Wang Ying is an alumnus of Shanghai University’s MBA Center. Originally from Sichuan, Wang graduated from the university’s GLMBA program in 2006 and now works as executive assistant at Bureau Veritas.
Q: What kind of career changes have you experienced since graduation?
A: I worked at a tourism company as a marketing manager after graduation. Six months later, I was promoted to be the vice-general manager of the company. Then I started my new career at Bureau Veritas in November last year.
Q: How have you been able to use what you learned from your MBA education in your career?
A: I learned a lot from my MBA studies, not only in terms of knowledge from the textbook, but also in terms of communication skills, teamwork, leadership ability, and so on. I thought leadership meant being the best in a team, which means you have to be an expert and also tell others to follow. But after my MBA, I realized that leadership is really about effective teamwork methods. If you know how to inspire, guide, communicate and coordinate with the whole team, then you can be the best leader ever. I’ve been trying to use these skills in my workplace since then. Apparently I am doing pretty well.
Q: Has your MBA paid off? Was it worth the time and money?
A: My MBA has definitely paid off. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. I think it is the best choice I’ve ever made in my entire life so far. I spent two years and plenty of money to make myself competitive, and I really think I achieved this. Compared with my life before getting a MBA, the way I think, talk and behave has changed. I quit my job to concentrate on my MBA studies, and afterwards I got a better job and better pay than before. More importantly, I learned systemic management skills, which will benefit me throughout my whole career. How could I say it’s not worth it?
Crystal Lu recently graduated from the GEMBA program offered by the USC Marshall School of Business and Jiaotong University. She currently works for BP China and is based in Shanghai.
Q: Why did you choose the USC Marshall-Jiaotong University program for your MBA?
A: Both are top-ranked business schools, there is a diverse group of students with different backgrounds, and I also liked that the curriculum was integrated with international field trips. Also, the faculty is all from USC Marshall School, and you get exactly the same degree as the MBA program in California.
Q: What were your impressions of the program and its professors?
A: There’s a very strong global alumni network, internationally and in Asia. The professors from USC Marshall have rich experience with different backgrounds and industries. This meant they could not only make difficult academic topics easier to understand, but they were also able to use business cases from their experiences. The interaction I had with classmates was a key value-added aspect of the program as well. We learned a lot from each other’s various industry backgrounds.
Q: How has your degree helped you?
A: I just graduated at the end of January, and this program has helped me very much in developing leadership skills for my personal career development at BP.
Q: What did you find most valuable from your education experience? Has this degree paid off?
A: This global EMBA program has definitely paid off – I think I’ve gained leadership skills. The interaction with other classmates and gaining an alumni network for both business and career development in the future have also been helpful.
Dirk Kotze graduated from the Beijing International MBA program at Peking University in 2009. Originally from South Africa, Kotze works as a senior consultant for a mining and metals consulting firm in Beijing.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
A: Primarily to aid myself in my present working environment. It enabled me to plug into the local population in a structured way. It allowed me to have contact with people that went beyond a limited social environment or work environment, where I could learn more about China and Beijing through a bigger network. Most of the students were local Chinese students.
Q: What did you find most rewarding about your MBA education?
A: Interaction with other Chinese students. Every time a classmate asks a question or gives an answer, you learn more about how people in China approach and solve problems, how they perceive things. That’s a great experience. I think the MBA course work is pretty straightforward and it was similar to anywhere in the world. But the opportunity to work with Chinese people of my age and my experience was very valuable.
Q: How have you been able to apply what you learned in the Beijing International MBA program to your current career?
A: I suppose it gives you some confidence, and introduces you to concepts with which you work. But more importantly, an MBA is a thinking exercise. You sit for two years and think about problems, share perspectives with students, and get guidance from lecturers. In MBA program rankings there is often a focus on the rise in income you can expect upon gradation, but I think that’s all a bit superficial. Your MBA exposes you to different ways of looking at a problem. It changes your perspective. That, to me, has been the value.
Q: So was the degree rewarding for you?
A: Definitely, yes, I believe it was worth it. There may be a financial reward later on, but for me it’s more about the personal reward. I was able to learn more about China, how to approach problems, and in the process, I learned hard concepts that you use in everyday business. The benefit was thus more abstract. It was fun.