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Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Alumni Mentor Program – New Beginnings
——By Kenneth Yang, Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Class of 2018
The 2016 Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Alumni Mentorship Program (AMP) officially begun as of October 17, 2016. From the immense efforts of the Tsinghua MBA office, fifty-seven alumni mentors, from a wide range of backgrounds and industries, have agreed to dedicate themselves to selflessly share their knowledge, experiences, and insights with the Tsinghua-MIT 2016 Global MBA class. The number of alumni mentors committed this year represented an impressive ratio of less than 2 students per alumni mentor for the 2016 Global MBA class of 101 students.
On November 12, 2016, AMP held the formal kick-off events with a majority of the alumni mentors in attendance to introduce themselves to the 2016 Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA class. The event was hosted by 2016 GMBA class alumni relations representatives, Kaifu Han and Kenneth Yang, who introduced the new AMP format in detail and explained the expectations for both students and alumni mentors going forward.
Kick-Off Events Student Hosts
Alumni mentors were grouped into five different groups based on their industry backgrounds that included the following: PE/VC Group 1, PE/VC Group 2, General Finance, TMT, and Other Industries. Each alumni mentor gave a brief 2-minute introduction in front of the entire Global MBA class. In many of the introductions, alumni mentors gave interesting stories that made the room filled with laughter and personal insights that benefited the students.
Alumni Mentors and Students Listening Intently
At the end of the event, students signed up to different groups according to their personal interests and based on the introductions of the alumni mentors. Many students continued behind to have further discussions with the alumni mentors and to start building future mentorship relationships.
Kick-Off Event Group Picture
The AMP formal lecture series started off strong with the our first speaker, Cynthia Ma (蔡小嘉 ), engaging over 30 students to share her personal experience from making the transition from an engineering background to business. Her talk especially touched a number of our female classmates in attendance as she candidly and openly discussed the difficulties that women faced in the workplace as well as offered some strategies for women to increase their chances of success. She also shared the challenges that she faced as a Chinese female professional in a white, male dominated industry. Overall, she offered a positive outlook and embraced her experiences that made her who she is today.
The speaking series followed the great start from蔡小嘉 with an incredibly insightful lecture into the venture capital and private equity industry by another distinguished alumni mentor, 于彤. Our speaker took time from her very busy schedule during a business trip to Beijing to share her experiences in the industry with our Global MBA class. She presented the detailed inner mechanics of each of the different functions within the investment process from angel investment round all the way through to when the investment firms would exit the project. In addition, our guest speaker highlighted the importance of finding a function that suits the personality of the individual. Since there are many different functions that requires different skill sets and personalities, joining the industry does not require specific types of people. Everyone has a place in the industry and the most important thing is to find what suits you and that would translate to a higher chance of long-term success.
于彤 encouraged our classmate to pursuit a career in the investment industry as she noted that the industry is always looking for talent in this fast changing environment. She stressed that it would be unnecessary to start a banking or consulting career first before joining the industry. Get your foot in the door and work hard to learn everything you can was her advice to all the students in attendance.
Alumni mentor 章勇, while on a business trip from Hong Kong to Beijing, also took the time out of his busy schedule to hold a discussion panel with our MBA class on December 20, 2016. He shared his personal experiences and insights from the investment banking industry. 章勇 was a strong advocate for the investment banking industry and he encouraged the attendees to pursue a career in the industry.
On December 22, 2016, two of our alumni mentors from the healthcare industry, 庞瑞 and 王梦良, held a joint discussion panel on the state of the healthcare industry in China. Alumni mentor 王梦良 gave a detailed overview of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry with concrete statistics, detailed explanation of current regulatory situation, insights on profit generation, and future industry outlook. Coming from the media background with specialization in the healthcare industry, alumni mentor 庞瑞 held a lively discussion on branding and marketing strategy for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry and dissected a few well-known cases with the participants to demonstrate the role of public relations in the healthcare industry.
The formal speaking series closed strong with alumni mentor张涛holding a large information session on the topic of merger and acquisitions on January 2, 2017. Over 40 students attended the event where alumni mentor 张涛 shared two real life acquisition cases with the attendees. During the session, our fellow classmates learned the inner workings of the actual deals as well as the strategic considerations from behind the scenes. The informative session was a great exposure for our MBA class to peek into what actually goes on in real life mega deals.
Alumni Mentor 张涛 Sharing With Full Room of MBA Students
On November 25, 2016, alumni mentor 杨宁, together with the Tsinghua MBA office and Tsinghua Career Development Center, organized a site visit to tour the General Electric (GE) Beijing Technology Park. Thirty-three 2016 Global MBA class students were invited to join the tour where the participants witnessed state of the art research facilities and equipment.
In addition to the tour, GE arranged six informational lectures, which were all held by Tsinghua alums, for the participating students. The informational lecture topics cover an overview of GE business and the newest developments in aerospace and medical sector of GE.
The site visits conducted in the first semester not only included established firm like GE, on December 16, 2016, students were invited to visit a technology start-up company. Led by alumni mentor 刘昕, 20 students attended the company visit to 出门问问, which is a rising start-up company specialize in artificial intelligence in speech recognition and voice search. Participants were able to get a glimpse into how a start-up functions in the cutting edge technology sector.
Alumni mentor 刘昕 demonstrated how the artificial intelligence voice recognition technology works to the student who participated and gave an overview on the history of the company and how the current situation of technology start-up scene.
Small and informal gatherings are often one of the best ways for people to connect with one another in intimate settings. Throughout the first semester, many alumni mentors arranged small lunch and dinner gatherings with students from their industry group. Although these gatherings were informal, the alumni mentors shared personal experiences and deep industry knowledge with those that attended. These small lunch and dinner gathering have been tremendously beneficial to our fellow MBA classmates.
Dinner Gathering with Alumni Mentor 许少波 on December 23, 2016
Dinner Gathering with Alumni Mentor 刘继楼 on December 11, 2016
Moving forward to the second semester and into the second year of our MBA journey, the AMP will continue to arrange activities with alumni mentors to offer our MBA class with more and more opportunities to get to know the alumni mentors. Procedures to encourage active engagement will also continue to be improved upon to strengthen the AMP for future Tsinghua MBA classes. It is the mission of the AMP to encourage and cultivate strong relationships between alumni mentors and students and we believe that we are on the right track to achieve that mission.