Alumni Voices: Eric Seidner, APAC Program Manger at Apple
Eric Seidner: “I originally came to China looking for an adventurous life, not necessarily a professional one. My first “China job” teaching English in Beijing to 240 first graders helped situate me in a foreign country by putting a roof over my head and a bit of money in my wallet and help. As one year turned to two to three, I wrestled with a question: am I still traveling around China or am I actually settling down in China?
I knew I was gaining rich and varied experience. And I knew my career steps made sense. But, from an employers point of view—my work history seemed scattershot with no connecting through line. I needed a stamp of validation that would not only shave off the rough edges of my work history but also demonstrate my resume was full of meaningful and transferable skills and experiences. Therefore, I looked towards MBAs as a possible solution and discovered CEIBS.
When reviewing a host of MBA schools, CEIBS leapt to the forefront of choices due to its high academic standing and strong China focus. Most of the course work is completed as group assignments. CEIBS purposefully puts you into groups of classmates who are very different from yourself—industry backgrounds, cultures, etc. Work inside of these groups is seldom smooth, in fact—it’s often challenging. But learning to communicate, motivate, and persuade those who may be coming from an opposing point of view is an essential skill. While learning textbook material has its place, I firmly believe mastering soft skills—EQ skills—is essential for leadership.
Additionally, I enjoyed how CEIBS existed as a safe testing ground for ideas. There are ample opportunities to start a new club, host a conference or even lead an extracurricular project. And, if you fail—no biggie. You aren’t fired, but you have tried and learned something. So try again. I found most of my valuable experiences came not from being nose deep in a book but by being engaged in opportunities with the community.
In my subsequent roles post graduation, working with highly diversified teams became the norm. Communication of ideas, persuasion in problem solving, and motivation towards a vision are part and parcel of the job. I’m glad I had the opportunities from all of the CEIBS group course work to try things out, stumble around in finding my leadership style and sharpen my communication skills before entering the career world. Not only did I graduate with that stamp of validation on my resume—my past job choices having been “approved” by a top MBA institution and now made more attractive to recruiters—but also with a better sense of confidence in myself as a teammate and even as a leader.”