2018 Best MBAs: Jieqiong Xu, IESE Business School

Jieqiong Xu (Faith)

IESE Business School            

A small girl always with a big smile and unlimited energy.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Tianjin, China

Fun fact about yourself: I don’t like sweets, and chocolate is the worst…

Undergraduate School and Degree: Statistics (I live up to my Chinese stereotype!), Bachelor of Economics in Beijing Technology and Business University

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Marketing Manager at windeln.de SE in Munich, Germany

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Amazon DE in Munich, Germany

Where will you be working after graduation? EU MBA Consumer Leadership Development Program at Amazon UK in London, UK

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

First Year MBA

  • Spring Games 2017 Member of Sponsorship Committee – Secured €4K in-kind
  • TedxIESE Barcelona 2017 – Speaker coach with Alden Mills
  • First-Year Director of Social Action club – Assisted to organize social day initiative
  • Capstone Winner – Team leader for consulting project with Schneider Electric

Second Year MBA

  • VP of Technology Club – Led and organized London Tech trek and Amazon fulfillment center trek (30+ participants each); Initiated, designed and hosted workshops for Amazon internship panel, CV review workshop, interview workshop, mock interviews with Amazonians (150+ participants each), and on-boarding workshop; Initiated and organized big data workshop with tableau (100+ participants)
  • VP of Women in Business Club – Core organizing team for 3rd Women in Business Conference (400+ participants and 30+ speakers)
  • VP of Social Action Club – Organized fundraising events for NGOs (raised €1,000+)
  • President of Ambassador Club – led open day panels and networking events for over 7 times
  • VP of Outdoor Club – Organized bouldering and climbing events
  • Spring Game 2018 VP of Sponsorship Committee – Approached 20+ companies with tailor-made proposals, and secured €5k in cash and €6K+ in-kind
  • TEDxIESE Barcelona 2018 – Lead of speaker coach team
  • Mentor for MBA students – Reviewed 30+ CVs and conducted 60+ mock interviews

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of myself for being involved in a number of successful school events while managing my studies, friends and life well. If I have to pick one thing I am most proud of, it would be that I served as the TEDxIESE speaker coach for Alden Mills, a Navy SEAL platoon commander, and also a successful entrepreneur. The more time I spent working with him, the more I saw him not only as a notable figure but also an approachable person, full of energy and perseverance in chasing his dream. Even more striking was his humility and wisdom as a man, a leader, and a father. This experience taught me how to listen, and how to convey feedback in a constructive way. Alden became my inspiration to continuously challenge myself more and more, to learn from failure, and to be unstoppable.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I moved to Munich, Germany, to work at windeln.de when I was 21 years old without knowing anyone in the city. As the sole Chinese employee in this e-commerce startup, my initial role was simply to help the management team learn about the Chinese market. Instead, I convinced the C-suite to enter the market directly. With my proposed and executed soft-landing strategy, I helped the company penetrate the China market with €31MM sales uplift in my 1st year, and generated sales of €91MM with a team of five in my 3rd year, accounting for 55% of the revenue of the entire company. My role and responsibilities thus accelerated to team management and strategy. Interestingly enough, during my summer internship at Amazon DE, I was delighted to hear that Amazon DE’s Grocery Team considered windeln.de’s China team as one of the key competitors.

What was your favorite MBA course? It was (surprise, surprise!) Operations Strategy, taught by Victor. In his class, I had one of the most impressive cases, which was about BYD, a Chinese car manufacturing company. In the beginning, I thought it was a case about operational efficiency and I only put my thoughts into economic considerations. As the case evolved, Victor pushed me further to think from a totally unexpected guiding principle – “Don’t treat your worker like a human robot”. Rather than considering each employee as a “productivity” machine, I learnt about the humanity in people management. There are a number of great courses at IESE where professors teach us not only how to be a manager, but also how to be a leader, a person who has empathy. And I believe this is the unique value IESE teaches me.

Why did you choose this business school? Despite a lot of highlights of IESE that attracted me, such as location (Barcelona!), 2-year program length, and case study methodology, what really made up my mind was the people, my fellow students. I still remember the day I first came on campus for my assessment day, the final round of the MBA admissions process at IESE. All the candidates were assigned to teams in order to complete a task. Although it was extremely intense and stressful, I was impressed by how collaborative the group was. I learnt tremendously from everyone within two hours of team work, and I believed I could learn even more with such people in two years. That was the decisive moment for me in choosing IESE. I was right – it has been such an amazing rollercoaster of a journey.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? IESE has, from my observation, a very unique admission criteria. This is a school that not only values your professional achievements, but also pays great attention to your personality. Humble, collaborative, and respectful are the very words with which I want to describe my fellow students. For anyone interested in IESE, I’d recommend you to cultivate these qualities in yourself and see if you would fit into IESE’s environment.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret was that I did not have enough time for my family. Within the two-year program, I could only spare five days to fly back to China. I only thought about how I could make the most out of my MBA life, committing large amounts of time to organizing events, and being with friends. By looking back and reflecting upon my time, I’ve realized how little time I spent physically with my family. Thankfully, I’m looking forward to bringing them to Barcelona, their first trip abroad, for my graduation.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have two people I want to mention – Alberto Bastida and Laura Cushing.

  • Professionally, Alberto was my inspiration. My admiration came from how he, as president of IESE Consulting Club, structured and elevated the club to a new level, all while delivering the best results at BCG during his summer internship. To me, he is a great leader to learn from and a great friend to have.
  • Personally, Laura influenced me greatly. She offered a lot of help to people who wanted to apply for Amazon, while managing three clubs as VP. She led herself as an example that it is possible to manage everything well, and thus inspired me to do more. When I wanted to express my gratitude, she said, “Don’t thank me, be the same inspiration for the next year”, which I shaped as a value in my life – to help people and inspire them to help others even more.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father. He has been an entrepreneur throughout his life. Initially, he ran a restaurant and later a small wholesale business selling cleaning supplies with three employees. He was the person who introduced me to the business world. What he taught me, by setting himself as an example, was nothing specific about vision or ambition, but simply about integrity and responsibilities. He earned his clients through trust and diligence, and had always been conscientious and honest in work.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…staying at windeln.de but making some strategic changes for the company. I would assist my new manager in taking a deep dive into the flaws in our current strategies and map a more organized plan for the following year. In the meantime, I would start looking for other positions outside of the company to make a move, either in digital consultancy or in marketing positions.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Visiting Antarctica and founding my own NGO

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? That my help to them inspired them to help other people, and to keep passing on that same spirit of helping and inspiring to even more people.

What is your favorite movie about business? It’s not a movie but a miniseries: Black Mirror. The series makes me reflect that when people keep focusing on advancing technology, disrupting industry, and bringing more benefits to the world, we should not ignore the downsides of the lack of regulation and aftermath of overconsumption. It challenges me that, when I generate ideas, I always need to consider further the qualitative impact and potential social consequences.

What would your theme song be?Breaking the Habits” by Linkin Park

Favorite vacation spot: Safaris in Kenya (Hell’s Gate, biking with Zebras!)

Hobbies? Bouldering and climbing; we have some great spots here in Barcelona (Montserrat!)

What made Jieqiong Xu such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Faith Xu is a tremendously energetic person that has passion for anything she does, in school and outside. She is very talented, sharp and with a contagious aspiration to excellence. She is a perfectionist and carries her team forward to higher levels, from a humble hard-working attitude. She also has a rich multi-cultural background: brought up in China, worked in Germany, went to school in Spain, what will be next? Finally, Faith has been involved in many different activities at IESE, besides academics, including the very successful Women in Business Conference.”

Víctor Martinez de Albeniz
Research Division, Director and Production, Technology and Operations Management Professor

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST: CLASS OF 2018