Back in 2013, Arpit Mishra was working as a consultant for an analytics firm, based between Bangalore and Shanghai. Working in China, his eyes were opened to the idiosyncrasies that make the Chinese culture a chasm of curiosity.
The work; the culture; the people; everything was different. And Arpit began to understand the need for knowledge about how the Chinese market works.
“The pace of development going on in China was amazing,” he explains. “People seemed to be open about talking about new technology, new ideas.
“There are a lot of people doing MBAs in the US, but for me there’s more and more need for people to have an understanding of China.”
That belief prompted Arpit to embark on the MBA program at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)—he graduated in 2017 and used his MBA to launch a career with Intel in China. He is now a finance manager working with artificial intelligence (AI) in the China Corporate Strategy Office in Shanghai.
“CEIBS helped me understand not only western culture, but Chinese culture as well,” he admits. “I can be a bridge between Intel’s Chinese team, and our headquarters in the US.”
His work for Intel involves looking at the international strategy of the company and assessing the opportunities on offer in China. The rise of AI plays a key role in that and working at the cutting-edge of modern technology has exposed Arpit to its long-term potential.
Unlike computers and smartphones, that were developed and refined in the US before making their way to China, Arpit says AI offers a different path. “When it comes to AI, both countries, the whole world in fact, is on a journey,” he says. “The case is unique as China will not be following but leading together with the US. Understanding this market from the beginning is very important.”
The Chinese government has made the development of AI one of its top priorities. It’s one of the branches of the Made in China 2025 plan—a blueprint to revolutionize the Chinese economy across a wealth of sectors, aiming to drive the nation as a dominate figure in the era of tech. Arpit says that by 2030, estimates put the contribution of AI to the Chinese economy at $7 trillion—roughly 25% of GDP at that time.
When it comes to technological advances, the CEIBS MBA prepares students to enter the fray. And it’s not all about being technologically-savvy either. A strong business acumen is key when harnessing the impact of tech within a company like Intel.
Business school for Arpit is about imparting into students a way of thinking strategically, by looking at problems with a broader perspective, minimizing myopia.
“That is one of the things CEIBS helped me with,” he says. “At the end of the day I’m a finance manager, and every decision I think about has to focus on ROI (return on investment). It has to eventually be a big creative for the company in the long-term, and CEIBS helped me understand the financial and strategic angles.”
An MBA is key in developing students’ communication skills too. At CEIBS, by working in an international environment—the current cohort is represented by 22 countries—students graduate with an understanding of how to converse across borders.
Arpit does that daily—Intel’s China team acts almost as a consultant for the team based in the US. Communicating directly back to them must be done in a concise, coherent way. The CEIBS MBA, Arpit explains, helped him convey that.
MBA students need to have a broad understanding of how AI works, and how it is impacting the future of business. “The way I see it is how it was explained by Google,” Arpit adds, “[AI] will be as big as fire and electricity. It will be ubiquitous, and we should all know about it.”
He thinks it’s the biggest opportunity that mankind has come across, and no one country should handle its advancement on their own. Collaboration across borders is therefore going to be paramount—MBAs will play a key role in translating that message.
“For students when it comes to new technology they have to put in a whole lot of effort in terms of understanding it,” Arpit concludes.
“At the end of the day we can get overexcited sometimes, and if you ask me about the hype today, deep learning and AI are at the top of the hype cycle. It’s important to differentiate hype with reality, [and] that’s where MBAs do a very good job.”