Bridging Continents: Martin's Leap from American Roots to a CEIBS MBA

Martin CEIBS Student Ambassador

Raised in Wisconsin, USA, my childhood was a blast, filled with all things outdoors: longboarding, free diving, mountain climbing, camping, you name it. It was during a trip to China in 2005, smack in the middle of the Chinese National Day celebrations for a friend's wedding, that I got my first real taste of Chinese culture and language. This wasn’t just a holiday; it turned out to be the start of a lifelong passion. Coming back, I dove into Chinese philosophy because, let’s face it, my high school was more about football than foreign languages.

College was where things got serious. I landed an immersive programme at Peking University, and that experience was nothing short of transformative. It wasn’t just about improving my Mandarin; it was about getting this insider view into the profound differences and similarities between Chinese and Western cultures. Teaching English in Beijing wasn’t just a side gig; it became a way to connect deeper with education and discover a newfound passion.

Martin on a trip

After undergrad, the pull back to China was irresistible. I found myself enrolling in a Master's programme in Chinese Studies at the Nanjing University-Johns Hopkins University Centre for Chinese and American Studies, also known as the Hopkins-Nanjing Centre. This wasn’t just another academic checkpoint; it was about laying the groundwork for my future.

Martin with friends

Post-graduation, I threw myself into the world of international education, crafting international programmes and demystifying college admissions. This wasn’t just a job; it was a mission to help students carve out their own paths, to inspire them to see beyond their backyard. That’s what led me to kickstart Journey-Far, a brand dedicated to guiding students aspiring to study abroad. Sure, stepping into entrepreneurship was daunting, but it felt right.

Martin presenting

Through it all, I’ve held onto the belief that learning never stops. It’s why I decided to pursue an MBA at CEIBS in 2023. Their mantra of 'China Depth, Global Breadth' wasn’t just catchy; it resonated with me on every level. And let me tell you, the programme has been an eye-opener. From being wary of financial accounting to now finding it downright fascinating, thanks to Professor Gianfranco’s way of making everything click. And it’s not just about the numbers; courses like Professor Bala’s microeconomics have challenged me to think differently, to analyse and approach problems in new ways.

Martin at CEIBS

Being part of the CEIBS community, diving into events like the investment forum and the China Innovation Marketing Forum, has been invaluable. The insights, the networking, the sheer energy—it’s been integral to not just my academic growth but my personal journey in understanding and navigating the complexities of cultural integration.

Martin watching presenation

Reflecting on my eight years in China and the journey with CEIBS, it’s clear how pivotal this experience has been. It’s shaped who I am, broadened my horizons, and prepared me for whatever comes next. Engaging with the diverse academic community and cross-cultural interactions at CEIBS has been both enriching and exhilarating. Here’s to looking forward, to the adventures and learnings that lie ahead.

To contact Martin or any of our Student Ambassadors, please click here.



Martin McLaughlin