Tsinghua SEM's Dean QIAN Yingyi Dialogue with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Jul 13, 2020

On June 1, 2016, Satya Nadella, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM) Advisory Board member, CEO of Microsoft, visited Tsinghua University and engaged in an exciting dialogue with Professor QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM. The event was moderated by Professor XU Xin, Associate Dean of Tsinghua SEM. 


Dean QIAN started exploring popular topics such as Microsoft's latest technological innovation: China's Internet strategy, industrial upgrading, and creative entrepreneurship with Nadella. Nadella shared with a thousand teachers and students from his experiences as Microsoft's helmsman and technological innovator his heartfelt insights on how to keep motivated to be innovative. Nadella believes that having a "growth mentality" where one remains curious, adaptable and unafraid of risks will allow one to grow in the midst of failure and enquire in the midst of growth. 



A dialogue between Tsinghua SEM Dean QIAN Yingyi and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


On Cloud Computing and Mixed Reality (MR)

As a technology company, technology is their core competence therefore Dean QIAN first inquired about the technological breakthroughs of Microsoft since Nadella became CEO. Nadella highlighted cloud computing and mixed reality. Nadella believes that cloud computing services as storage provides basic infrastructure for network development which will enable economic transformation and great social impact. Data has become a new currency and cloud computing will raise people's understanding of numbers, accelerate the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence. 


Nadella also explained in detail the relationship between MR, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR). These three technologies are new forms of media with three types of platforms that use a Head-up Display. AR adds some information to one's view of the real world, virtual reality is completely immersive, whereas mixed reality mixes reality with virtual objects that one can interact with as if they were real, for example virtual objects remain in the same place that one had placed them in the last session. 


Nadella mentioned the official release by Microsoft of HoloLens Holographic glasses and its developer kit which provides everyone with a platform for innovation. Nadella believes that this technology will produce great changes in the fields of education, medicine, industrial design, gaming, etc. For instance, NASA is using the HoloLens to simulate exploring the surface of Mars.

On China's "Internet+" strategy and digital transformation

When discussing China's digital transformation and market potential, Nadella said that Microsoft's cloud computing can provide a technological platform for large and small enterprises and government to do better. Microsoft is a provider of basic infrastructure for big data servicing Chinese enterprises and helping them succeed in the marketplace. When asked about how digital technology can transform finance, Nadella mentioned how block chain can lower the cost of transactions for poor consumers. Additionally smart technology can have a positive impact on risk assessment.


A dialogue between Tsinghua SEM Dean QIAN Yingyi and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


On Corporate Culture and a "Growth Mindset"

Dean QIAN introduced Tsinghua X-Lab (Tsinghua's creative innovation and entrepreneurship education platform). He expressed the hope that Nadella would share with the students who want to become entrepreneurs some inspiring secrets behind Microsoft's success. Nadella said the success of an enterprise at its founding is a very bold idea, entrepreneurial spirit that is full of passion and an ability to persevere. Aside from this, corporate culture for instance Microsoft's strong learning culture that encourages the development of thinking and recruits talents who want to grow. He expressed that Microsoft is committed to building a "Growth Mindset" culture and he encouraged young innovators to pursue learning continually with an insatiable curiosity, be adaptable and willing to take risks. Furthermore, they should bounce back quickly from setbacks and humbly learn from the experiences and creativity of others, and see personal success in the collective's success. He also mentioned that Tsinghua University's graduates are the third largest group of graduates employed by Microsoft.


A dialogue between Tsinghua SEM Dean QIAN Yingyi and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


On his personal development and MBA education

Dean QIAN introduced Nadella’s educational and career highlights and asked him to share with the students how his background in science, engineering and management helped him in his career. Nadella said, “I feel like it is all the choices we make rather than our inborn abilities or present opportunities that affect our path of development.” He explained how his schooling choices were decided by his curiosity about finances and passion for computer science. Nadella elaborated that it was not the degree that had value but what one did with the learning that mattered.


In the lively Q & A session, the students asked Nadella about the “Digital transformation of finance”, “How university students should make choices in entrepreneurship” and “Management of founding teams” that he answered one by one.


Finally Dean QIAN gave Nadella a gift from a Tsinghua x-lab team (a portrait produced by them) and expressed hope that Nadella would frequently visit Tsinghua for further exchanges.


Dean QIAN presents a gift from Tsinghua x-lab team


Satya Nadella, taking over from his predecessor, became Tsinghua SEM Advisory Board Member in 2015. He was the fourth guest speaker, after Tim Cook, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, who had a dialogue with Professor QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM.


Satya Nadella is Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft. Before being named CEO in February 2014, Nadella held leadership roles in both enterprise and consumer businesses across the company. Joining Microsoft in 1992, he quickly became known as a leader who could span a breadth of technologies and businesses to transform some of Microsoft’s biggest product offerings.

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