Bo Qu, University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business
Bo graduated from his MBA program in 2009. Originally from Beijing, he now lives in Shanghai and works for Johnson & Johnson.
Q: Why did you pursue an MBA in Canada?
A: At the time, I was already living in western Canada, so it made sense to apply to schools around there. I also applied to schools in Toronto, but after my interview at UBC, I realized how beautiful its campus was. It’s a great place to be, with a fantastic MBA curriculum and faculty.
Q: What kind of impact has your MBA degree had on your life?
A: I worked as an engineer in a multinational corporation for many years and gained a lot of insight in sales and marketing. The MBA, however, really gives you formal training in those fields. It was a great opportunity to systemize my practical experience. Apart from the knowledge and training, it teaches you about teamwork and working under pressure. Sauder’s program is really as advertised: A window on the business world.
Q: Is the MBA relevant to your current job?
A: Absolutely. Every day, I face many challenges and practical issues that are relevant to my training. Actually, given a second chance, I would like to go back to school. Maybe in the future I would study medical management, and Sauder is a great school for this. It’s a booming industry in China, as many patients need advanced healthcare.
Q: What advice would you give to prospective students about the application process?
A: My advice is directed at Chinese students in particular. We tend to focus a lot of time, money and effort on the top 10 business schools. Yes, the name of the school can help you. But, you will always have to prepare to present yourself to future employers, and the name of the school is not everything. Take time in choosing the best school for you to link your past experience with academics. That is what employers want to know.
Yang Yuebiao, Manchester Business School
Yang Yuebiao was born in Nanjing and studied his undergraduate degree in Guangdong. He completed the 18-month MBA program at Manchester Business School (MBS) in 2006 and now works in Shanghai.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
A: Before I started my MBA, I was working in the fast-moving consumer goods industry and focused on sales, marketing and product development. After five years on the job, I wanted to try working in finance or the high-tech sector. The MBA was a great springboard, a jump from one sector to another.
Q: What has the MBA allowed you to do now?
A: Right now, I work in the finance arm of a global conglomerate. My job covers infrastructure, technology and finance. It is really everything I was hoping for, and the MBA undoubtedly helped me get this position in an international company.
Q: Why did you choose MBS?
A: I applied to other schools, but all of my previous experience had been focused on the China market. I really wanted to expand my horizons and learn more about developed countries. MBS’ slogan attracted me a lot – learning by doing. It pushes you to go beyond the books and gain practical experience.
Q: What were the highlights of your MBA?
A: For three months prior to graduation, students conduct group projects. Our group worked with the senior management team of a large pharmaceutical company to help them improve their performance. We took advantage of our group members’ various skills, compared different methodologies and then applied our findings to the company. I also have to say that MBS’ unique cultural dynamic was a highlight. The MBA program has students from over 60 countries, speaking 70 languages – and that helps students develop a global mindset.
Vivian You, China Europe International Business School
Originally from Ningbo, You completed her bachelor of business administration in Hong Kong, where she also worked as a risk consultant. She is currently pursuing an MBA at CEIBS.
Q: Why did you choose CEIBS?
A: After working in Hong Kong for some time, I wanted to return to China. I decided to continue my education and then compared all the MBA programs in Shanghai, and some schools in Hong Kong. Given that I wanted to transfer, I thought Shanghai was most suitable. CEIBS’ application process was also really convenient.
Q: What do you like most about CEIBS’ MBA program?
A: The school offers many educational opportunities outside the classroom. The school held an automotive forum in November and a healthcare conference in June. Industry leaders are invited to come and discuss innovations in their industry. Given CEIBS’ network, it attracts really big players and names. I have also been active in running our corporate social responsibility forum.
Q: What are some of the most important skills you’ve learned in the program so far?
A: Undoubtedly, for me, it has been communication skills. Extracurricular activities have taught me how to approach people. Group work has also helped me learn how to bring together different opinions and approaches for everyone’s benefit.
Alex Xiao, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Xiao, who is originally from Yangzhou and went to school in Beijing, is pursuing his MBA in California. He previously worked as a manager in the oil and gas industry.
Q: Why did you choose to study your MBA in the US?
A: American business schools rank among the best in the world. I compared one- and two-year programs in the US and Europe, and while the one-year degree is faster and the financial investment is smaller, I needed a break to really think about my life, so I chose the longer option.
Q: How do you think your MBA will influence your career?
A: I had very low expectations before coming here. I simply wanted to gain some more opportunities. But the school has taught me so much about setting a path for myself. I don’t see myself as a financial person. I would rather devote myself to energy and green technologies in the long run, ultimately in a management role.
Q: What advice do you have for future MBA applicants?
A: Some people choose to take jobs simply because they want to build their resumes. I’m against this. At schools like Stanford, they look for a certain type of person; one who is willing to take risks and is open to change. Interviewers will often ask, “Why did you do that?” My advice for MBA applicants is that, if you do something with your time, understand your own intentions and perform well. Having a job or degree to simply bulk up your resume is pointless.