Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class Of 2021

Xin Chen 

University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business

“Driven innovator and resourceful problem solver.”

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love sports, but I dance like a clumsy tree.

Undergraduate School and Major: Undergraduate: Shanghai Jiaotong University, Bachelor of Science, Major in Nursing, Minor in French; Graduate School: Shanghai Tongji University, Master of Medicine, Major in Ophthalmology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Westlake Partners, Business Development Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A company I worked for was facing fierce competition. While its profit kept shrinking in China, competitors were following a low-cost strategy and offering free value-added service to occupy the global healthcare market. As a member of the Business Model Innovation team, I collaborated with cross-functional teams – such as Strategy, R&D, Sales and Marketing – to develop a new business model for intravenous infusion therapy. This new product solution improved in-hospital compounding safety significantly, which allowed the company to regain its footing in the market.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Inclusion. Marshall students created a comfortable environment for everyone to share their uniqueness, which enables us to listen, inspire and help each other grow. I have felt the power of being a Trojan family member since the first time I met my classmates.

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? I’m an international student from China. I value a global perspective as one of the most important factors that lead me to USC Marshall. The geographic boundaries of business are diminishing. A multinational business requires its leaders to have a global mindset in order to understand the complexities of the environment and identify all the strategic opportunities for growth. USC Marshall has around 30% of international students in the full-time MBA program, bringing together global talent with diverse perspectives. At the same time, USC Marshall also provides overseas “PRIME” projects, allowing students to tackle real-world business problems from an international perspective within global economic contexts. USC Marshall aims to transform students into global leaders.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? C4C (Challenge for Charity). I believe it will be a memorable experience for me to cultivate my social responsibility as a future leader.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? For me, the most challenging question was describing the situation when I failed as a leader. Usually, we talk way more about success. However, we will learn more from failure than success. 

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have worked in the healthcare industry for over five years. Though I enjoyed working with my team to find innovative solutions that addressed critical healthcare problems, I want to explore my potential as a leader and strive for more decision-making power as a product/brand owner. An MBA program will deepen my understanding of the business in a holistic way, push me out of my comfort zone, and allow me to explore all the possibilities.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? IESE, IMD, UCLA

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My priorities were global perspective, innovation, and network. In order to evaluate my fit with schools, I reached out and spoke to alumni, attended information sessions and experienced mock classes. These activities gave me an idea about the strength of the school’s network, what kind of culture they have, and what the student experience would be like.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The moment I decided to pivot to the healthcare industry after seven years of studying in medical school. During my internship, I realized that healthcare extends far beyond immediate interactions between doctors and patients; there must be an effective and responsive infrastructure that ensures access to quality care. However, healthcare in China – and globally – can’t meet the required scale right now, leaving professionals in vulnerable and helpless positions. I committed to utilize my unique clinical and industrial experience to bringing corporate researchers and healthcare professionals together, translate the unmet clinical needs into business opportunities, and equip doctors and nurses with the tools they really desire.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself as an expert in innovative product development and management, dedicated to improving the global healthcare system.

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