An Inside Look into the CEIBS Pre-MBA Bootcamp Program

My name is Richard and I’m from UK. In 2007 I took the decision to take an exchange program in China at Peking University. Ever since then, my perspective and life has changed and taken a different trajectory than I expected.

I am now CEO of China Admissions. China Admissions is based in Beijing and is an investor backed online platform for international students to choose courses and apply to Chinese Universities, and for Chinese universities to internationalise. We have 100+ partner universities (including CEIBS), and 100,000 registered students on our platform.

I have been working in China for over 8 years now. Up to now I didn’t take an MBA or Master’s program, and most of the things I have learnt has been self study or from experience. It was exciting for me to join the Pre-MBA Bootcamp program when I saw the opportunity, and the whole experience definitely exceeded my expectations.

Here are the three things I really liked about the program.

1) The People

Before the program, I didn’t really know what to expect from the other students on the program. Before the program, we were added to a wechat group with the other participants, and on the first evening we were invited to a networking event to meet each other. Instead of being a formal event, it was very fun but also efficient to meet each other as we played ice-breaker games.

One of the things I liked most about the other students was their diversity. There were students from all over the world. There were some more mature and younger students with totally different backgrounds and motivations to be on the program. Some people were seriously considering an MBA, others were taking their first steps in China.

Throughout the program I found myself being in many interesting conversations with different people and I found this experience to be one of the best things about the program. I do think that its really important to surround yourself with great people and that you can learn a lot from the people you surround yourself with.

I really enjoyed the social activities. From this first event, to the final boat cruise on the river, the whole program was filled with activities with interesting people and had a great amount of energy. It was always nice to go for lunch to meet and eat with other students.

I really got the feeling that we are in Shanghai in 2019. We are in the right place, at the right time, and this is where things are happening.

I do think the highlight was the final event which was the river cruise along the bund in Shanghai. CEIBS organised a nice size boat and we had dinner there. We met with alumni from the program and saw the view of Shanghai the bund. The network of alumni at CEIBS is really quite impressive, and I met some Chinese and international alumni who are doing interesting things in Shanghai and we still keep in touch to this day. In China your network of connections is really important and it was great to meet the CEIBS alumni network.

2) The Classes

Throughout my education, I never really enjoyed going to class that much! I always wanted to be doing something rather than passively listening to a lecture. However the classes were something that really exceeded my expectation and I learnt a great deal from.

We had a great mix of different professors teaching different topics from HR and management, to marketing and investment. The professors were all very intelligent but also highly engaging. I never found myself being bored like I had in classes before.

I heard that CEIBS asks the students to rate the classes for feedback. I think this is smart because it helps the professors to always learn and improve.

It was great to go through some of the business topics which I had experience in, and look at them from different angles. I found myself learning so many new things and it really helped me to consider issues in my working experience.

What I really liked was the case study format – which is how MBA classes at CEIBS are normally run. The format is normally to introduce some concepts, and then we read a case study of a real world scenario. First we spend some time to read this by ourselves. Then we break out into groups to role play the scenario and consider the different issues and what we would do.

One that I liked was an HR scenario of how to manage a difficult member of staff. It explored a number of different issues and how to handle those. It was interesting to hear other peoples perspectives and how they would look at such issues.

I can imagine if taking the full time MBA program that the sheer number of case studies that you will go through would enable you to cover so many different types of business scenarios.

I do think that more people should take case studies because this rapid can help you to see your weaknesses and strengths, grow and improve and make you into a really well rounded professional. It will give you a lot of confidence that you can deal with any situation that might come up, and also help you to understand yourself better.

3) The Campus

I grew up in a small village just outside London which has around 200 people. Living in China, a country with almost 1.4 billion people, its often hard to find a quiet place and I have got accustomed to the constant buzz of activity from people, and construction.

The campus is really a beautiful place and the environment is so nice. It is like an oasis in two ways – physically it has a couple of beautiful water feature in the center of the campus. It is also like “a shelter from the storm”. It is a place to grow, learn and rejuvenate ready for getting back into the world.

The design is really nice, it is modelled on the Louvre. I suggest if you have an opportunity to visit for a lecture or a program I highly recommend it.

Overall it felt a shame that the program only lasted for 5 days, I do still feel that I want to come back to take some more classes.

Here are some links to some of the programs at CEIBS. If you are interested or have any questions about CEIBS feel free to get in contact with me at, or on Linkedin:

You can also register your interest in CEIBS below.

Founder and CEO at China Admissions. Originally from UK🇬🇧, based in Beijing. Studied at Peking University & BLCU. Preparing for HSK 6. Hope we can help more talented international students have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that I have had
Richard Coward

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