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Real Humans of the CEIBS MBA Class of 2023

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ceibs mba class of 2023Eleni Petri, CEIBS MBA Class of 2023

Age: 35
Hometown: Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece
Undergraduate Institution and Major: BSc in Economics, University of Piraeus (Greece); MBA in Agribusiness, Agricultural University of Athens (Greece)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 years in accounting, NGOs and development banking

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
The business landscape and the world are going through a transformative phase. The pandemic made even this transformation more apparent and accelerated it. In my domain of finance, I foresee two interrelated trends that will disrupt the socioeconomic environment – digitization and responsible investing. I believe that a top b-school offers the perfect tools to not only prepare someone for these changes, but also to put them well ahead and steer them successfully through this emerging world.

Why did you choose CEIBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
China is the economic powerhouse of the world, with an immense global economic influence and unique opportunities for trade, investment, and international cooperation. I have visited China over the last four years – mainly Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area – and I am ever more excited and impressed by the rate of development and the number of new opportunities available. China is at the edge of where new thinking is arising and new needs loom. I have nothing but admiration for the country and its culture. CEIBS is a world-class business school that offers “China Depth, Global Breadth,” making it the perfect vehicle to thrive in the Chinese and global business landscape. CEIBS was my clear and only choice. China is where the future of the world is being written, CEIBS is among the co-writers, and I want to be part of it!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I bring more than ten years of experience in a diverse set of sectors, from accounting and corporate finance to NGOs to development banking. As a senior accountant, I managed the portfolio of a wide range of clients and acquired solid hands-on experience. As finance director of an NGO at the heart of the European migrant crisis, I led innovative private impact investment initiatives. At the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), I witnessed firsthand pressures on the traditional bank-based financial ecosystem. These give me a solid and unique perspective and a combination of skills that will add value to the constructive discussions within my class.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
At the age of 12, I created my own “alphabet” to write secretly. Many years later, I discovered that the “alphabet” I had made back then had many similarities with the Chinese Characters!

Post-MBA career interests:
My passion is the interplay between finance and sustainable development. I am interested in how investment serves social impact through innovative products that create value for both investors and society. Therefore, I aspire to work in impact investing and new sophisticated technologies such as digital currencies and tokens that will disrupt the landscape of responsible investment.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would take a substantial amount of time to write the essays, as this part is not only crucial for a successful outcome but also a critical self-development process through which you reflect, question and envision yourself.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have taken more time to prepare for the GMAT/GRE exams. Although these exams do not test complex or deep concepts, they require a considerable amount of time to absorb the content, which is also helpful for some of the courses in the MBA.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Although the whole application procedure is quite stressful and time-consuming, I would not change any part of it. From each part of the process, you learn, you challenge yourself and, thus, you grow. 

What is your initial impression of the CEIBS students/culture/community?
I am impressed by how the whole CEIBS community, including the alumni, students, and faculty, are working towards making the CEIBS journey a successful and fulfilling one for each of us. I immediately felt the care and support of the community.

What is one thing you have learned about CEIBS that has surprised you?
How proactive and agile they are. They foresee the trends, and they immediately take action. China is paving the path towards digitization. It was the first country to launch its own digital currency. CEIBS anticipating that trend has already added more digital-oriented courses to its curriculum.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
There are several uncertainties for international students due to travel restrictions. Taking that into account, one has to have a Plan B if things don’t turn out as planned.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Finding the right balance between having a clear goal and focus and being flexible and agile.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
To look back after that first year and see my transformation through the extraordinary journey that is coming.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.