Thursday, June 14, 2012

Campus Visit to CEIBS in Shanghai China

On May 31st of this year I had the pleasure of visiting the Shanghai campus of the CEIBS MBA to meet with Steven Ji, the Senior MBA Admissions Manager at CEIBS. Steven was kind enough to answer my questions and give me a tour of the facilities. It was a great opportunity to see the school firsthand and learn a bit more about the experience there.  What follows is a collection of my thoughts and impressions after having had the time to reflect on this visit.


There are 200 students per year in the program, and the international student percentage is about 40%, for those entering in 2011, which is equal to or slightly higher than the percentage of international students in the majority of US-based MBA programs. It didn't take long while walking around the campus to see diverse groups of students meeting informally in common areas or working on group projects in dedicated group project meeting rooms, and from what I saw, the school certainly has an international feel to it. Read more about the class profile here.

The program's core strength lies in its "China Depth, Global Breadth" approach to teaching business. It excels in the area of business in China, and so is ideal for anyone serious about pursuing opportunities in China or working with Chinese businesses in the future. Moreover, CEIBS attracts 800 domestic business leaders every year to its executive program which is taught in both English and Chinese, another good example of the reach the school enjoys in China-based business.  

Campus Location and Growth:

The campus is a 10-minute taxi ride from Pudong, the main financial district of Shanghai.  The school is also growing: the school is doubling the size of this campus and the first rollout of this is set to occur in 2013.  Here are some photos available online, and I have added 1-2 of my own photos to this posting.  The campus incidentally was designed by I.M. Pei, who is known for having designed the pyramid structure at the Louvre. 

My impression of the campus was that it is functional and works well to house busy students coming and going from classes.  A lot of the ground level hallways and walking spaces are outside which reminded me of a US campus.  The majority of housing is on-campus, and while small it seemed adequate.  My own apartment during the MBA at Hitotsubashi in Tokyo was small too - though I was rarely there, so it didn't matter much.


Admissions encourages prospective students to visit the campus, and it seems they carefully interview the vast majority of applicants to the program. This is one reason why they do not require the TOEFL as a part of the admissions process, making it one of the very few that do not require this test (MIT Sloan, IMD and the Rotterdam School of Management are a few others that come to mind).  In terms of enrolled students from Japan, the program typically has 1-2 enrolling each year, and there are 3 Japanese students in the 2012 entering class.


The CEIBS MBA was founded in 1994 and its mission is to educate responsible leaders versed in "China Depth, Global Breadth". My impression was that by focusing on this mission, and especially the "China Depth" part, CEIBS has successfully differentiated itself from other programs, and offers unique value to those for whom China-related business will be important in the future.

For more Reading (in Japanese only):

Satoko Okamoto, a CEIBS graduate, wrote a book on the experience, which I am translating roughly as "The True Face of the Chinese Elite from the MBA Program in Shanghai".  The book is available here at and is in Japanese only. 

If you are thinking of applying to CEIBS, or want to learn more about my impressions during my visit, feel free to email me with any questions!

John Couke