Thomas Day, Peking University-UCL
MBA 2020 Full-time Class Student
I have always been interested in different cultures and how cross-cultural communication and cooperation can effectively work in business contexts. With a passion and curiosity for other cultures, I have studied and worked in various regions of East Asia, with a particular focus on China.
In my current role as Enterprise Solutions Manager at Asialink Business’ China Practice, I am responsible for liaising with several stakeholders from a variety of sectors to assist them to understand the market, expand, and grow in China.
Before joining Asialink Business, I have worked with several China-related organizations where I developed a passion for and dedication to China and built in-depth knowledge and understanding of the cultural, political, and economic drivers of the country.
An MBA prepares us for future uncertainties
Over the last few years, the whole world has gone through fundamental changes in business models and international relations. The rapid technological changes and rising protectionism has set unprecedented challenges for everyone.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything – the way we live, study, and work. Digitalization is no longer just a choice but a must for any business to survive.
I have been considering an MBA for some years and I felt that 2020 was the perfect time to gain a skill set that will be valuable in the increasingly uncertain and complex global business landscape.
Although I’m still in Australia and unable to join the class in Beijing due to the pandemic, the school has made thoughtful planning of online courses and online career development events to help overseas students make the most of their studies during this difficult time.
The online learning experience has been surprisingly good and I’m really grateful for the great effort to ensure that I’ve been included in all the various activities in and outside the classroom. All of the teachers and my classmates have adapted quickly to the new way of learning and we’ve all become masters in communicating across different platforms and timezones. To illustrate this, for our first group assignment we had team members based in Cyrpus, Australia, the US, and also someone in quarantine.
Furthermore, the course content has been challenging but highly practical and I’m already beginning to see the interrelation between key business disciplines. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, where different areas connect and interrelate with each other. I’ve had the opportunity to focus on areas I’ve encountered but did not have a deep understanding of. I’ve really enjoyed topics such as economics, data analytics, statistics, and accounting. I already feel a lot more comfortable and confident reading and interpreting financial news and even annual reports and balance sheets of companies.
I believe this is a good opportunity for us to explore how to continue our lives in such a circumstance that no one knows how long it will last.
With increased uncertainty and unpredictability in the global business environment, we are fortunate to begin our MBA program to develop our leadership and management skills so we’re best prepared for the complex, interconnected, and constantly evolving global business environment.
An MBA ensures the best education quality
Among the thousands of MBA programs worldwide, I’m extremely excited that I can be a member of the PKU-UCL MBA program, which I truly believe is a unique and rewarding one.
The program, which is a joint effort made by two highly-ranked universities globally, has a connection to two capital cities (Beijing and London), which are leading political and business centers in both the east and the west.
As the world becomes increasingly interlinked, any visionary entrepreneur will not miss the chance to gain an understanding of traditional culture, business philosophies, and best practices in both the east and west. This is especially relevant to the rapidly developing China market, which will play an increasingly important role in global affairs.
For somebody who has followed China for several years, the opportunity to study at the National School of Development, Peking University was extremely appealing.
I’m really fortunate to study with professors who have played such an integral role in advising the Chinese government on key issues in economic policy over the previous decades. I cannot wait to explore how the modern miracle – China’s economy – was forged in the past decades from those who participated in it.
Even though I’ve started remotely, I’m really looking forward to joining the eminent professors and talented classmates for my MBA journey in person.
An MBA designed for cross-cultural competitiveness
I have a long connection with East Asian cultures, especially with China. I first came to China when I was 18 years old where I volunteered as a teacher in Qingdao.
After that, my interest in and connection with China lasted, bringing me valuable experience which helped build my career.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of spending five years working in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao across education, tourism, and business.
These experiences gave me more than just language skills and an understanding of Chinese culture but also enabled me to see China’s rapid development firsthand during my extensive travels and visits to over 60 cities.
I believe that learning with the most talented classmates in a program based on two leading cities will improve our cross-cultural competitiveness.
As for me, through my experience working in China and Australia, cross-cultural competitiveness has provided many opportunities throughout my career and has allowed me to develop a global mindset and networks. I’m looking forward to gathering with my classmates who share this similar background to use our MBA journey together to further develop and refine our skills and confidence to make effective business decisions in times of uncertainty.
Learn more about the Peking University-UCL MBA at the National School of Development, Peking University here.
Article by Thomas Day, Peking University-UCL MBA 2020 Full-time Class Student