“Business woman, world traveler, part-time bar tender and barista, and an adventurer.”
Hometown: Jiangsu, China
Fun Fact About Yourself: Having visited over 50 countries, I’ve accumulated a lifetime of experiences. I drove across the Australian outback, dived in the Similan islands, and prayed in Dharamshala with the Dalai Lama. Not every experience was joyous. In Beirut as bombs went off, I was stunned by how normal the locals reacted. In Gansu, I saw real water scarcity meeting people who trekked many miles just to shower. In Kolkata volunteering at a charity, I felt helpless to assuage their pain of the dying, only able to offer words as they passed from this world. All experiences changed the way I see the world, made me understand, respect and appreciate diverse cultures.
Undergraduate School and Major: Journalism, Sun yat-sen University
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-founder, Jia Home
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Starting my own business is my biggest career accomplishment. Taking my savings and my corporate management perspective, I started JIA Home to bring these old homes into the new China. Within two years, I led my team in completing 20 projects, modernizing old architecture, and building awareness for development through reuse rather than replace. Through this experience, I’ve grown much as a leader, learning to negotiate, assess risk, and be decisive.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Loving and supportive. When I had troubles with my Spanish student visa, all my classmates and teachers tried their best to help me even without me asking.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? IESE’s case study method was the key factor that led me to choose the program. In Kraft and Adidas, I was most excited by projects where I could develop new business and that lead me to become an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur taught me much but most importantly, I realized to achieve my career goal of building world class businesses, I needed a strategic mindset and global business experience, which I hope to get by entering the consulting industry after MBA. IESE’s curriculum and case-study method so favored by consulting firms will position me to successfully enter consulting.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Woman in business club and TED*IESE Barcelona
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Studying in one of the most prestigious universities in China gave me solid media background. Five years working and interacting with different functions in consumer goods companies provided me a general picture of how a standard business operates and solid skills in negotiation, communication and general management. I discovered I was most excited by projects where I could develop new business, which led me to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship taught me a deeper business sense and matured me as a leader of people from different backgrounds. But most importantly, I realized to achieve my ultimate career goal of building a world class business, I need to stand higher and look further, I needed a strategic mindset, global working experience, and solid well-rounded business knowledge. IESE’s case-study method and projects like capstone will hone my strategic mindset and provide me opportunities to practice what I learnt into real business.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Thinking of IRR, is the MBA going to help me reach my career goal faster? Am I going to be a better person after MBA?
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Darden and Yale SOM
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Alumni, faculty and teaching method.
I did campus visit during application and talked with as many alumni as I could.
Too often, we approach international business with a “them versus us” perspective. IESE’s global faculty and peers will help me to impart a more inclusive atmosphere – which will let me see opportunities outside the normally accepted vectors within and outside the program.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In college, the first project I led after joining the Entrepreneurship Club was to help patients suffering from leprosy find a way to make a living. I formulated the idea of teaching them to do handicrafts from ancient Canton mythology and sell those handicrafts abroad. In three months, we visited everywhere in the fabric market, trying to find the right materials and an experienced Canton embroidery master. We contacted numerous NGOs seeking help in exporting those handicrafts. This project won us a silver medal and helped solve the patients’ financial problems. This experience made me realize the beauty of business and the possible positive impact that business can bring to people, which made me decide to become a business woman.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? My post-MBA career goal is to enter consulting in China.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I plan to devote my career to building world class businesses in digitalized segmentation tourism. It is an industry that contributed $120 billion Inbound and $122 million outbound in 2015 with a continuous growth of 8%-15% for the past few years and expected to grow more in the future. I am attracted to the financial and social impacts of this industry, which has ample room and high demand for improving life quality. I will leverage my experience and network to build service businesses that focused on young Chinese professionals, providing them with differentiated tourist products and experience, and on young expats coming to China, helping them involve and fit in a different culture by providing a full package from housing to working.