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Alumni Stories | Global Expertise Ignites Global Leadership

May 22, 2020

Mingxu LI (GK04, Class of 2019), began her new career as the Managing Director of Infore Equity Investment Fund Management Co.,Ltd after graduating from the GK EMBA program. With the GK EMBA designed for high-achieving executives like herself, she has made full use of the opportunities and skills acquired through the program and credits it as a major source of personal development.

Let's hear what she reflected on from her two-year journey with the GK EMBA program!

Q1 What was the opportunity that led you pursue an EMBA?

A key reason for me was that my 9 years of work experience highlighted my shortcomings in advanced management techniques. I wanted to have a systemic understanding of all the different aspects of management. My personal motivation was that I had always wanted to improve my education as I only had a bachelor's degree. My original intention was to pursue a full time MBA. However, due to the rapid development of markets and fierce competition in the workplace, studying full-time for a postgraduate degree was an unacceptable opportunity cost for an executive like myself. As a result, I chose an EMBA as it would allow me to continue working while studying.

Q2 Why did you choose the GK EMBA program?

The management team I was in at the time was rapidly becoming more international. I also frequently represented the group in trips to Hong Kong and Singapore for listed company acquisitions, reverse asset injections, overseas investments, overseas bond issuances, and so on. The GK EMBA program would not only further my international understanding, but also help me better understand advanced Chinese management techniques. I also perceived this program as a chance to gain a more international perspective, and a way to network and make friends with leading executives across the globe, which can help me and my businesses find relevant resources and examples to follow when doing business globally.

Mingxu and students from different partner schools during the global weeks at Kellogg Evanston

Q3 Could you please describe what your fellow classmates look like?

GK04 is like a family. Convening for class feels like a home reunion and my classmates feel like family members. It is a warm and welcoming environment where everyone can unload the challenges they've faced at work and help each other find solutions. During each module, we would go back to campus and immerse ourselves in the process of exploring new concepts and personal development. The students in the class came from a variety of national, regional, and industry backgrounds. Regardless of background, we studied and presented as a team, and shared experiences and opinions with each other. Furthermore, everyone loves discussing ideas and seeking common ground while preserving and understanding differences. This is a real high-impact and low-ego community. Learning with them always offers me new perspectives and challenges, which has been a good opportunity to enhance my intercultural communication abilities as well. When we graduated, we were all sad, but at the same time we felt that because we had developed such strong family-like bonds, distance and time would not separate us.

Mingxu and her fellow classmates during the global week at WHU

Q4 What is the biggest reward by attending the program? Did anything impress you the most?

The biggest benefit is that the program has given me the confidence to go out and explore the world. Studying and working at the same time has also improved my ability to handle pressure. I have also become better at managing my energy, and the program has made me feel more relaxed in English language environments. This confidence has allowed me to undertake many overseas projects independently. Moreover, it has taught me that real globalization is not just about regions and markets, but it is also about integrating yourself into other cultures.

Concerning the second part of the question, I have been deeply impressed by an incident that I remember vividly. The incident in question was when some American classmates received a topic to cover in big data analysis class and formed a team to compete. They immediately divided themselves into various roles and finished the topic efficiently. Perhaps because Chinese schools, universities, and even MBA programs emphasize individual learning and problem-solving skills, I found it difficult to contribute much to the group. At the time, I felt a sense of embarrassment. Afterwards , I spent the whole night studying for the first time in many years. I feel that discovering your shortcomings and embracing them is the first step on the path to self-improvement.

Q5 What is the biggest challenge you faced during your study at the program? How did you solve it?

The biggest challenge has been getting used to the fast-paced learning, while also finding the best way to balance work and study. Normally classes take place once every two months, which accommodates our busy schedules. However, given the high quality and rigorous curriculums of Guanghua and Kellogg, you can imagine that this was still challenging. Each subject is only three days, the standards of the curriculum are high, and subject matter is comprehensive. Everyone also has a different rate of learning. The high-standards of the program required me to thoroughly cover the curriculum before and after class, and to prepare and review each module. This also consolidated the acknowledge I learned from each module and assisted me in translating theory into practice. Additionally, the program's global electives were good experiences where I could completely immerse myself in global markets and connect with business leaders from around the world. However, this required a precise balance between working and studying which is a skill I developed during the program.

Mingxue and students from different partner schools during the global week at WHU

Q6 Have any of the connections you made at the program helped you while you were studying or since you’ve graduated?

It's been extremely helpful. At present, I have already discussed business partnerships with at least 3 of my classmates in different fields. Additionally, some exchanges with foreign classmates during the pandemic taught me that many of the outstanding issues that have arisen are due to misunderstandings. I have also come to understand the mentality of people from different cultural backgrounds in response to the epidemic which is very interesting. I think having all these different kinds of resources will make me more competitive and effective in the workplace in the future.

Q7 What are your long-term career goals for the future? How has the GK EMBA program helped you in the long run?

My goal is to be one of the best investors in China. With so many diverse channels for information, I'm sure that the professional knowledge, global perspective and international management techniques that I've learned and acquired on the program will give me lifelong benefits.

Mingxu and students from different partner schools during the global week at Kellogg Miami

Q8 Do you have any suggestions for those students who are considering in applying for the GK EMBA program?

I think this program is different from the vast majority of overseas EMBA programs. (Chinese-based) Students don't have to study abroad, but instead are able to study the equivalent of an overseas EMBA close to where they work. Additionally, the program is taught in Peking University and is influenced by their teaching philosophy and ideas. This blend and contrast make for a very interesting experience in itself. If you want to seize the future, come to GK!

About the Guanghua-Kellogg Executive MBA Program

The Guanghua-Kellogg EMBA Program is the first Sino-US joint EMBA Program in mainland China, bringing together the world-class faculties of two premier business schools and featuring a rigorous and cutting-edge curriculum. The program prepares executives with integrated management skills, Chinese business expertise, and a global perspective to lead their organizations in a dynamic environment. Kellogg's EMBA global network offers students opportunities to engage in collaborations with peer leaders across the globe. If you are interested in learning more about the GK EMBA applications, you can contact us at gkemba@gsm.pku.edu.cn.