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InsideLook: One Applicant´s Journey to CEIBS (Daniel, Indonesia)


Interview with Daniel about his journey to getting accepted to CEIBS through the boot camp and application process.

Name: Daniel C. Daniel @danc
Nationality: Indonesia
Education: B.A. Mass Communications, University of Washington
Before MBA (work): Operations Supervisor, P.T. Gemilang J.M.P.
Work after MBA / Post MBA Goals: Asia Pacific, Family Manufacturing Business

So I´m born in Jakarta and then I moved to Singapore when I was 7 for my elementary and middle school, and then I moved to Seattle again at for my college. And I worked in the US for a small Japanese multi-national company for a Japanese straight-forward, using logistics. They’re part of the NYK Group.
And after working a year in the US I decided that you know, my family is in Asia and my future career goals are more aligned if I´m back in Asia, so that´s when I decided to move back to Asia in 2016.

Current Career Track?
So right now, I´m working in the family business. So, we´re in the manufacturing industry, so we produce wooden slats for the production of the wooden case pencils. So, colored pencils, eyebrow pencils, and the 2B pencils.

Why was an MBA the next step for you?
What made me want to do an MBA is after - right now I have about 2-3 years working experience, and you know, if I stay at the business right now, like - I´ll stay forever, I won´t have any more gaps. So, I, you know, my family they really support me doing an MBA because it will add value to the family business; they´re investing in me, essentially.

What schools were you considering? Why?
I only applied to schools in the Asia region. So HKUST, HKU, CHUK, Jiao Tong, Fudan, Waseda… It´s because these schools in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo – this schools are, you know, there´s a lot of resources in the alumni network that can allow me to improve on some of the current production abilities we have in our factory. So I want to work on that and yeah.

What was the boot camp interview like?
Based on what I heard from my other camp mates yes, they all did their interviews via Skype. Give us the scoop – What did they ask you in your Skype interview? What are you doing right now, what were you doing in the past, and what you want to do in the future. They´re trying to get a sense of what your direction is like. When can you sign up for that? I believe the deadline is June 13th, if I´m not mistaken. So like right now, this year we have CEIBS boot camp is coming out in July I believe, also in June. I think you can already apply to that.

The website says you can ´get your toes wet´ and ´dive right into Shanghai life and business´ - was that true for you? Talk about what it was like.
You know, it´s a 5-day boot camp program. I think it´s a light version of what you would expect in a CEIBS MBA. It was more of like a – you know, it was pretty laid back during the non-teaching classes; you get to interact with the current boot camp mates, the faculty, the administration and staff.
The CEIBS boot camp was really – it was the Aha moment that CEIBS is the school that I wanted to go to.
I´ve been to Shanghai like a couple of times before boot camp, so I´d already got the gist of Shanghai, but for someone that hasn´t been to Shanghai, or China, that´s really – as you said, dive right into Shanghai - It´s a very different experience that you can´t get elsewhere.

Camp Mates?
To be honest a lot of the camp mates were doing their junior/senior year in college. And we also had applicants that had 10 years work experience just trying to see what an MBA experience is like.
You know we have 65 camp mates and then coming from 24 countries, diverse yes. I think they want to mimic the MBA class size and then put it on a smaller scale.

Were there networking events?
So we do networking events and then they were doing a showcase, and had a few presentations of some of the ongoing trends and programs that´re going on. I was really glad that I went to the CEIBS boot camp.

Perks from camp in terms of discounts:
Waive application fee
20% discount on the boot camp
Early Bird discount

GMAT has a test you can do instead of your GMAT?
The CEIBS admissions test is similar to the GMAT, except that it doesn´t have the IR and - the first two sections, the writing and the – that one. So it´s just the verbal and the quantitative. It´s a 2 hour and 30 minutes test, and 92 questions. It´s pretty much separated into 5 sections.

To do the CEIBS admission test you have to get interviewed on campus as well. Yeah, that´s a requirement. During the application there´s choices that say do you want to take the interview on campus? And if you want to take the admissions test you have to check that box, that means you have to go to Shanghai for your interview (it´s either on campus or via Skype)

What was your strategy for standing out as opposed to other candidates?
What made me stand out is that I´m an Indonesian applicant that wants to - has a strong, and passionate interest in China. You know, because traditional Indonesian applicants they target regions like Europe, Asia, and Australia because Australia is pretty close to Indonesia. And also, I stand out because I speak Mandarin and English fluently.

What essay question did you get and what was your strategy?
The question was…let me get to it. Discuss your post-MBA aspirations, that was the first question. And then the second was:

´As the world´s largest consumer market and fastest growing economy of the last three decades, China has offered outstanding opportunities for international professionals in search of a career boost, what plans outside of the school career services do you plan to make in order to reach your professional objectives?´

And that´s when I expand on doing an internship, and talking about trends in China that are relatable to Indonesia and also the increasing amount of partnerships that China are Indonesia focused.

You applied Round 2 for CEIBS was there a reason?
I didn´t want to rush something on the wrong one, because I had the 550 GMAT and I wanted to give myself more time to prepare for the admission test. Because I did the CEIBS admission test on Feb 17th., and then my interview was on Feb 18th. And the deadline for round 1 was Jan 11th and at that time I had a very hectic schedule so it just worked out that I applied for Round 2.

Timeline for application? How did you tackle the process?
So I first did my GMAT prep. On my 550 score GMAT I spent only like 2 weeks, it was like a last-minute thing. After that I went to do my CV, I had my mentors and my previous managers take a look at my CV to see that it aligned with what was mentioned in my CV. And I did my CV before the essay because I wanted to, you know, have that self-awareness, my self-reflection time before I set and outlined an idea on my essay.

How did you prep for the interview?
I met up with some of my CEIBS current students and alumni. I talked a lot with them, and I didn´t really practice but I just talked with them and during our discussion and conversation I kind of got an idea of what I should do and not do in the interviews. Successful CIEBS students and CEIBS alumni that´s really helpful. I asked many people and then I got a few responses so yeah. I got their contacts from LinkedIn and CEIBS boot camp. I´m really, very active at outreach and reaching out to people on LinkedIn. Who interviewed you? There were 2 interviewers. One was Professor Sebastian Schue and the other was a Mr. Steven G. and Mr. Schue is a professor in CIEBS and Mr. Steven G is an assistant director of the financial aid program. What did they ask? Walk me through your resume, why CEIBS, why Shanghai, why MBA, and why career goals. They asked me questions on why do you want to establish your own brand, - very personal questions, very specific to my goals.

Connect with current students and get WeChat. WeChat is an application that´s widely used in China. You can use it to pay and everything. And once you have WeChat it´s really easier to connect with current CEIBS students and current CEIBS alumni, staff… With WeChat, you can pretty much not use e-mail anymore because like everyone´s on WeChat.
I would visit Shanghai, I would visit CEIBS, just to get a sense of what the school´s like that you´ll be in; because you know, an MBA is a huge investment, you want to be sure you´ll be somewhere you like for this one and a half year, 18 months. And boot camp is like number one!

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