After INSEAD, I am no longer afraid of stepping into a foreign country.
What made you decide to do an MBA, and why INSEAD?
I did my undergraduate study at Tsinghua University and majored in Chemical Engineering. During my third and fourth year, I went to France for a double degree programme at Ecole Centrale de Nantes. I fell in love with the language and culture. In December 2015, I participated in the CCTV French Speaking Contest “Les As du Francais” and won a prize from CSC that offered me a scholarship for a one year study in France.
Having working three years in Shell, I felt that my learning curve was stagnated. I wanted to make an impact on my job. To sustain my career aspiration, I felt that my pure engineering background and sales experience were not enough. That was when I thought of doing an MBA.
INSEAD was one of the most famous MBA schools worldwide, and it is in France! In Shell, we have many INSEAD alums and they all encouraged me to apply.
What is one important lesson that you learnt from your MBA experience that was especially useful?
Psychological issues in management was one of the classes that benefited me the most in my post-MBA life. In our class, we had a case, written by 10 MBA's 10 years after graduation. It was a shock for me to read the case because I realised what we value most would change with time, at different stages of our life. It made me understand what we valued most while doing our MBA might not be what I would value most in two years, five years or 10 years’ time. Projecting myself into the future and imagining what would be most important for me at that time would actually help me make decisions today.
How has the MBA programme helped you in your career after graduation?
I am currently working in Boston Scientific in the Global Leadership Development programme. In this programme, we spend one year in the US headquarters and then go back to our home country to take on a management role.
Before INSEAD, I was working in Shell and I didn’t even imagine that I would finish in healthcare, because I had very limited knowledge about the industry. At INSEAD, I got the chance to know and try out many things including consulting (as a summer intern at McKinsey), start-up (through classes, Bootcamp and competitions), and different industries such as Retail, Consumer and luxury goods (RCLG) and energy (through the school's clubs and conferences). I also travelled and talked to people in different geographies and cultures to see where I want to be in the short term and the long term.
By the end of P5, I had offers from different industries and different countries. INSEAD really enlarged my horizon, opened many doors for me and most importantly, helped me better understand myself.
I chose Boston Scientific because of the fast growth of the industry in China, the positive impact that healthcare has on society as well as the company’s dedication to talent development. My base salary tripled compared to my job prior to my MBA and I am very happy in my current role.
Could you describe the diverse culture at INSEAD?
After INSEAD, I am no longer afraid of stepping into a foreign country because I know for sure that I have INSEAD buddies there. We are everywhere and we are truly a global community. You can easily find yourself being the only person speaking your own language during INSEAD activities. The complexity and vulnerability involved in such an environment really make you a considerate and less biased person.
What was your class experience like?
Professors at INSEAD have very interesting and diverse backgrounds: they might have rich knowledge and experience in AI but yet teaching you marketing strategy. Likewise, our classmates are also full of surprises. Each one is a good book to read. A lot of interesting opinions came from our classmates’ personal experiences and I couldn't get them elsewhere.
Please tell us more about the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLDP) – how has it benefited you?
PLDP puts you in a group setting as well as an individual setting, to help you understand how you are as a team player and who you truly are as a person.
In our first PLDP session, we were asked to talk about some topics that we seldom share with others such as losing family members or our deepest questions in life. The fact that we showed vulnerability to each other created a mutual trust within the group and strengthened our lien with each other. That’s why since the beginning, I was super close with my group. It was like a harbour – whenever I was down or in trouble, I could always find support.
What is your experience with our Career Development Centre like?
Very helpful. I have received useful individual coaching sessions and also good career advice. I never felt alone during this journey.
Any tips for those who are considering an INSEAD MBA?
Go for it. You won’t regret it. One year will go by very fast, so live it to the fullest.