Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Junli Niu, USC (Marshall)

Junli Niu

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“A sensitive and empathetic female with the ambition to be a leader making meaningful impacts in the future business world.”

Hometown: Hami, Xinjiang Province, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I consider myself an introvert and kind of shy person, so in college I attended an exchange program in Finland to push myself to communicate more with different people in different cultures. However, I went to Finland alone and found out Finnish people are more shy than me.

Undergraduate School and Major: Fudan University; Major in Law

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Lianchu Securities; Compliance Manager in Fixed Income Department

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The international environment is the key factor driving me to choose USC Marshall. My most recent employer is a local investment bank in Shanghai, China, and most clients are local companies and businesses. I found myself lacking the global perspective and experiences working with international clients. That is why I want to pursue an MBA, which provides students a diversified and international environment. USC Marshall has a high percentage of international students, provides overseas PRIME global projects, and teaches students to solve complex problems in the globalized and fast-changing world.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Marshall Consulting & Strategy Club (MCSC). MCSC is awesome! The club helps students learn, prepare, and succeed in consulting and strategy roles in a variety of industries through various activities, including weekly case prep sessions, resume and interview preparation, career roundtable, and consulting recruiting sessions. It also organizes a mentorship program that gives you the chance to be paired with a wonderful mentor from the Class of 2021, who is willing to support you with any problems in academic work, summer internship, and recruiting, which I found very helpful.

What was your first impression of USC Marshall? How has that changed or been reinforced since then? My first impression of USC Marshall is the strong Trojan network. I reached out to current students before I applied, and they are extremely supportive, sharing all of their experiences in Marshall. My impression has been reinforced after I met with admission officers and faculty members. They are very genuine and friendly, caring about every student in the program. My classmates are also amazing, and they are collaborative and supportive in any way you can imagine.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2018, I transferred from the asset-management sector to the new private equity subsidiary of Lianchu Securities. Working as an investment manager, I was assigned the task of setting up the first fund within a limited time. It was challenging since I had experiences only in managing fixed-income funds, and the world of private equity investment was brand new to me.

To deal with these challenges, I spent significant time every day fully preparing the due diligence of each case. I gained equity investment knowledge and perspective in practice by frequently networking with other professionals. To source clients for the fund, I developed the strategy to leverage all the resources of our parent company, made arrangements for negotiations, and cooperated closely with internal support departments and outside regulators. After two months of stressful work, we earned our clients’ trust and launched the first fund successfully. My management of this process has been taken as a model for the following fund establishments in the subsidiary.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? As I switched my role from investment manager to compliance manager, I found myself more passionate about investment, especially in the tech industry. Therefore, I am planning to go back to the investment industry. I hope to find a position in a PE company focusing on tech investment or a strategy and investment role in a leading tech company. An MBA at this point can help me to enhance both hard and soft skills to better prepare myself for my future career.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question for me is how your supervisor would describe your merits or advantages and use three words. It is easy for me to ask friends their views about me, and it is even easier for me to ask my supervisor what I haven’t done well. However, it is kind of difficult to ask what I have done well, and it seems to ask for a compliment.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The factors I considered most when choosing the school for an MBA were diversity, alumni network, and career development. After my research through conversations with alumni and current students, I knew USC Marshall is the right one for me. USC Marshall has more than 40% female students and 30% international students in the Class of 2021, the supportive 93K+ Trojan network, and fabulous career figures. What’s more, it is located in LA, one of the central cities for technology in the world, with unlimited opportunities. I am excited to join USC Marshall.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I was used to all kinds of gender stereotypes and biases in traditional Chinese society when I was young. The exchange experience in Finland during college brought me the awareness of gender equality for the first time. Recently, when I tried to take the next step in my career, I faced the challenges of gender bias in the workplace that women will all switch their attention from career to family after marriage so that we are more suitable for supportive roles like compliance positions. I made up my mind at that moment that I will prove that women can also succeed in the business world and we don’t have to sacrifice our career for family.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Tencent. Tencent is a leading technology company in China with a vision to enrich the lives of Internet users. The company drives a philosophy of “Tech for Good” and takes corporate social responsibilities by leveraging its advanced technologies, services, and products. I think the philosophy reminds business students to think deeply about the ethics of technology, what we can do to utilize the power of technology for good, and how we can avoid malicious applications.

Picture yourself in two years graduating from business school. Looking back, how would you know your experience has been a success? I will know my experience was a success if I reach my career goal to be an investment professional in a top private equity company or a leading tech company, build strong connections with the Trojan family, and form a global, innovative, and flexible mindset when leaving here.


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