Tyler Gehrmann S Exchange Report: China Europe International Business School Fall 2006 Shanghai, China

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1 Tyler Gehrmann S Exchange Report: China Europe International Business School Fall 2006 Shanghai, China 1

2 CEIBS background information CEIBS was established in 1994 under an agreement between the Chinese Government and the European Commission. In 2004, CEIBS received the EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) accreditation and is the only school in mainland China which has this accreditation. In 2006, CEIBS ranked 21 st in FT s Global MBA rankings. To do list or items to note before starting the semester at CEIBS Residence permit: Before leaving for China, you will need to apply for and receive a residence permit. CEIBS will send you an application form which must be completed and returned to them. Once CEIBS has received this application they will send out the necessary paper work for you to get your residence permit from the nearest embassy or consulate. Course registration: Course registration for your semester at CEIBS will begin prior to your arrival at the school. You will or should be sent descriptions of the courses to be offered for the semester and a course schedule. In addition to this information, the logon and password for the course registration page will be sent out. It is important to note that once you have been assigned a CEIBS account you check it on a normal basis, as this information may be sent to that account. 2

3 The registration is based on a bidding process each student is allotted a set number of points and then bids on courses. The courses which will be offered for the semester are then decided from the results of the bidding process. Although this seems to really lock a student into the classes which must be taken during the semester, dropping and adding classes is rather simple to do once the semester begins. The semester structure at CEIBS is also different than at NHH. The semester is divided into four quarters and most courses will run for one quarter, with a few exceptions (some courses will run for two of the quarters). Exams for the courses are taken at the end of each quarter. Textbooks: A list of the textbooks required for each class will be sent out to incoming students prior to the start of the semester. There is a bookstore on campus, but textbooks must be ordered before the start of the semester, as the store does not stock all required textbooks on a normal basis. It is also possible to bring the books with you, but the prices will be lower from the store on campus. Buddy: Each exchange student is assigned a buddy for the semester. It is nice to contact your buddy before arrival just to touch base with someone that may be able to help you get around in Shanghai when you first arrive. 3

4 Arrival tips Airport to school When first arriving in Shanghai you will most likely land at Pudong Airport. From there you can either take a taxi to school or take the Maglev Train into town and then take a taxi the remainder of the way to the school. Either way is fine, but it is important to know what to pay for the taxi before leaving. First, make sure that the taxi driver starts the meter before leaving. It does not matter what the driver tells you, just make sure that the meter is started and if he or she says it is broken take a different taxi. There may also be another person working for or with some taxi drivers trying to solicit business for them that speaks English. Normally these people will tell you that they can take you to a taxi and you will not need to wait in line for one. Just be warned that they will likely take you to one that is going to charge you much more than you need to pay. I personally did not have a problem when I arrived, but I had made a prior arrangement through a friend that lives in China. Nearly all the exchange students I knew in Shanghai experienced some type of problem or at least paid much more than they needed to when first arriving. A taxi from the Pudong Airport to CEIBS should cost about 115 RMB. The students I knew that did not have the meter started paid between 200 and 315 RMB. It is also important to print off and bring with you the address of the school written in Chinese. It is rather rare to find a taxi driver that can speak English and even rarer that speaks Norwegian, so you will need the address card to show the driver. 4

5 Registration at the police station: After arrival in Shanghai you will need to register at the police station near campus if staying in the dorms and if you are staying in a different location whoever you are renting from will be able to tell you where to register. Registering at the police station is a good time to bring your buddy with or it is also possible to go alone if you are feeling adventurous. At CEIBS Course expectations As mentioned earlier, the semester at CEIBS is split into quarters, most classes will last for one quarter and a few will go for two. This means that every three weeks or so there will be an exam period and afterwards new courses will begin. Some students that I knew in Shanghai took all of their courses in three of the quarters and used one quarter to travel. I did not personally do this, but it is a possibility. There is a bidding system for the courses before the start the semester, as I also described above. This does not mean that your course schedule cannot be changed once the semester begins. It is actually rather easy to drop and add courses at the start of each quarter, if there are seats in the class available. However, you may only drop or add courses for the first few days of each quarter, so you must take note. 5

6 Housing arrangements: There are dorms available for exchange students at CEIBS. All of the exchange students normally stay in the same dormitory building on campus. The dorms are rather nice and come equipped with a TV and internet. There is also a cleaning service which will clean the rooms once a week. The people that clean the rooms do not speak English and will come into the room without much warning. It is also possible to live off campus. The best way to get information on these options is to the exchange coordinator at CEIBS for a realtor s contact information. There are apartments near campus in Pudong or in the other district, Puxi. When negotiating the price of the apartment keep in mind that the realtor may be working with the apartment owner. This would be a good time to bring your buddy with or another native Mandarin speaker. Student organizations: CEIBS has a lot of different student organizations on campus, all of which are open to exchange students. Whether you are interested in sports or international films it is likely that you will be able to find a club at CEIBS. Each fall there is a sporting competition in Shanghai called the Sunny Cup for all of the city s MBA schools. There are a lot of different competitions at the event from badminton to football. It will likely be really tough to make the badminton team, but it might be possible to play football or basketball. 6

7 Travel in China Traveling around China is not very difficult and in my opinion buying a travel book is the best way to start. There are a lot of flights from Shanghai to anywhere in China and it is also possible to take the train. Another great source of information is other students at CEIBS. A lot of the fulltime foreign students at CEIBS have done a good amount of traveling and there are Chinese students from all over the country. There is also a travel club at CEIBS that can be a great way to get information. Summary of my time at CEIBS What stood out the most: Studying at CEIBS this past semester was one of the more rewarding experiences I have had while studying. I imagine I was like most students going to a new country when I left for China, rather unsure of what to expect. The one thing that stood out in my mind the most while in China was the amazing contrasts between people. In Shanghai a person can see a BMW driving down a modern freeway that could be found anywhere in Europe or North America next to a person pulling a cart full of meat going to a local shop. There was also a good example of the contrasts next to campus. CEIBS has the best MBA program in Asia and across the street from campus there is a slum village. The village is actually a rather nice place to go and buy fruit or other small goods but the differences are rather stark. People wash dishes in the aisles and can be seen sleeping under small 7

8 storefronts on makeshift beds at night. After spending my previous year in Norway, one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, these differences were quite eye opening. I also had a chance to travel through Tibet during the Chinese national holiday in October. Traveling there really highlighted a lot of the differences between the large cities in China and the countryside. In Tibet we had an opportunity to see a lot of farming, which I am guessing has not changed much over the past century. Many framers there still use yak to plow their fields and stack crops by hand. The differences are interesting to see firsthand and really show how much China has developed in the past thirty years, but also how much further parts of the country still have to go. Student life: Like most exchange programs, in my opinion, exchange students tend to relate more to other exchange students while fulltime students relate more to other fulltime students. This was also the case at CEIBS, but I think involvement in student clubs and other activities outside of school provide a great opportunity to bridge this gap to some extent. As I mentioned above, CEIBS has a wide variety to student clubs open to all students. I had the opportunity to play on the CEIBS basketball team during the semester I was in Shanghai. It was through the basketball team that I was able to meet and socialize with the most with fulltime Chinese students at CEIBS. Outside activities provide a great way for students to find common ground and be more open to each other. 8

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