How an MBA can prepare you for success in a foreign market

Christopher Day has spent his entire career in China before enrolling in the MBA of (CEIBS) in 2017. As an international student with a career spanning more than 10 years in Asia, he turned to a business school to develop financial acumen and basic business knowledge.

Christopher had spent the decade leading up to CEIBS working across China on franchise expansion for international kindergartens while working for a leading US publisher in education and then as director of operations of a leading UK international school – Dulwich College International – in Beijing.

It was the culmination of a pre-MBA career that Christopher had launched straight out of his undergraduate philosophy. Without prior formal business training, he explains that the MBA can give you the business knowledge and cultural understanding you need to enhance your career abroad.


As he began working on campus expansion as COO for Dulwich College International, Christopher moved from a back office role to project management liaising between architects, quantity surveyors and large-scale procurement teams.

The next step would have been a role at director level, but Chris felt that he lacked the necessary fundamentals in finance and basic business knowledge for this level. It was then that he decided to enroll in the CEIBS MBA – he is one of the many international students who remain in China to graduate.

Christopher says that after dedicating his entire career to China and education, an MBA was a good way to step back and assess his next career development.

“After being in China for 11 years, I took advantage of business school to travel and explore other markets,” he explains.

How the CEIBS MBA program builds your international credentials

The CEIBS MBA program provides students with a deep dive into Chinese business, starting with the teaching method of MBA case studies. CEIBS produces its own internal China-focused case studies through its Case Center.

China-specific modules also take students to different regions of the country to learn about various business and cultural practices that have helped the development of the Chinese market. A trip to Shenzhen shows students the rise of a global innovation hub, for example, while a visit to Nanjing educates students about the globalization of Chinese companies.

In the classroom, Christopher explains that the expertise of the faculty gives MBA applicants a new perspective on China and global business.

“I took a course on China in the World and I remember feeling very inspired in that course,” he recalls. “Our teacher stressed the importance of cultural mastery, not only in one or two countries, but at least in three.”

This class encouraged Christopher to explore opportunities in the education sector in Africa. He landed a four-month scholarship during his penultimate semester at Moringa School in Kenya, one of the leading software skills accelerators in East Africa – he advised on growth strategy and market expansion for seed financing.

Most of Christopher’s financial knowledge came from CEIBS, and he explains that while someone from outside the country has surface access to how things work there, the research-driven expertise of the CEIBS gives students a more granular overview.

“I had never really heard a very articulate, research-driven economic outlook from Chinese macro and microeconomics professors, and it opened up a lot to me.”

After Africa, Christopher took advantage of CEIBS ‘“strong” foreign exchange program to join London Business School for his final semester. “Because CEIBS is the best business school in China, a lot of people overseas interested in the Chinese job market want to come here,” adds Christopher, “so there is a lot of reciprocity with some of the best schools in the world. , which have all places available for students to spend a semester abroad. “

Building a successful career in a foreign market

The dynamism and early career atmosphere Christopher experienced in Kenya was exactly what he was looking for in his next role. In London, he met a group of Finnish entrepreneurs and joined their company, FinlandWay International Preschools, to set up early childhood centers in South East Asia, where he saw a similar energy building in the childcare sector. ‘education.

This role took him to Vietnam to open a Finnish kindergarten. He then joined a coding school and worked on their expansion strategy. This was around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and much of Christopher’s energy was spent refining the organization’s online education offering and ensuring it remains solvent.

Christopher’s international career has kept him in Vietnam, where he is currently the Executive Director of STREETS International, a non-profit vocational training program that focuses on at-risk youth in Vietnam. The organization operates an 18-month program that teaches students English and a certified hospitality program in the United States to help them find employment in international hotels.

“I think it’s something that brings together a lot of my experiences,” says Christopher. This is the peak of his international career and is the result of the academic and cultural knowledge acquired in the MBA and his commitment to develop a few key attributes.

“[Succeeding in a foreign market] requires a lot of empathy, humility, resilience and listening, ”he says. “There are equally valid or better approaches to the same problems in other countries and the more you travel and work abroad the more you develop this appreciation for other ways of doing things.”

“When you go abroad for the first time, the benefit of this experience cannot be seen immediately, but the more you develop this and the more time you spend working in different markets, I think it becomes easier. to occupy managerial positions and to work with completely different colleagues. environments that have completely different visions of the world. “

About Geraldine Higgins

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