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Q&A with UCL-PKU MBA graduate Xiaojing Wang

SophieVinter22 November 2019

Xiaojing Wang, graduate from the UCL-PKU MBAXiaojing Wang is one of the first students graduating from the UCL-Peking University MBA.

Launched in 2016 as part of UCL and PKU’s deep strategic partnership, the MBA combines the unique research and teaching strengths of the UCL School of Management and the Peking University National School of Development.

Based in Beijing, students have the opportunity to complete elective courses in London during the summer. They also undertake a business research project, supplemented by training and guidance on consultancy services, business planning, and business research.

  • Can you tell us more about your current job and what your role involves?

I’m working in the UK Department for International Trade Education and Skills Team (China) as the Head of Early Years Education and English Language Training.

My role is to support UK-China G2G and B2B collaboration in these two areas, both on export and investment.

  • How did you hear about the UCL-PKU MBA and what made you want to apply?

One of the stakeholders that I knew studied an MBA at PKU, so I contacted the recruitment team and was recommended the UCL-PKU programme.

The programme was appealing to me because I am promoting UK education, and I am a huge fan of UK universities. UCL as a top 10 university of the world is a huge plus for my education experience.

  • What’s been the most interesting aspect of the programme for you?

The summer study in the UK was the most interesting thing. First of all, it really made me feel that I am part of UCL rather than just PKU. It gave me more attachment to the university. Secondly, the programme and the professors were really great. They offered us opportunities to align the theory we’ve seen in class with practical cases, as they took us on quite a few company visits. Thirdly, as the university is in London, it really gave us a great opportunity to feel the dynamics of the city.

Also, as we were the first group taking part, the programme did attract quite interesting colleagues to join, which made the study quite fun.

  • What did your Business Research Project focus on?

Together with two other colleagues, we analysed the Fedex and TNT acquisition project.

We basically used the theories we’ve studied in class – including accounting, decision-making and strategic management – to analyse why it was a good option for Fedex to acquire TNT. We hope to generate some suggestions for Chinese express companies to take as reference when they consider overseas mergers and acquisitions.

I was very impressed by all the courses related to decision making and strategy, especially in the UK. The professors were very enthusiastic, and passed on their enthusiasm and knowledge to us.

  • What are the rest of your cohort like? Have you found it useful to learn from each other?

Indeed, the colleagues who joined the programme were from different parts of China and different industries. I’ve definitely learnt a great deal from them, and they also made my study experience more fun as well.

  • Do you think doing the MBA has benefited your career? If so, how?

I do think has benefited my career. I am from an Arts & Humanities background, and the knowledge I gained about accounting and decision-making etc. helped me to be more rational when looking at different projects. I could provide more profound insight to the stakeholders that I work with.

Find out more about the UCL-PKU MBA.

Peking University and UCL agree joint MBA programme.

More news about UCL in East Asia.

Ask GEO: Tom Windle, Senior Partnerships Manager (East and South East Asia)

SophieVinter29 November 2016

Tom Windle, East and South East Asia

Tom is GEO’s Senior Partnerships Manager for East and South East Asia. Here he tells us more about his work and UCL’s recent activity in both regions.

What is your role in GEO?

I develop and manage the portfolio of existing and potential partnerships for UCL in East and South East Asia, in line with UCL’s Global Engagement Strategy.

UCL has some really fascinating partnerships in both regions – from the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute leading the £10m Department for Education-funded Mandarin Excellence Programme, to UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences collaborating with the HRH Chulabhorn College of Medical Science on widening access to healthcare in Thailand.

You recently returned from a visit to China, led by Provost. How did the trip go?

The China visit went very well, incorporating visits to university partners as well as to the Chinese Ministry of Education, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the British Ambassador. UCL has been enjoying a deeper strategic partnership with Peking University (PKU) and during the trip we launched the Beijing International MBA – a collaboration between PKU’s National School of Development and UCL’s School of Management. The agreement represents a shared commitment that our two institutions have to collaborate and have a greater impact.

At Hong Kong University, UCL’s Vice-Provost Research announced a call for collaborative research proposals that address UCL Grand Challenges, under the new three-year HKU-UCL Global Strategic Partnership Fund. The purpose of this funding is to provide the necessary initial support to enable HKU and UCL academic staff to enhance existing collaboration or to pursue new, multilateral or cross-disciplinary research projects. This will complement UCL’s Global Engagement Funds in supporting grassroots international partnerships development across all UCL faculties.

It was also very exciting launching the Campaign for UCL in China. We have an enthusiastic alumni network across China and the campaign is proving a great way to engage them in supporting the ongoing work of UCL’s diverse academic and student body to work with partners to address some of the biggest challenges we face in the 21st century.

How can people keep up to date with UCL’s activity in East and South East Asia?

UCL’s collaborations in both regions are very varied, ranging from academic partnerships with overseas universities to engagement with governments, funding bodies and corporate partners.

Our regional networks, led by Director Katherine Carruthers (Pro-Vice-Provost, East Asia) and Professor Nicholas Phelps (Pro-Vice-Provost, South East Asia) are the best way to keep up to speed in terms of UCL’s collaborations there and funding opportunities. You can sign up here.

There are some great initiatives for students in both regions too. For example, the Yenching Academy at PKU is currently inviting applications from UCL students to spend a year in Beijing doing a fully funded Master’s programme in China Studies – an incredible opportunity.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently preparing for a delegation visit to Australia in December, led by the Vice-Provost International Dame Nicola Brewer, which will take in visits to various partners and stakeholders in three cities: Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

UCL Engineering enjoys a continuing strong partnership with the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia (UniSA), focusing on education and research in the sustainable management and use of minerals, energy and natural resources. This year, the collaboration launched a new Post-Graduate Taught MSc Programme on Global Management of Natural Resources. The upcoming visit will be a great opportunity to touch base with our colleagues in Australia and discuss our ongoing and upcoming collaborations.

Contact Tom on:

t.windle@ucl.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 3108 7784 / internal 57784

Yenching Academy Scholarship and Global Symposium: Apply now

SophieVinter3 November 2016

Yenching Academy Scholarship posterUCL students wanting to develop their understanding of China and its role in the world can apply for a fully funded Master’s scholarship at Peking University (PKU).

The Yenching Academy is offering the chance to complete an interdisciplinary Master’s in China Studies at the heart of PKU in Beijing.

Applications are open to graduates of any discipline until 31 January 2017 and can be submitted directly through the Yenching Academy website.

Students can also apply to attend the Academy’s flagship event, the Yenching Global Symposium, taking place from 23-27 March 2017 . This year’s theme is “Xinnovation: Identity of Innovation in China” and applications close on 15 December 2016.

Professor John L Holden, Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy, and UCL History graduate James Ashcroft, who was among the first cohort of scholars, visited UCL to encourage students with an interest in China to apply.

They explained how the residential programme attracts outstanding graduates from all over the world, helping to shape a new generation of global citizens with a nuanced understanding of China.

“The best year of my life”

James, who is now working as a consultant at Deloitte, described how the experience offered the chance not only for intercultural and academic exchange, but also for personal and professional development.

Chinese cultural activitiesHe said: “I principally studied 16th and 17th century political thought at UCL, but also Chinese history. I’d never been to China or studied Chinese before, but the Academy flew us out one month before to do an intensive language course which was a very useful survival kit to have.

“I focussed less on the academic things and more on the experience I could get out of being in China – it was the best year of my life. Afterwards I moved to Taiwan and stayed with a host family. It’s a really stimulating environment to be in and by the end you have friends for life from all over the globe.”

Working closely with their academic mentors, Yenching Scholars create their own study paths by choosing from six academic concentrations – ranging from Economics and Management to Politics and International Relations – and participating in a variety of extracurricular activities.

Changing the world

Professor Holden said the programme attracts a variety of high-profile speakers including international ambassadors and renowned authors such as Yu Hua. Some scholars also undertake internships as part of their time in China.

Professor John Holden is encouraging UCL students to apply for the Yenching Academy scholarshipHe said: “There is no place like PKU in China; it is where all major Chinese social movements have been initiated. We’re able to recruit spectacular people who want to change the world and make a difference.

“This year we are rolling out a new course, ‘China in Transition’, which is an interdisciplinary look at China since 1978. We provide funds for each scholar to go out and research for that course on trips, and there is also a field trip in the autumn.”

Both urged applicants to make their personal statement stand out and to prepare well for the short Skype interview.

James added: “Make sure you have a good recommendation from people who know you well. Use your personal statement to help us understand who you are – it’s not just about your academic quality, think about why you want to participate and how this will tie into your future.”