I completed my BTech and MTech from IIT Bombay in 2006 and was working in a multinational company as manager-product planning. With five years of work experience, I felt I required an MBA degree to push me up the corporate ladder. I looked up the 2010 Financial Times MBA school rankings and found the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai, ranked #17 in the world. This came as a surprise to me as I was not expecting a Chinese school to rank that high on global standards.
The decision to move to China was a little difficult because a) there is not enough information available about China and Chinese universities, b) the ‘impression’ of China as an enemy, and c) It is not a mainstream study abroad destination.
I spoke to the school management and got in touch with a few Indians studying at CEIBS. After some research, in July 2011 I decided to quit my job, drop the admission offer from a prominent Indian b-School and join CEIBS for the MBA programme.
Everyone (including my parents) asked the same question, “Why China?” Here is what I found during my research and experience in the country:
Language: The course is taught entirely in English. In the current class, 10 out of 11 Indians couldn’t speak any Chinese when we started the MBA programme. The school provides free classes to international students who would like to learn the local language.
Expenses: The MBA cost in China is less than half of what I would have spent in the US. The tuition fee is $35,000 per year (about Rs 19 lakh) and living expenses for dormitory and food are close to Rs 25,000 per month.
Placement: Last year, the average salary for international students from CEIBS was RMB600,000 per year (Rs 50 lakh). This is a pretty good return on investment considering that living expenses in China are not very high.
Attitude towards Indians: To my surprise, the Chinese people treat Indians with a lot of respect. India is a ‘land of mystery’ and everybody wants to know more about Indian culture. Many Chinese are fond of Indian movies like 3 Idiots, Asoka, and Jodha Akbar, to name a few and have read Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore.
Food: Yes, the Chinese eat a lot of non-vegetarian food. But vegetarian items are easily available, and so is Indian food. After classes, we sometimes go out for a cup of chai and samosas at an Indian restaurant just 100 metres from our school. Three Indians in our class are pure vegetarian and they are able to find healthy vegetarian food. For people who enjoy non-vegetarian fare, this place is a paradise.
Adjustments: Whenever I travel out of Shanghai, I feel like a movie star. People turn around to look at a foreigner and some even approach to get their pictures taken. Language at times is an issue as many people (especially outside the big cities) can’t speak English.
Overall experience: I feel India can learn a lot from China. The education system is very professional and the government is making a lot of effort to learn best practices from other international universities. For me, other areas of learning were the progress in industries like transportation, services and tourism.
I am looking forward to the upcoming placement season and will actively search for opportunities to work in China.