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Real Humans of the CEIBS MBA Class of 2023

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Christopher Ku, CEIBS MBA Class of 2023

Age: 27
Hometown: Taiwan
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, major in Computer Engineering and minor in Mathematics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Five years in the technology industry

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
When I graduated from high school, I aimed to join the fintech industry, which requires both technical and business knowledge. As I started this plan by enrolling as an engineering major in college, doing an MBA was already on my list. With five years working experience in technology companies in Silicon Valley, I have learned the leading industry best practices and have established a solid technical foundation. Therefore, I believe it’s the right time for me to acquire business knowledge and pivot into the fintech world.

Why did you choose CEIBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I have been in the US for around nine years, and coming back to Asia was always part of my plan. So when I was applying to schools, CEIBS came to my attention. CEIBS has a great reputation for the global perspective of its MBA program. In addition, residing in Shanghai, a world-class financial hub, CEIBS will put me close to the opportunities in the fintech industry as I target to become a quant trader or blockchain developer after graduation. Finally, through my consultation with one of my family members, a CEIBS alumnus, I learned that CEIBS offers a rigorous curriculum and will enable me to meet other highly-talented individuals to build my connections. Therefore, I decided to join CEIBS and can’t wait for this exciting journey.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
Being born and raised in a traditional Asian family, I embarked on a journey to the US for college and established a solid technical foundation in Silicon Valley. Through my experiences, I believe I can bring my diverse range of experiences and share leading industry best practices with my fellow students. 

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I usually walk slowly and I even breathe heavily when I try to catch up my friends’ pace; however, I am really good at sports and I can run fast on the court for a whole game and am still energetic afterwards.

Post-MBA career interests:
Quant Trader or Blockchain Developer

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Writing essays – it is an opportunity for me to re-think my career and explore my ultimate goals.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
As GMAT scores are valid for five years, I would take the exam 1-2 years prior to my application for the MBA program. This would allow me to have more time to work on my application materials and get more prepared for applications.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT is the one I would want to skip if I could. To me, the GMAT is a test designed for its takers to focus on preparation for a short time (1-2 months) and it is not an easy exam. Studying for the GMAT and working at the same time was just a nightmare to me. However, it was my persistence that helped me get through this hard time.

What is your initial impression of the CEIBS students/culture/community?
CEIBS is a graduate only school with a high global ranking. This further implies that students at CEIBS are highly-talented individuals and have already made some great accomplishments through their professional experiences.

What is one thing you have learned about CEIBS that has surprised you?
It’s not uncommon that an MBA program has a great reputation for its alumni resources. What surprises me is that even though classes haven’t started yet, many alumni have proactively reached out to me and are willing to share their suggestions and bountiful resources. This has allowed me to be more prepared for school and I believe this will definitely be my most valuable asset post-graduation. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
No, not really.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year
Coming from an engineering background, I have only a little business knowledge. Moreover, the CEIBS MBA program was designed to put most courses in the first year and let students take internships in the second year to gain practical experiences. Based on these two facts, I’m a little anxious that I might need to spend much time on studying and might be overwhelmed in my first year.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Apart from self-study, the CEIBS MBA program will provide me with many systematic business trainings and enable me to collaborate with other highly-talented students from different industries. These will definitely allow me to establish a solid business foundation and give me opportunities to learn different aspects toward business cases.

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.