculty we recruit from the best schools worldwide. By our unparalleled partnerships with schools such as Wharton and Harvard. By the extensive diversity of our students – with an alumni network representing 80+ countries. By our unparalleled ties with Asia’s leading MNCs, in addition to a strong network in China’s SOE and private enterprise sectors. By the numerous tools we provide for our aspiring entrepreneurs, including a US$100M in house venture capital fund. And by our location, Shanghai – Asia’s new commercial and finance capital, and the world’s most dynamic city.[pullquote cite=”Shimin Chen” type=”left”]Being ranked #3 in the world for salary increase after graduation (average of 88%), there is an attractive ROI for most students who choose a CEIBS MBA[/pullquote]Admissions.SG: You offer multiple rounds of applications. Are there any advantages to applying in particular rounds compared to others?
Shimin Chen: Yes, it is always better to apply in the first or second round since there are more slots available, as well as more options for scholarships. This year we offered a record amount of 80+ merit based scholarships, covering more than 40% of the students in our incoming class.
Admissions.SG: What happens to an application once the applicant hits the Submit button? Walk us through your evaluation process. How many people read each application?
Shimin Chen: We have several admissions officers go over the application and give their separate evaluation of each application, which is then integrated into a single score. We give different weights to each applicant’s characteristics – they include but are not limited to their undergraduate GPA, reputation of their university, int’l experience, certificates and honors, work experience and career progression, recommendations by their supervisors, as well as their essays have an important weight. If their application is approved during the initial review process, they will then be called for either a face-to-face or Skype interview (for those living abroad). Rejected applicants have the possibility to receive a feedback session with the aim of giving them points for improvement shall they decide to reapply.
Admissions.SG: What are you really looking for in an ideal MBA candidate? How can candidates stand out?[pullquote cite=”Shimin Chen” type=”right”]it is always better to apply in the first or second round since there are more slots available, as well as more options for scholarships.[/pullquote]Shimin Chen: A combination of outstanding hard and soft skills, self-awareness and maturity, demonstration of career progression, leadership, and relative clarity in career direction and ambitions. Global outlook and an open-minded attitude are essential, among other qualities.
Admissions.SG: How important is the GMAT in your decisions? What, if any, roles do the AWA and IR sections of the GMAT play in your decisions?
Shimin Chen: The GMAT is an important part of the application process where 80% of those admitted are within the range of 640-740 and their average GMAT score is 691. If your score is lower than the average, it should be compensated by a stronger score on the rest of your application. In addition, a higher GMAT score significantly increases your chances in receiving one of our merit-based scholarships.
Admissions.SG: What percentage of the pool do you interview? What does your interview process look like? What percent of the interviewees are offered admission?
Shimin Chen: The percentage we interview can change from year to year, and between rounds. Our interview process is normally done by two CEIBS representatives, normally one admissions consultant and one faculty member. The interview time is 30-40 minutes, leaving the candidate an opportunity for questions during the end of the session.
Admissions.SG: Do you have a pet peeve? What is the one mistake candidates make that gets them rejected outright?[pullquote cite=”Shimin Chen” type=”left”]The GMAT is an important part of the application process where 80% of those admitted are within the range of 640-740 and their average GMAT score is 691.[/pullquote]Shimin Chen: I would say there is no one mistake that can reject them “outright” unless they are dishonest. But a pet peeve I would say, is when candidates try to over-prepare their interviews with scripted answers. Don’t get me wrong, it is essential to prepare for the interview so one does not forget or omit important information, as well as help one feel more confident going into the interview. But I advise candidates not to make the mistake of “scripting” their answers to what we want to hear, but rather being natural, frank, and open. After all this is not a job interview, but rather both sides trying to see if there is a good fit between our school and their personal career goals and ambitions.
Admissions.SG: How have your application numbers, acceptance rates, and yield changed over the past few years?
Shimin Chen: The market for MBAs is rebounding after several years of stagnation in the international market, while applications from Chinese students continue to be strong. Nevertheless the market is becoming more and more competitive, and that is why we are constantly innovating and improving the experiential aspects of our program to really make a student’s 18 month experience something unique and life changing – both on the personal as well as professional dimensions.
Admissions.SG: What percentage of last year’s incoming class are career switchers? Have you seen any shift in the careers that the applicants are interested in?
Shimin Chen: On average about 85% of our students are career switchers, meaning they change industry, function, and/or geographic location. The top three industries in the last few years continue to be Financial Services, IT/Telecom, and Industrial Products.