There is one week until school officially starts but more than half of the year group has already settled into campus lifestyle and is occupied with an array of activities: intensive language studies, networking events or getting a feel for the city we will be calling home for the next 18 months.
For me, the first few days have been occupied by the little details required for settling into a new place. Setting up a bank account, health checks, getting to know the transport system and interacting with the local people in the food malls and supermarkets. You soon realise that it is really getting to grips with the intricacies of living in Shanghai – the culture and the way people interact – that is the first step to successful execution in any endeavour in China.
On top of that, I attended an event organised by the Consultancy Club – a talk by a Ceibs alumnus who is working as a consultant at Mckinsey. It was a good opportunity for me to hear first hand about working life in an elite management consultancy (in particular in the greater China region) as well as the interview processes.
This has made me more aware of the intake requirements compared with the European standards I was used to. This mainly comes down to the higher level of language proficiency requirements, being able to speak native and/or business level English and Mandarin Chinese. The requirement is understandable given the prospective client base of the consultancy firms in the region and subsequently language skills are definitely an area which both international and domestic students at the school are working to improve.
On top of this, some practical advice and available resources were highlighted to help us prepare for the case study type of interviews required as part of the management consultancy interview process. The talk concluded with the alumnus saying that for those who are keen problem solvers and great storytellers, management consulting may be the career for them.
My first few days here have been a good first step into my life as an MBA student. It is often said and remains true that there is an extensive mix of people on an MBA programme. I have had the chance to meet an eclectic mix at the school and will no doubt talk more about them in future blogs.
Our programme this year began earlier (in July), giving us a chance to interact with the 2011 students who have remained on campus to take elective courses or are working on their summer internships in Shanghai. This gave me a chance to hear more of their stories and advice, as we dine over a vast selection of Korean and Chinese cuisines and travel into the depths of Shanghai.