Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Plantain & Salami
GMAT 580, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99
Harvard | Mr. Football Author
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Filling In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28
Ross | Ms. Business Development
GMAT Targetting 740, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance Strategy
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Market Analyst
GMAT 770, GPA 7.2/10
Harvard | Mr. Banking & Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Ms. Canadian Civil Servant
GRE 332, GPA 3.89
Wharton | Ms. Energy To Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 8.4/10
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72

Meet The Rotterdam School of Management’s MBA Class Of 2020

Ji Zhang

Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University

Hometown: Ji’an city, Jiangxi province, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m 33 years old, have a lovely wife and a 5-year-old son. Both will come to the Netherlands in May. I like playing guitar, even though I’m not very good at it. I love talking with new people and learning new things and am curious about the world. I always smile to others and to myself. I like to help people and prepare early. For example, I looked at a map of Rotterdam on Google Earth before I came here. It felt so familiar when I arrived here, which was quite interesting. I also listen to audio books everyday.

Undergraduate School and Major: Gained both a Bachelor and Master degree in Material Science from University of Science and Technology Beijing.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Founder and CEO of a start-up called ThreeEdu Consulting, which focuses on helping Chinese college students and young professionals to apply for business school overseas.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Founded my company of ThreeEdu Consulting, and am still running it.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humble and willing to learn. So far, everyone here I have met so far is very nice and pays much more attention to the process of learning and contribution in and out of the classroom instead of just focusing on high GPA. And people here emphasise teamwork more than competition. It’s not just the students, but also the faculty and staff in RSM. I think this stems from the culture of RSM, which I like a lot.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this programme for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor that attracted me is diversity here, including the diversified student body. It consists of people who came from more than 30 countries, along with the open and friendly environment for international students of the Netherlands. I appreciate this mostly because it gives me an opportunity to talk, interact, and understand different cultures and mindsets in a quick time and small geography. I’m happy that I have made many good friends, and I love being here more and more.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Right now, I’m the Corporate Relations Officer of our MBA’s Student Association. I enjoy the position because it can best leverage my background and strengths in business development and communication. At the same time, it gives me opportunities to get to know more companies and people in the Rotterdam and even in the Netherlands. These will help me with helping people -which satisfies me – and accumulating resources for my own career.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have been working in the education consulting industry for 10 years, which allowed me to closely observe how higher education works and how to help students make life and career changes. Since my engineering background didn’t give me enough training in business and management, I believe an MBA will enhance my abilities and skills in these areas. At the same time, I have noticed a trend of education collaborating with technologies. I have tried something in my own start-up. However, I realised my limitation in understanding how tech companies, especially EduTech, run different from traditional education enterprise. That’s why I want to use MBA as a platform to help me get the network and opportunities to learn more about this industry.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? For me, the key element to consider when choosing an MBA programme is the return of investment on career change: geography, industry and/or function. I had made serious inquires before I chose RSM, since I have accumulated lots of knowledge about MBAs over the world from my previous work experiences. One big reason is that RSM provides a door for me to enter the Netherlands’ open and innovative business market. For example, I found that one of world’s biggest school information search engine company is based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and I have already contacted them. Even though I can’t start my work with them as a student now, they showed big interests on me and asked me to keep in contact and notify them when I can start my internship or full-time job.

What other MBA programmes did you apply to? I only applied for RSM last year, but I applied to Duke and CEIBS two years ago and got offers from both schools. However, I started my company after getting admission and chose to give up the offers to focus on my company.

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  Things change in people’s different life periods. The reason I chose Duke (a part-time MBA program) and CEIBS (a local Business School in Shanghai, China) back to 2016 was because I wouldn’t need to go abroad and leave my family. After running my company for two years, I knew that I needed to better understand myself, my family, and my company. More important, I clearly know what I need now. To be specific, I need an international vision, well-rounded business and management training, resources to help me combine education and technologies, a stable political and economic environment, a better education system for my son, and a friendly environment for my family’s life and my career. All of these needs can be met by RSM, which is why I only chose to apply for RSM last year. I was quite confident we would be a good match.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Turning 30 years old means a lot in traditional Chinese culture. We have a phrase called “San Shi ER Li”, which means people become mature and understand much after passing the age of 30. And I had an important moment that year. I struggled for almost one year to finally decide to resign from a company where I worked for 8 years to start my own company. During that year, I thought a lot. The good thing was, I figured out what’s really meaningful for myself and where my job satisfaction came from. That’s why I created the slogan “Study for career, Learn to choose” for my company. And now, I feel more confident about why I come to the MBA programme at RSM, what I want to learn and forge here, and how to plan and design my priorities in the busy world.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I plan to search for chances to work in high-tech companies in the Netherlands after graduation, such as internet or AI companies, especially focusing on education technology parts. For the role, project manager or business development positions would be perfect for me. Indeed, RSM will provide me not only business knowledge and soft skills I need personally, but also networks and bridges for me to make the career change.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I have a long-term career dream of using technologies to add value to China’s education system and to help Chinese students gain better educational opportunities. In five years, I hope to have accumulated enough experience and understanding in technology industry. Of course, I look forward to building a powerful network in both education and technology fields. With those resources, I will go back to become an entrepreneur and make my own dream come true.