Guanghua Features

Editor's Note

#Meet Our “Future Leaders” # is a series featuring the personal stories of students in PKU Guanghua’s “Future Leaders” International Undergraduate Program.

Today, we meet Meng Lin, an Italian girl who likes to push her boundaries for a fuller and more exciting life.

About Meng Lin

Meng Lin studied International Economics and Management at Bocconi University before joining the “Future Leaders” Program at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. In high school, she studied foreign languages, learning English, French, Chinese and German. She also lived half a year abroad, studying in Edmonton, Canada. Meng has engaged in various volunteering and community activities related to humanitarian aid, education and hunger relief. Her internship experiences range from being a project manager at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada to being an investment analyst for a Business Angel Association. Currently, she works in a management consulting firm, helping businesses streamlining their processes and operations.

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

In 2017, I studied for 6 months in Edmonton, Canada. Being the first time that I was by myself in a foreign country, it was one of the most remarkable yet challenging experiences in life. Away from all the comforts of home, I had to adjust to a new culture, language, school system and family dynamics. Despite the initial discomfort, this is exactly where I feel like I grew the most and made some of the most memorable experiences. I joined the school handball’s team, participating in the city tournament. Although it was my first time playing the sport, I tried my best and had so much fun with my teammates. I also volunteered for the Roadrunners, helping primary students in need with homework and after-school activities. The whole experience opened my eyes to new perspectives and possibilities, as I learned the importance and benefits of getting out of my comfort zone.

In 2020, I was selected to participate in a business case competition, organized by Deloitte, for which my teammates and I won the first prize. The project involved designing an innovative solution for the Italian Bank Intesa San Paolo in the field of urban mobility, so that it could become part of people’s everyday life, not only when it comes to loans and investments. I tackled the challenge with other 4 girls that I didn’t know before, all coming from different countries and backgrounds. Nevertheless, we immediately bonded and ended up presenting a disruptive but practical idea which was well-received by the jury. During the process, we first created a persona and brainstormed our solutions. In this step, I truly understood how important it is to make all ideas emerge in order to maximize our creativity and respective strengths. After discussing and prioritizing the ideas, we proposed the creation of a pair of “smart” shoes connected to the bank app, that, based on the number of steps taken, rewards the customer with benefits and discounts related to bank fees. When our solution ranked first, receiving full points for desirability and innovativeness, we were over the moon, as the competition was very stiff. This business competition reminded me, once again, that there is world of full opportunities and possibilities outside my comfort zone.

When it comes to my free time, I am always keen to explore new places and do fun activities with family and friends. I love trying new restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood, just as much as going to concerts and doing little trips over the weekends. I truly believe that any moment is fuller and more meaningful when shared with people. Besides that, I love fitness and sports. I grew up swimming, but also tried handball, ultimate frisbee, cross-country and spinning, amongst others. Currently, I’m into yoga and aerial dancing. I like trying out different sports for the challenging and humbling learning experience. Each time being a beginner has shown me that nothing comes easily, and hard work must be done to achieve successful results.

Getting to know China from the inside and out

The decision of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in China came very naturally to me. As an economic and management student, China’s growing prominence in the world cannot be ignored and having a hands-on experience is really the best way to learn about its “miraculous” growth, huge market and enterprises. Secondly, I was driven by an inner desire of reconnecting with my roots and understanding China at a deeper level. Growing up in Italy, I have always been exposed to China from a Western perspective, which made it quite hard for me to embrace my heritage and truly appreciate it. All in all, I believe that China is a tank full of opportunities, both from a professional and personal point of view. With its breathtaking landscape and unique culture, it really is an exciting place to explore and step out of your comfort zone.

When the opportunity of the “Future Leaders” Program arose, I knew that it would have not only ticked all the boxes but also provided me with the best possible experience in China. The education level at PKU is unparallel and I could not be more excited to be part of its community and be stimulated by the brightest minds. However, what I really found unique about the program and really attracted me to it is the possibility of understanding China inside out, while engaging with other countries and cultures. I loved its core idea of building upon today’s global and multifaceted reality to provide the best tools for the future.

A well-rounded experience

I love how engaging and well-rounded the program is. It really covers and accompanies you in all aspects of your academic and future career path, from the theoretical knowledge taught in lectures and applied in group projects, to the workshops for career development and the sense of community enhanced by class activities. For instance, in celebration of the Spring Festival, we had a virtual party where students, professors and staff competed against each other on different challenges, including push-ups, soccer juggling, sudoku and Guess Who. It was such a fun and joyful event that bonded us together, despite the distance. I also really appreciate how diverse our cohort is. With classmates coming from different backgrounds and all locations in the world, there is always something new to learn and discover. This particularly stands out in group projects, where each of us brings insights from our own country and life experiences.

PKU Guanghua “Future Leaders” Program

The Guanghua School of Management founded the "Future Leaders" International Undergraduate Double-Degree Program in partnership with 15 of the world’s best business schools, giving students the opportunity to gain an understanding of their local markets while also immersing them in one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic economies in the world: China. This program focuses on admitting top students with outstanding leadership potential from Peking University and its partner institutions. After completing their first two years of study at the institution in their home country, students live and study together with classmates of diverse backgrounds from all over the world—including students from China—for two more years as a single cohort at Peking University.