2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Joanne Long, Imperial College

Joanne Long

Imperial College Business School

“I’m positive, curious and self-motivated; always feel excited and grateful about life.”

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Fun fact about yourself: I know it’s crazy but I actually believe we’re living in a simulation.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Nanjing Normal University, Business with English

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? DragonEx, a cryptocurrency trading exchange

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I started my MBA journey in September 2020, and I was considering building my own trading team at the time.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will work on my own startup, Entropy Capital, providing investment advice and assets management services.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have joined Imperial College Business School’s Student Investment Fund as an investment researcher, focused on cryptocurrencies and trading strategies. I have participated in VCIC, which is world’s largest venture capital investment competition and also I am the Business Lead for a consulting project at Imperial, supporting a design company to go to market.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I achieved 92% in Corporate Finance, which is one of the hardest modules I found and devoted most of my time to it. I have also translated a book, Token Economy, from English to Mandarin Chinese (It was written by Dr Shermin Voshmgir). Token Economy explains blockchain and token economics preciously and thoroughly. I feel honoured to help bring this fantastic book to the Chinese blockchain community. I am also on the core committee of London Blockchain Lab, responsible for business development and event organising.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? First, I co-founded a cryptocurrency trading exchange which grew to reach the top 30 cryptocurrency exchanges by volume within six months.

Second, I have set up a new operation centre overseas from start to self-operating within two weeks, including office rental, facilities purchasing, employee recruitment, and professional training. For the past three years, my work has been demanding; I am proud that I learnt quickly and was able to adapt under high pressure.

Why did you choose this business school? Imperial College produces leading technologies and creates an innovative environment by encouraging openness, curiosity, diversified collaboration, and the pursuit of perfection. Studying for an MBA is not only a knowledge system upgrade process, it is also a self-exploring and perception expansion process. Imperial has exceeded my expectations.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? Franklin Allen and Michelle Rogan are both my favourite professors at Imperial.

Franklin is considerate, always articulating concepts in a clear manner and willing to answer our questions no matter how small it is in a patient and kind way. I enhanced my finance and investment knowledge from his Corporate Finance and Investment & Risk Management modules, and we are proudly studying from the book he had written by himself.

Michelle Rogan is loved by all students. Her Innovation & Entrepreneurship module conveys a substantial amount of knowledge in a clear and engaging format, allowing us to absorb the concepts easily. What I love most is the last part of each lecture, during which we share our own takeaways and reflections.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? 2020 is a tough year for everyone. Due to the lockdowns in London, we have had most of our lectures online. Given the second chance, I would have more interaction and conversation with my peers. Maybe after the years, I forget those formulas and frameworks, but I will never forget these brilliant people with whom I once worked. We respect each other, cherish our friendship, and enjoy the teamwork and innovative ideas created by collisions from different backgrounds. Thinking about post-MBA, what I will miss the most would be our lovely cohort and the time we spend together.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Imperial College has the male-to-female ratio of 64:36 as a whole because it’s a STEM university focusing on science technology, engineering, medicine, and business. The gender ratio among our cohort is 60:40, almost the same as the College.

What surprised you the most about business school? Imperial College Business School is very young compared with some really old schools, but it has a very mature education system. We have very experienced and prestigious professors, such as Professor Franklin Allen, who used to teach at Wharton for 36 years and still holds Emeritus status there; Professor Celia Moore, who used to teach at London Business School for 9 years; Professor Michelle Rogan, who taught for 11 years at INSEAD; and Professor Ian Mackenzie, who is an ex-professor at Harvard Business School and also ex-BCG.

Besides, Imperial also is very resourceful and generous. There are countless workshops, seminars, idea pitches events, and innovation competitions for students (for which winners are awarded with a great prize).

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? In my personal statement, I illustrated how I am different from other applicants based on my unique experience, and how I can contribute to other MBA students, which I believe is important. It is hard to define the best among thousands of applicants with high GMATs. That’s why I prefer to emphasise what personal qualities I can bring.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Lianyuan (Ben) Yu, who used to work for an automobile consulting firm, is smart and generous and has very strong execution. He is always willing to help and devote his time when there is a need. The most important lesson I learnt from Ben is the importance of ‘structure’. Not everyone will be a consultant working in McKinsey, but every MBA student can benefit from having a structural mindset and approaching problems like a consultant.

Ian Cook, who is a chartered engineer with abundant cross-culture working experience, is very thoughtful and warm-hearted. What impressed me the most is his committed attitude towards excellence. Sometimes we prefer to spend time sufficient to satisfy the requirements, but Ian encourages me that it is our own pursuit of excellence that determines the results of the job, and to always fulfil my full potential.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The expected networking during MBA opportunities was reduced, but I think these lectures and all seminars are arranged in a more efficient way. Technology brings us closer in some way. Overall, I’m quite comfortable with online studying and I am trying to make the most of this year, which would turn out to be the most special time during my life.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I had always planned to go back to school to upgrade my knowledge systematically when the time was right. A mentor of mine suggested Imperial, which turned out to be a great recommendation.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I think I am a more an entrepreneurial type of person. I enjoy the process of building companies, and overcoming these challenges which make me grow and become stronger. I would love to stay in the asset management industry or become a professional trader.

What made Joanne Long such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Joanne has not let the disruptions caused by the lockdowns in London slow down her learning experience. She attended all lectures (online) fully engaged and ready to share her insights with others. She was able to participate effectively, while not dominating the discussion. In our new online world of teaching this academic year, having a student like Joanne, with her video on and eyes focused on the lecture, was motivating and energising for me as a faculty member. Joanne also stepped into leadership roles outside of the classroom, bringing her team to the VCIC competition and leading a consulting project. She provides a great example to others for how to navigate learning and forming relationships to classmates, whether in-person or online.”

Michelle Rogan
Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College Business School



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