Meet IESE Business School’s MBA Class Of 2021

Xuejiao Wang 

IESE Business School Class of 2021 at the University of Navarra

“Adventurous, empathetic, positive, active, curious, organized.”

Hometown: Chengdu, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to get frustrated and freaked out if something did not go as I planned. Once when I traveled to Japan, a rainstorm paralyzed the train system and I had to change the rest of my trip plan. For the first time, I got aboard the only one train that could still work, went to the place I didn’t plan to, and ran into a hostel where there was still a bed for that day. I felt unsure about everything, but when I gathered with travelers from different places in the hostel when they recommended places for me to go the next day. When a girl decided to travel with me for the rest of my trip, I thought it was not bad to be unsure. Since then, I will leave some blanks in my trip plan to enjoy exploration without a plan.

Undergraduate School and Major: Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Majored in Japanese

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Chengdu 33 Centimeters Trade LTD., Co-founder of the company

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’ve started a business that realizes a flash of thought that came from my own experience. When I decorated my apartment, I felt that the interior products in China lack a unique design and the quality is poor. As a result, I searched for these products and bought them from some designers oversea. During the search, I figured out that young people in the first-tier cities in China have the same desire as I do because they started to pursue high-quality life and value original design and creativity. So, I started my own company to import interior products from European countries and Japan and felt satisfaction when I saw my action met the requirements of people like me.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Our class group has been active since the first day and they all like to share information regarding career, pre-MBA preparation, and any other things. VISA application and residence permit could always be a problem for foreign students, especially at IESE where over 85% of students are international students. However, students would immediately share their own experiences of document preparation for VISA application and appointment process for a residence permit to help others get through more easily. They even put together a list of students who needed insurance extensions or who encountered email problems for the Ad team to better connect the students and the school and to save time and effort for each other.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? Managers will face problems regarding different fields and functions. There is no way to acquire knowledge in every field. With structured thinking, we can find a point to start to solve any problem. The case method is the right methodology to teach business students the tools to crack problems with structured thinking and it will help us to grow into better managers.

Aside from classmates and cases, 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? The chance to learn a new language adds extra value to the IESE MBA program. As a language learner, I know the importance of mastering a language to understand a nation, a culture, and a market. In order to grow into a manager in an international business world, learning to speak a new language can always give me a competitive edge.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Multi-culti is a traditional event held by IESE students in February or March every year, where students from different countries exhibit the food, drinks, and handicrafts from their home countries and perform traditional programs to attract others. This is where IESE stands out from other business schools for me. There are so many nationalities and different cultures that not one of them dominates the student cohort. It’s always tempting to me to explore cultural reasons behind people’s movement and Multi-culti is a great opportunity to understand different cultures from the perspectives of their own people.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Admissions asked me why they should recruit me to the school. I didn’t have the typical background of an MBA, so it was challenging to stand out from former consultants, former auditors, and former finance employers. However, I appealed to her that my goal is in accordance with IESE’s anticipations for students and future leaders and that my experience in start-ups would add diversity to the IESE cohort. Thanks to the diversity IESE is going after, I am admitted without a traditional background of an MBA.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve seen the changes technology has brought to the industry and to people’s lives. I am interested in the tech industry and wanted to be part of the driving force that changes the world. MBA is the fastest way to transition into the technology industry.

Plus, I worked in the marketing department for seven years and even started my own company. However, the fact that I didn’t have a business background is restricting me from further progress. As soon as I realized the situation, I decided to pursue further education in business.

Since an MBA provides an opportunity to gain business knowledge and transition to the technology industry at the same time, I made up my mind to apply for an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Ross MBA and Foster MBA program.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I value the strong field of the school, the community atmosphere, the student body diversity, and career service quality. I’ve checked the official website, MBA forums, and consulted alumni and current students. Talking to alumni and current students is an effective way to get a real picture of what kind of community I am going to be in. Joining the team assessment held by IESE and Ross was an efficient way to know what kind of people are applying for this school and whether they are the kind of people I want to connect for the rest of my life. I’ve searched the employment reports to find out if these schools are strong in technology and will be the right fit for me. Besides that, I also contacted students from my region to see how their job-seeking went to see if the school is a suitable choice for Chinese students.  I’ve had an in-depth conversation with several Chinese students from IESE. From their story, I am sure IESE is the right choice for students who dream of career transition without previous background.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I taught elderly people above 50 years old, who cannot speak English, how to use technology products like Google Translate and Google Booking to self-plan their trips to foreign countries. When I saw their pictures sent from abroad, I felt I did the right thing, to use technology to help people improve their life. This ensures my ambition to transfer to the technology industry and market technology products to many people to help them have a better life.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Being in the technology industry for several years, I have been closed and familiar with the products, the customers, and the market. Then I want to broaden my career into other industries and use technology to improve the business pattern.

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