Topic: Expanding beyond – my Guanghua MBA reflection and next steps
Name: ZHU Tingting
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Previous School and Major: McGill University, Neuroscience
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Manulife Investment Management, CRM Business Analyst
1. Can you give us a brief introduction to your experience?
I was a functional business analyst with a focus on CRM system implementation at a Fortune 500 company in Toronto, Canada. I have over 6 years of progressive work experience in the financial sector, and 3 years of Salesforce Agile development operations lifecycle experience. Passionate about problem-solving, I help stakeholders improve operational efficiencies and KPIs through effective CRM implementations and enhancements. In my day-to-day work, I work closely with senior management and VPs to address business pain points with technology and big data CRM implementations. It has been a rewarding experience helping businesses transform their sales and marketing operations using cloud-based tools and advanced analytics. I also hold a Bachelor of Science from McGill University.
2. Why did you pursue an MBA degree at this point in your career?
Graduated with a science degree, I learned most of my knowledge about the financial sector and business technology through self-studying and earning industry certificates. Although in the past, self-learning allowed me to acquire the essential knowledge to perform my job well as a business analyst, I find myself relying on intuition in many cases due to a lack of business background. To take my career to the next level as a consultant, I would like to develop a comprehensive understanding of business management so that it can help me expand my professional skills working with businesses in different sectors.
In addition, I am interested in starting my CRM career in China, so the MBA program also gives me a chance to network with other great minds in China. The Guanghua brand and strong alumni network would help me get recognized by future employers and establish connections.
3. What was the key factor(s) that led you to determine on Guanghua Global MBA, and why was it so important to you?
Three factors that led to my decision to join Guanghua MBA were: school recognition, culture, and people.
School recognition was one of the most important factors that I considered. In my initial MBA program research, I knew that I wanted to go to a top MBA program in China with strong school recognition. Given that I do not have a professional network in China, an MBA program with strong brand recognition would increase my career transition success. Guanghua is the top business school in China and therefore was a top choice for me.
Secondly, I wanted to find an MBA program that has a good cultural fit. I spent some time connecting with alumni from different MBA programs and joined online sessions to understand what kind of candidates they are looking for and whether I share the same values. Attending a full-time MBA program for two years is a huge commitment, and thus I wanted to make sure that there is a good fit between the school’s values and mine. In all of the Guanghua MBA program events I have attended, I felt an immediate connection to the school’s emphasis on inclusivity, community, and humanity.
Last but not least, the people, including fellow students, staff, and professors, are also a huge factor for me when considering the MBA program to attend. All the students, staff, and professors that I have interacted with were approachable, honest, and candid. There was pride when they mentioned their affiliation with the school, and it was the contagious energy that drew me to the school.
4. What did you enjoy most about the program?
Because of COVID19, I have been taking the lessons online. Even with the virtual learning situation, I find myself enjoying the interactions with my fellow classmates the most.
I remember that during the exam week last semester, everyone was sharing their exam review notes and study guides. It was surprising to me because I thought PKU students were supposed to be competitive and would have never guessed the generosity of my classmates.
To us Guanghua MBAers, it is more important to grow together than beating each other and I am glad to be a part of this community.
5. What specific skills have you developed through this program?
Global MBA program provides a core curriculum covering the main topics related to business critical thinking is one of the top skills I have developed through the program. In many of the business cases presented in class, we were asked to discuss with classmates on our views and share them with the larger group.
Through this process, I was able to hear different perspectives from classmates with different backgrounds. These diverse opinions gave me a chance to learn different perspectives of looking at the world – learning to think critically about what position I am taking when looking at an issue. More aware of self-bias and the areas that I need to improve on.
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy public speaking, golfing, travelling, and reading.
7. What quality best describes your Global MBA Program classmates and why?
I would describe my MBA classmates as overachieving, diverse, and collaborative. The program structure brings about half Chinese students with half international students together to exchange ideas and learn from each other. It has been a fun experience for me to get to know accomplished people working in different industries and countries and learn from their experiences. I was initially not sure if the classes would be hyper-competitive since everyone was on top of their games. But it turns out that great that everyone is super willing to share and help each other out.
8. What advice would you give to someone considering studying this program at Guanghua?
If you are thinking of studying at the Guanghua MBA program, I would advise you to think through what are you trying to achieve in the next two years. Guanghua provides a great opportunity, network, and community for you to accomplish your goals, but it is still up to you to make the most out of your time here and take action.
9. Do you think Guanghua will help with your career? If so, in what way do you think the degree has contributed to your career?
Guanghua has helped me in two areas. Firstly, the course structure is well designed and covers areas from economics, strategy, finance, statistics, ethics, etc. After a semester of study, I have learned many interesting topics that furthered my knowledge.
Secondly, the resources offered by Guanghua have allowed me to connect with established PKU alumni. One of the goals I have here is to get a better understanding of doing business in China. Through the mentorship program at Guanghua, I had a chance to connect with established Guanghua alumni in China and learn directly from them. The insights I have learned so far have already expanded my understanding of China.
10. What’s the plan after graduation / where do you see yourself in five years?
With the help of the Guanghua MBA program, I hope to establish myself as a leading functional consultant in CRM system implementation at a top consulting firm in China in 5 years. Especially, I want to pursue a career in CRM functional consulting and leverage my business and technology skills to digitally transform their business and establish technology infrastructure for big data implementations.
11. Would you recommend the program to others and why?
Yes, I would recommend the Guanghua MBA program to others who are looking to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business world. Whether you are switching to a different industry or choosing to stay in your current industry, the MBA program allows you to level up your professional knowledge and connect you with other great minds. Being a part of the Guanghua family also means that you can enjoy exclusive resources such as the Career Development Centre and the Mentorship Program.