2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Juanjiangmeng Du, ESMT Berlin

Juanjiangmeng Du

ESMT Berlin

“A person with cross-cultural perspectives and digital biology experience.”

Hometown: Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China

Fun fact about yourself: I like activities which can augment my abilities. I like skiing because it augments my ability to move through mountains. I like data science because it augments my ability to discover patterns.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Ph.D Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany

M.Sc Molecular Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

B.Sc Life Science, Inner Mongolia University, China

Where are you currently working? I work as an independent data consultant in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I found a field that I love – the intersection of genomics and data science. I am also able to connect my skills to continuously develop a career in the field.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I have known ESMT Berlin for a long time as it is one of the few triple-crown business schools (accredited by AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS). When I was looking for online MBA programs in 2021, ESMT Berlin was the only top 10 European business school offering a Global Online MBA program. So without hesitation, I applied to this program at ESMT.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? Building positive relationships with classmate all over the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, and America) and with professors (at ESMT Berlin and its global partner institutes) with ease.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The impact of time flexibility on learning.

We have both synchronous lives classes and asynchronous sessions in the Global Online MBA program. In an asynchronous session, a professor puts a lecture video online. I could watch it at any time and watch it again if I did not capture something that the professor said. I could also conduct a pause and reflect session to absorb the content. Such time flexibility transforms my learning into a personalized knowledge-brewing process.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Interpersonal communication in an online program is notably reduced compared to in-the-classroom education. To improve this, ESMT Berlin organizes Experience Weeks and community events (e.g., ESMT Days) to increase face-to-communication.

Interestingly, however, the expression of personal views in an online environment is significantly increased. In a traditional classroom, when a lecturer asks a question, there is only time for a few students to be heard. However, in an online forum, everyone can take the time to write down their opinions. By creating space for everyone’s voice to be heard (and seen), the online experience reinforces inclusion, diversity, and peer learning.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Explore your unknowns. Use exercises and assignments as opportunities to explore something outside your area of expertise. It will keep you excited, help you expand your knowledge, and may even give you new business ideas.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The online MBA program is still a relatively new concept. Online MBA programs can collaborate and discuss challenges and solutions. Students and organizations can also participate and share their expectations. This kind of collective efforts can further optimize online MBA experience and open up educational opportunities to more people across the globe.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It has helped me to develop a mindful framework for decision-making and problem-solving.

I learned to integrate multiple-sources of information and make less-biased decisions. I become sensible to balance between exploration and exploitation in project development. I also learned to expose my weaknesses, gather team’s strengths, work together, and walk far.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? Currently, the question is not applicable to me as I work as an independent data consultant.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? An online MBA program was an ideal option for me. The online learning setting gives me the flexibility to manage my time to have work and study simultaneously.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: 12-24 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Raising awareness of disease prevention and developing solutions to improve health outcomes.


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