2018 Best MBAs: William Yan, CEIBS

William Yan      

CEIBS (China Europe International Business School)

Campus activity series entrepreneur

Focus on Media & Entertainment Industry

Curiosity, Execution power, Insightful thinker, leadership.

Age: 28

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Fun fact about yourself: Received professional badminton training in Russia.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Double Bachelor of Russian Language & Literature and Economics from Peking University, Beijing, China

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

China Business News (Yicai.com) Financial Journalist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017?

China Culture Industrial Investment Fund (Shanghai, China)

Adidas (Shanghai, China)

Xiaomi Technology(Shanghai, China)

iQIYI.COM (Shanghai, China)

Qingting.FM (Shanghai, China)

Where will you be working after graduation?  Tencent as Regional Operations Manager.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Founder of CEIBS MBA Media & Entertainment Club

Founded 4 partners’ club and determined “Keep organizing small scale activities with high frequency” strategy. Invited 42 guest speakers, organized 22 lectures and career treks within nine months covering the whole value chain of media & entertainment industry. Elected to be “Top 1 Best Professional Club” and “Student Leader”.

Short Video Program Producer CEIBS Marcom Department

Managed production team of video program, “CEIBS Entrepreneur”. In charge of team recruitment, speaker invitation, interview, video shooting and video edition. Produced nine short videos with highest PV of 3534.

Research Assistant of CEIBS Ex-Strategy Professor Weiru Chen (CSO of Cainiao Network)

Independently wrote MBA case “Platform Strategy & Live Streaming War”, which was selected into the casebook of CEIBS MBA.

CEIBS MBA Chinese-English Simultaneous Interpreter

Served international MBA fellow students as simultaneous interpreter for club activities and Company Sessions.

Awards received:

MBA Fellowship A Scholarship

Student Leader Award (MBA2018 batch Voting Top3)

Best Professional Club (MBA2018 batch Voting Top1)

Student Representative of CEIBS MBA 2018 batch to give speech on the opening ceremony of CEIBS MBA 2019 batch

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

Founding CEIBS MBA Media & Entertainment Club

This is a brand new club in the whole history of CEIBS MBA.

I founded this club with 3 other partners from CEIBS MBA.

I determined the strategy of “Keep Organizing Small-scale Activities with High Frequency” to be distinct with large scale activities and to expand club’s exposure.

I and my partners independently worked as business development managers to expand connections in media & entertainment industry and invited 42 guest speakers in total within 9 months.

We organized 17 lectures and 5 career treks in Shanghai and served more than 400 students times. 22 activities in total broke the record of any CEIBS MBA clubs.

With a journalist’s habit, I kept writing notes of speakers’ lectures and kept sharing the notes with all other MBA students to ensure everyone can know the most important issues no matter they went on site or not. The 16 notes became important treasure for all the students who wish to know about this industry.

In the end, the 22 activities of this club covered VR, movie, internet literature, cartoons, advertisements, education, internet video, and the sports and gaming industry. This accomplished the goal to cover the whole value chain of media & entertainment industry in the beginning.

In the end, this brand new club was elected by the whole MBA 2018 batch to be the Top1 Best Professional Club, and this was also an important reason for me to be elected to be the student leader of the whole batch. This was an great reaction and recognition from my whole batch.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In China Business News (Yicai.com), I independently recruited 14 intern students to help me write reports about overseas market. In this process, I proved my creative mind to do event marketing; I proved my persuasive skills to persuade a student to make a better choice; I helped and trained intern students with all my efforts, to instruct them to write reports with my standard and to encourage them to explore their full potential and to fully practice their majors in university.

In the end, I not only completed the research jobs with the satisfaction from my leader, but also achieved respect from the intern students. One student asked me to write recommendation letter for her USA master’s degree application; one student won university honor with this internship experience; two students received their dream job offer because of this internship; and all of them kept friendship and connection with me. This for me is a great achievement.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Chen Weiru, CEIBS Ex-Professor of Strategy, now CSO of Cainiao Network

When I still knew little about CEIBS, it was his lecture about “Platform Strategy” for journalists shocked me with his clear logic. I read many books about business and learned about management in university. In my mind, he was the first professor in China who was able to create his own management theory. His interesting explanation about internet industry in China gave me important insights and a good impression about CEIBS.

He was very kind to help me with the CEIBS MBA recommendation process. At the time I met him, I was still concerned about my likelihood of being accepted into business school since I came from a non-traditional background of media. It was Professor Chen who introduced me to the admission officer of CEIBS Beijing and solved many of my concerns of MBA application. This was the first time for me to feel the warmth of CEIBS family.

Professor Chen gave me the opportunity to write the MBA case for his course, “Platform Strategy”. He fully authorized me to select my own topic of research from the media and entertainment industry as he knew that it can help with my career transformation. Therefore, I selected a fashionable topic at that time – “Live Streaming”— as I was a media guy and I was a user myself. This was the first time in my life where I conducted in-depth research about Internet industry and to apply my MBA learning into research. Professor Chen also gave me the chances to present my ideas about this case in two of his “Platform Strategy” classes. The presentation and case writing was incredibly successful and I became famous for the same batch students almost all of a sudden.

The chain effect of this case was incredible. If not for this case, I would never have passed the interview of China Culture Industrial Investment Fund as the first internship as I had no background of investment. And it was because of this internship I had the reasons to apply for other internships as an important base. Not exaggerating, Professor Chen provided me with the starting point of my MBA achievements and career transformation path. Now he has left CEIBS to purse his career in industry as the CSO of Cainiao Network. I’m still grateful to his help and the chain effect of this incredible starting point.

Why did you choose this business school?

China Depth. China is one of the most prosperous countries in terms of being a new economy in the world. China is rapidly changing its business model and new opportunities are consistently emerging, including in the media and entertainment industry. CEIBS provides me with the opportunity to deeply observe the trend of China’s new economy and to be part of it.

Strong alumni connections. CEIBS has an incredibly strong network in Chinese business and political world. This closely connected network can be a lifetime fortune in terms of both job searching and entrepreneurship. Frankly speaking, all my internships and projects done within the process of CEIBS MBA were connected through CEIBS alumni. They either hired or recommended me to these important opportunities.

Systematic courses and education quality. CEIBS gathers the best professors in economics, finance, management and marketing. Meanwhile, CEIBS gathers lots of professors who not only achieved academic results but also had strong field work experiences. The education level of CEIBS was incredibly strong and beneficial.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Preparation and confidence.

The CEIBS MBA is a very diversified environment. All kinds of education and working backgrounds will be respected in this program. As long as you have a career plan to transform yourself, as long as you prepare enough for the application process, you will get a satisfying result.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Strongest alumni network in China. I think this is quite true from my own experience.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I didn’t understand the importance of case interview from the very beginning of my MBA journey. I didn’t realize the usefulness of the tools of management consulting as I didn’t target consulting as my career goal. Only almost at the end of my MBA career, I understood the scientific framework of management consulting from my internship in Tencent Games’ strategy department.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Yuni He. She came from a very shining background of investment banking. She had great exposure of international experiences as a girl raised in China, France and USA. But I admire most her entrepreneurial spirit as she invested and operated bar business both in France and in China. I admire people with entrepreneurial spirits as this is also part of my own blood.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Myself. I had no idea about business in university as a student focusing on arts and social science. Only after I went into society, worked in business world, and interviewed so many business leaders, I realized my knowledge about business was so limited that I really need to learn these skills in order to have a better career switch and to prepare for entrepreneurial career in the long term.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a financial journalist and kept this career as a content producer in media industry.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience?I would add case interview as a required course in the beginning of MBA journey.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Create a listed company.

Travel around of whole world.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?

A real student leader who contributed his leadership to CEIBS MBA community through his media and entertainment expertise.

What is your favorite movie about business?

The Apprentice by Donald Trump

Business leadership comes from real practices and competition.

What would your theme song be?

“Initial Dream” by Fan Weiqi

Favorite vacation spot: elsewhere

Hobbies? Gaming, reading, travelling, badminton

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

“From a marketing perspective, content and especially video content is key for our role to communicate the spirit of CEIBS across digital platforms. William’s tenacity in establishing the Media & Entertainment Club that went to be voted ‘best professional club’ by his peers is extremely commendable. His interviews and insights into the Chinese economy were communicated in an extremely accessible manner, rich with content both for current MBAs, alums and prospect candidates.  He has laid very solid foundations for future generations of CEIBS MBAs to continue sharing the student’s voice online.”

James Kent

CEIBS Assistant Marketing Manager (MBA)


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