Meet Our "Future Leaders"是北京大学光华管理学院“未来领导者”国际本科项目推出的专题系列报道，通过讲述该项目来自全球的学生丰富且多元的故事与思想，展示“未来领导者”项目学生的青春风采。
#Meet Our “Future Leaders” # is a series featuring the personal stories of students in PKU Guanghua’s “Future Leaders” International Undergraduate Program.
Today, Yata Baty Mbodj, a young woman from Senegal shares her story, including a devotion to community service and aspiration to learn from China’s experience to better contribute to the development of her home country.
About Yata Baty Mbodj
Yata Baty Mbodj is a fourth-year student committed to learning new things, discovering other cultures, and positively impacting communities. Before coming to Peking University, Yata studied in ESSEC's Global BBA program for two years both in France and in Singapore. Driven by her passion for social entrepreneurship, Yata is determined to build her own business in Senegal in the future. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel, and watch football.
From academics to community service
One of my most significant academic achievements was winning 3rdprize in Spanish at a national competition where 2000 of Senegal’s best students compete in different subjects. I was very proud to be among only 100 students to earn an award and receive my prize in front of Senegal’s President and other top officials. My whole family cheered for me when they saw me on national television. Winning a prize in Spanish, which is my 4thlanguage, meant a lot to me because it showed me I could achieve anything as long as I worked hard for it.
Yata at the award ceremony
In addition to pursuing academic excellence, community service is becoming a significant part of my life. In high school, I spent many hours raising awareness among my classmates about the importance of helping others, and I personally worked to help underprivileged students. Whenever I collected donations of money, clothes, books, and other resources for NGOs, I felt proud that I played a role in making another student's life slightly easier. After school, I volunteered as a teacher for a class of 8thgraders at a center for orphans and a center for disabled children. As I shared my knowledge with these groups of young people who are often overlooked in my society, their optimism and courage made me realize the importance of building inclusive communities. I believe that serving the greater public interest does not require coming from a privileged background; anyone can find something wholesome to contribute to the well-being of society.
Yata with her class at the center for disabled children in Dakar
Learn from China’s development experience
I aspire to become a future global leader, so when I first saw the name of Guanghua’s “Future Leaders” Program, I was immediately attracted to it. Exploring further, I discovered that this is a unique opportunity to interact with top students worldwide and foster my management skills and cultural intelligence. Moreover, growing up in a developing country, I have always been impressed by China's spectacular growth and economic dynamism. The program would allow me to learn more about both China’s extraordinary development and the country’s business culture, which can serve as inspiration for my country. Indeed, studying in China provides insight into different techniques, ideas, strategies, and policies that are highly relevant for developing countries like Senegal.
Yata with her classmates in Singapore
After joining the “Future Leaders” Program, I was first impressed by the practicality of the courses. I love that the courses have been more than just abstract theories and instead encourage us to engage in real-life business activities and sound research. The course “Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation” had a particularly profound impact on me. The course was demanding and required us to behave like real venture capitalists, carrying out industry analyses, company valuations, financial forecasts, and more. In the end, I managed to complete a company valuation of a startup in my country despite scarcity of information.
Besides the courses, I have been most impressed by the program's kind, respectful, and open-minded people: the professors, the students, and the administrative team. The professors are exceptionally supportive and humble. They always encourage initiative and are open to discussion. They are also very generous in sharing their academic research and valuable insights with us.
Become a better version of myself
The “Future Leaders” program has helped me grow both professionally and personally. The learning experience in the program prepares me to be proactive, think critically, and make well-informed business decisions. These represent important competencies for succeeding in the global business environment. Further, the program offers a great network of amazing people who can support each other in achieving their dreams. Being in a highly selective and globally-oriented class setting, I became more aware of business opportunities in other countries as our community of students shares exciting career and event opportunities.
The Culture & Language Buddy event organized by the program
Additionally, the “Future Leaders” Program has helped me become a better version of myself. I now better appreciate the value of diversity and the power of embracing differences. I have also become more resilient. Indeed, the first year of hybrid class arrangements was challenging for both professors and students. Nevertheless, we collectively worked to prevent geographical distance from hindering the quality of our education. On the contrary, we strove to do our best, work hard, and stay connected despite being in different time zones and being unable to interact in person. Through this unique experience, I learned to stay strong in adversity and overcome the obstacles and hardships I face.
Yata with her classmates in China
More to explore on campus
I enjoy traveling, immersing myself in nature, sitting on the beach, and sightseeing. I also love reading, which is a form of travel in itself. Through reading, my mind can experience different eras, places, and societies and see the world through the characters' eyes. I also play the flute, and though I am not a great player, I had the courage to play during our Chinese New Year Party this year. Another hobby is watching football, and I am a big fan of the Senegalese National Football Team.
Yata at the pilgrimage in Makkah
Having finally arrived in Beijing, campus life at Peking University and the opportunity for face-to-face communication with my classmates really excite me. The on-site classes and discussions with professors and classmates instill in me an even keener global vision. I feel so grateful to finally see my classmates in person, who provided me with considerable support on my journey to China. With the FIFA World cup in full swing, I enjoy watching the World Cup with my “Future Leaders” classmates and cheering for the Senegalese football team. So many of our countries are competing—Senegal, France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Canada—and it’s fun seeing each other cheer for our respective countries and commenting on the matches.
Yata proudly pointing at the flag of Senegal at the entry of PKU Global Village
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.