2021 MBAs To Watch: Christina Feng, Cambridge Judge

Christina Feng

Cambridge Judge Business School

An explorer with humanity, Christina never stops improving herself to bring more positive impact.”

Hometown: Langzhong, Sichuan Province, China

Fun fact about yourself: I wanted to be a soldier when I was little.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Harbin Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Business Administration

Fudan University, M.A. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

Columbia University in the City of New York, MPA in Development Practice

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked for Development Alternatives Inc. in Afghanistan as the Deputy Chief of Party of a $55-million USAID economic development project

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I was still working in Afghanistan.

Where will you be working after graduation? I plan to continue working in economic development in developing countries. After graduation, I would like to work somewhere in Africa.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am Co-chair of the Cambridge China Business Society. Together with the other three committee members, we try to deepen the understanding of the business environment in China.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I sourced a Global Consulting Project for the MBA team, that is supported by a USAID project and the government of Democratic Republic of Georgia, on a Fintech ecosystem research and advisory project. We have the opportunity to talk to the policy makers and influence the national policy to create an enabling environment and build Georgia’s competitiveness in the global Fintech landscape.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the impact I had on my former team members which helped them achieve their professional goals. When I started leading a small team in Afghanistan back in 2015, the team members were not very motivated and had doubts about the future of their career. Through mission-driven inspiration, coaching, and mentoring, I helped them regain a positive outlook on their career, significantly improved their competency and rebuilt the confidence in themselves. Two of them were then able to land similar jobs after immigrating to US, which is usually very challenging for Afghan immigrants.

Why did you choose this business school? Cambridge Judge Business School is famous for its entrepreneurial spirit. It benefits from the unbeatable Silicon Fen that nurtures ideas and supports the realization of innovative projects. Many of the faculty members and lecturers are very involved in the start-up ecosystem and can provide comprehensive and valuable insight and practical advice. As I intend to work with entrepreneurs in developing countries after my Cambridge MBA, I found this particularly attractive.

Who was your favorite MBA professor?I enjoyed Lionel Paella’s Strategy class very much. He has a great sense of humour and is very good at engaging students in the class. The content is well-structured and thought-provoking. I am learning a lot from this class in particular.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Due to the pandemic, we didn’t have as many in-person events as we would like to. But the school was able to support networking as much as the regulations allowed. Our cohort was divided into a number of small streams to ensure social distancing in classrooms, but we did lose some of the opportunity to meet students in other streams in this model. Cambridge Judge organized cross-stream lunches throughout the term to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to mix with students from other streams. I think Cambridge Judge is providing a facilitating environment and a culture of supportive networking; despite the limitations, our cohort still managed to build strong relationships with each other and extended support to each other whenever needed.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?I would have come to Cambridge earlier in August or September. Due to the pandemic, my travel plans were delayed, and I arrived on campus in October. When I came out of the quarantine, half of the term seemed to have gone already and coronavirus measures were then tightened in the UK. I missed out on some of the in-person networking opportunities in the summer.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I have heard that Cambridge MBA cohort has very close and supportive relationships, and it turned out to be true. Even with the limitations of the pandemic, the cohort is very collaborative and supportive, and that extends to the MFin and EMBA as well, across the wider business school community. Cambridge Judge forges a very amicable and facilitating environment for everyone who is studying here to network and build relationships beyond their own program cohort.

What surprised you the most about business school? I thought that Cambridge Judge would be dominated by European and UK students. In reality, it is far more international than that. In fact, European students account for only 10% and the cohort is truly diverse with a number of students coming from African countries and Caribbean islands.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Talking to Cambridge MBA alumni to understand the culture and tradition of the school itself, to determine whether it fit my career goals or not.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is a difficult question. Everyone one has quite impressive experience and background. If I have to pick one, I would pick Alessandra Kortenhorst. She has done so many amazing projects, yet she is very modest about her achievements.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? It is disruptive and missing the normal social interactions with people does affect the MBA experience overall. On the other hand, the whole world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, the measures are necessary. The hybrid learning experience turned out to be not bad at all; I appreciate the carefully crafted online lecturers and materials. The school and the faculty put lots of effort into it and the quality is very high. Our offline sessions are usually recorded and uploaded to the portal as well, so we can watch all the pre-recorded and live videos again, which was really helpful in the learning experience.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The idea of pursuing a degree in business came when I was still in high school. I remembered that I read a book about Microsoft and Bill Gates and was amazed at how much he had achieved. I obtained my first degree in business administration. I later entered into the international development field because I cared about the impact of my work. I pursued my second postgraduate degree in International Development. But the interest in business had never died and I finally found the junction where I can be engaged in the business world and still have a positive impact: supporting private sector development in developing countries. It was only at that point that I found an MBA would be both necessary and worthwhile.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to have positive impact on society and expand my international experience.

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

I was lucky to have Christina in my core Strategy class in her second term at Cambridge Judge Business School. Christina is smart, accomplished, driven, and she is a model student: prepared, focused, and highly engaged. For example, after running a simulation in class about strategy implementation, she took extra time to dive deeper into the exercise to make the most of it. A great pleasure to have Christina always smiling and positive as a student!”

Lionel Paolella
University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation
Cambridge Judge Business School



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