Stories

Lim Tern Poh: Navigating New Horizons-My MBA Adventure at Guanghua


The vast expanse of China stretched before me as I stood atop the ancient Great Wall. A profound realization dawned: this wasn't just a physical journey but a pivotal leap in my academic and professional life.

Image of the Great Wall of China, taken during a hiking trip with PKU schoolmates



This moment encapsulated my magical experience at Guanghua School of Management (GSM). This journey was as much about acquiring knowledge as it was about understanding a culture steering the global business landscape.


Attractive Value Propositions of GSM MBA

Choosing the GSM MBA program was more than just a decision. It was a commitment to immerse myself in an environment where tradition meets modernity and global business trends are shaped. GSM presented a unique proposition that resonated deeply with my aspirations: to develop a global mindset, thrive in a multicultural setting, and gain insights into China's economic and cultural intricacies.


The GSM MBA stands out for its global vision, encouraging students to broaden their horizons and prepare for international leadership roles. The program's integrated, case-oriented, and China-centric approach offers a deep dive into real-life business scenarios, providing invaluable insights into critical Chinese industries and emerging market trends. It's an environment where learning goes beyond textbooks, extending to understanding the nuances of a market poised to become a global powerhouse.


In the following sections, I will share my story – the classes that challenged my thinking, the real-world cases that tested my knowledge, the community that became my second family, and the cultural insights that shaped my professional outlook. Join me as I recount my memorable journey at GSM.


Why I Chose GSM for My MBA

My decision to pursue an MBA at GSM stemmed from a deep desire to become a well-rounded global leader who could bridge Eastern and Western business perspectives. Western practices largely dominated my previous professional experience and education, and I recognized the need to immerse myself in Eastern business practices to excel globally.


GSM, located in the heart of Beijing's vibrant technology hub, emerged as the perfect avenue for this endeavor. It represented more than just an academic institution; it was a portal to understanding China's burgeoning role in the world economy. This was particularly vital as I observed the expanding influence of Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent in global markets.


The dual-MBA program with the National University of Singapore (NUS) further accentuated the appeal, offering a rare opportunity to delve into two dynamic economic powerhouses: China and Southeast Asia. This blend of experiences was poised to uniquely position me at the intersection of diverse business cultures, equipping me with the insight and adaptability required in today's interconnected global economy.

My strategic choice of GSM was a pivotal step towards realizing my career aspirations of becoming a well-rounded global leader adept at navigating and synergizing business landscapes.


Classroom Meets Real World

At GSM, the fusion of academic theory and real-world application is not just a teaching methodology; it's the essence of our learning experience. This integration is most vividly exemplified in the Integrated Practicum Project (IPP). In this module, we didn't just study business; we were part of it, working on consulting projects with leading Chinese companies. This hands-on approach is a testament to GSM's commitment to a case-oriented educational philosophy.


My IPP experience was a transformative chapter in my MBA adventure. Leading a culturally diverse team, we developed an international go-to-market strategy for SegmentFault (思否) from ONES.com. This wasn't just an academic exercise but a real business challenge that required a deep understanding of the market, innovative thinking, and seamless teamwork. Our success, crowned by the best presentation award, demonstrated what can be achieved when diverse minds collaborate on a global stage.


IPP signing ceremony with PKU professor and SegmentFault's senior management


This practical immersion into the business world extended beyond the IPP. In our corporate strategy and marketing classes, we delved deep into case studies of Chinese e-commerce giants like PingDuoDuo, analyzing their rise against industry leaders like Jingdong and Alibaba. These insights offered a unique perspective on the Chinese market, far richer than any traditional textbook could provide.


I expanded my business acumen in GSM's immersive learning environment, which is deeply rooted in the Chinese context. I gained invaluable insights into the interplay of traditional values and contemporary business strategies. This profound understanding of China's business landscape, achieved through direct engagement with actual companies and practical challenges, has shaped my global business perspective.


Networking and Collaboration at GSM

My time at GSM wasn't just about academic growth; it was a journey enriched with opportunities for networking and personal development. The growth of my WeChat network from zero to over 500 contacts epitomizes the vast expansion of my professional and social circle.


Each addition to this list wasn't just a number; it represented a potential business collaborator, a fellow thought leader or a friend. These relationships, forged in diverse settings, from academic discussions to leisure activities like ice skiing at PKU's Weiming Lake and ascending the Great Wall of China, were integral to my MBA journey. These informal moments were not just about enjoyment; they were invaluable opportunities for exchanging ideas, sharing experiences, and solidifying a network that will undoubtedly play a crucial role in my future endeavors.


Riding ice chairs on PKU's Weiming Lake


The GSM community is unique in its ability to blend academic rigor with a warm, inclusive environment. Here, I found more than colleagues; I found a second family. Our interactions extended beyond classrooms and conference rooms, creating a tapestry of experiences that enhanced my interpersonal skills - skills imperative for sustaining meaningful professional relationships in a globally interconnected business landscape.


Connecting GSM Experience with Career Aspirations

My journey at GSM has reshaped my personal and professional trajectory. The MBA program has been instrumental in reinforcing my ambition to be at the forefront of bridging the world with China and China to the world in the technology industry.


Combined with my previous expertise in AI, I've developed a unique blend of technical knowledge, business acumen, and cultural insight at GSM. This combination is essential for anyone aiming to create a lasting impact on the global technology sector. My enhanced understanding of the Chinese market, nurtured through the program, equips me to navigate and contribute effectively to international business environments.


The program has been more than just an educational experience; it has been a personal and professional metamorphosis journey. The skills, insights, and networks I've built at GSM are the foundation of my future. I am now fully prepared to support innovative technologies and foster collaborations that bridge Eastern and Western markets. I envision my future career at the dynamic nexus of technology, business, and cross-cultural collaboration, a vision significantly shaped by my experiences at GSM.


Gathering with fellow ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholar in Beijing


Looking Back, Moving Forward: My Reflection on GSM MBA

The GSM MBA journey has been a transformative experience that reshaped my worldview, honed my professional skills, and broadened my cultural understanding. This program uniquely combined global vision, integrated learning, and a deep focus on the Chinese market, providing me with invaluable insights and a competitive edge in the global business arena.


I grew as a global business leader by applying classroom learnings to real-world situations, especially within the Chinese context, and leading diverse teams in challenging projects. Engaging with the vibrant GSM community and tackling these practical experiences have thoroughly prepared me for navigating the complexities of today's global market dynamics.


In 2023, I was honored to receive the Horizon Scholarship from the Beijing Horizon Charity Foundation, recognizing my academic excellence. The same year, I was named a "Sanhao Student" (三好学生), acknowledging my well-rounded achievements. Additionally, I was awarded the ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship, one of the top scholarships established by the Chinese government to support outstanding international students.


Beyond academics, I had the opportunity to share knowledge and foster innovation. I was invited as a guest speaker at Peking University's Student Innovation Association. During the AI-FUSION community series, I delved into artificial intelligence and its future trends. These speaking engagements allowed me to share knowledge and encourage my peers to prepare for a rapidly changing future. Furthermore, I organized knowledge-sharing sessions on AI and generative AI for the 22G MBA students, aiming to enhance their understanding and application skills in these cutting-edge technology areas.


Event poster for AI-FUSION series where I shared about AI with schoolmates


I am immensely grateful for the experiences and lessons learned at GSM. This journey has been challenging, enlightening, and deeply rewarding. As I progress in my career, I am equipped with robust skills, a profound understanding of both Chinese and global markets, and a network of friends and colleagues spanning continents.


The GSM MBA has been a pivotal chapter in my life, one I will always cherish and draw upon as I navigate the dynamic landscape of global business.


Advice to Prospective Students

To those considering the GSM MBA program, I advise embracing this journey with an open mind and a thirst for learning. The program offers more than just academic excellence; it is a gateway to understanding one of the world's most influential markets and cultures. Be prepared to challenge your preconceptions, engage deeply with a diverse cohort, and leverage the myriad opportunities GSM provides for personal and professional growth.


Remember, the value of the GSM MBA extends beyond the classroom. It lies in the connections you make, the cultural insights you gain, and the real-world applications of your learnings. This program is not just about earning an MBA degree; it's about becoming a part of a global network of leaders well-equipped to navigate and shape the future of business.


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