Meet The Top First-Year MBAs From China

Haolin Zhang

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A sales manager fond of programming and Photoshop.

Hometown: Inner Mongolia, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: One year after I translated a book analyzing P&G’s matrix organization, I joined P&G.

Undergraduate School and Major: Biological Science, Tsinghua University, China

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Senior Sales Manager, Procter and Gamble (China) Co. Ltd.

Trade Marketing Supervisor, Mars Food (China) Co. Ltd.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I initiated a whole-year, cross-function charity marketing campaign for Wal-Mart when working in Mars, and led a project team consisting of members from different functions of both Wal-Mart and Mars (many of them were vice presidents or directors). The campaign eventually grew business by 15%, attracted more than 100,000 shoppers to take part in the charity program, and delivered more than 280,000 nutritious meals to the kids in poor areas in China. It demonstrated success of a new form of charity marketing, a win-win strategy to develop business, spread brand, and to improve public awareness of making the world a better place.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Start early, polish the application package, attend the activities organized by the school, and remember to book a time for the coffee chat. Be prepared for the coffee chat because it’s not only a precious opportunity for you to explore the school, but also a chance (other than the interview) for the admissions officer to know more about you. It’s a great time to discuss your strength, and explain your weakness and make plans to improve them.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Rotman is the #1 business school in Canada and is renowned for its strengths in finance and faculty. The balanced weight of lecture and live case study is particularly beneficial to students like me, who want to switch career to financial services firms, but haven’t been trained in finance systematically. In addition, the strong alumni networks and convenient location will enable me to learn the cutting edge practices in Bay Street.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream employer is a leading Private Equity/ Venture Capital firm. It brings me great sense of achievement to identify the right companies and help them to grow. The opportunity and challenge of understanding different industries and companies also makes me feel excited.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope they find my expertise in sales and marketing in the retail business sector valuable. I would also love to be their bridge and window to understand China’s economy, culture as well as business practice. In addition, I do hope to leave a legacy for the program and the future students (although now I’m not sure what that might be). Finally, I would like to be their true friend who is fun, ready to help and they can always count on.

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