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Zheng Chao’s Story of Gratitude

Volume 3, 2015

By Lei Na

About seven years ago, when Zheng Chao graduated from Beijing Normal University’s English Department, she was sure she wanted to do an MBA one day. So she looked at the next four years spent working for a foreign company as a way to prepare, and never stopped trying to get back to the classroom so she could achieve her goal. In 2013, she successfully passed the GMAT and completed the CEIBS MBA admission interview. She later moved to a city that was dear to her heart, Shanghai, and just like that she was one step closer to her dream. However, she had one final hurdle: the tuition fee. “I’m from a very ordinary family, and I’d only worked for a few years. So I didn’t tell my parents I was trying to do an MBA until I received the admission letter. You can imagine the heavy economic burden I had then,” she says.

Determined to seize every opportunity available to help her do an MBA, Zheng checked the CEIBS MBA website for information on possible scholarships and grants. She balanced the pros and cons, and decided to apply for a grant. “I didn’t put much hope on it, because I thought other candidates might be more impressive, or need the grants more than I did. But I tried my best, and did all I could do,” says Zheng. Luck was on her side. She was awarded the Liu Ji Education Fund Grant, which covered half her tuition fee. “The funds were delivered in two tranches, first at the beginning of the semester as a deduction in my tuition bill, and then at the end of the school year. When I got the grant, I was inspired to work harder than other students because one condition for applying is that you should be more excellent, and need the grant more than other candidates,” she adds.

During her 18 months at CEIBS, Zheng worked hard. The courses covered during the MBA helped her to establish a comprehensive system of management knowledge, and changed her vision and mind-set. She made friends with classmates from all over the world, and learned to work alongside and get along with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Feature, Volume 3, 2015Her hard work paid off. After she graduated, she got a job with British Petroleum. At home during Spring Festival, she asked her mother to suggest a gift for the CEIBS Foundation’s Liu Ji, something that would show how grateful she was for receiving financial support when she needed it most. Her mother suggested that, with Mr Liu unlikely to be in great need of anything, Zheng should think about giving back to the Foundation. Her mother thought that would be the best way to thank Mr Liu, and help others at the same time. Zheng took her advice. She decided to donate RMB2,000 and RMB1,000 on behalf of herself and her mother, respectively, for five consecutive years. The donation date would be April 26 – to mark the day she graduated from CEIBS in 2015. “We think continuous donation makes more sense,” Zheng explains.

She also took the time to send a letter to the Foundation. She wrote, “Two years ago, I made the most important decision of my life, to attend CEIBS full-time MBA programme. My path in life has changed ever since then. I’ll always been grateful to Mr Liu Ji for his help and the support from the Foundation in my most difficult times. This gratitude will inspire me to strive to be better, and to be an outstanding individual.”

Liu Ji replied, “I’m so glad that you reached a new highpoint in your life. It is very touching for you to first think of repaying the school upon graduation. It’s not a lot of money, but you have a heart of gold, which is most worthy of praise. CEIBS is proud for you. I hope you keep doing your best, and always move forward. If you have any problems, please remember that you have our support; we will continue to help you. Should you achieve any success, please also let us know; we would like to share your joy!”

For Zheng, giving back to her alma mater came naturally. “It’s not something big, but it represents my gratitude towards CEIBS and Mr Liu. It’s just my way of saying thanks. I’ll keep doing it,” she says.