Peking University BiMBA Business School isone of China’s top business schools located at Peking University’s National School of Development on a beautiful campus in Beijing.How can an MBA from PKU help you succeed in a changing world? Rehan Jafri, PKU-UCL MBA 2020 Full-time Class and BiMBA MBA Ambassador, shares his story of studying for an MBA in China during Covid-19.Interested in applying for an MBA at PKU?
I am a senior professional in the energy sector, having experience in renewable and non-renewable projects. I worked on business development and project management for the Indian, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan markets. I also established a professional consulting firm in China providing services in the water and energy sector.
Pursue a long pending dream in the pandemic
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said, “Change is the only constant in life.” It is so true in our modern world, particularly today. Besides the fast-changing technology that disrupts how we work and do business, the pandemic made the whole world stumble in uncertainties. Already having experience in various projects and different countries, I always wanted to pursue MBA from a prestigious university to widen perceptions and expand connections with excellent business talents. The plan has been postponed due to my extensive traveling for work but the outbreak of the pandemic brought a break – I decided to take the interruption into an opportunity to make my long pending dream come true. This is the perfect time to embrace continuous learning and adapt to the changing time to flourish.The pandemic has changed almost all industries and brought a new challenge for all: to adjust to the uncertainties instead of being caught unprepared.
The BiMBA program helps us to take the challenge in two ways.
First of all, the program’s efforts ensure that we could still have high-quality courses and team building through distance learning. Since I studied in this program, I have been able to know many colleagues of class and develop a friendship with them. Connection with these outstanding and career-oriented talents brings encouragement and inspiration for me during the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) time. The pandemic has interrupted many people’s work and may bring some changes for a long time, if not forever. For example, digitalization has been a must-do for almost all businesses.
That’s what BiMBA program prepares us for. I have enjoyed data analytics and business strategy courses, and I am excitedly looking forward to digital marketing and entrepreneurship courses. I believe these courses would help me hone and upgrade my business development skills.
BiMBA’s merits and my China story
I visited China for the first time in 2008 on a business trip and got impressed with the progress China has made. During this trip, I was offered the opportunity to work for the energy company Hanlong to serve the Indian market. At Hanlong, I worked on several hydro projects funded by the United Nations Development Program, Asian Development Bank, and other government organizations. The job made me realize the great potential for cooperation between the developing energy market of India and techno-commercially efficient Chinese expertise.The job also gave opportunities to open other markets, including Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. All of these gains helped me expand connections and broaden my vision for international markets. Now, the PKU-UCL MBA program is helping to advance my advantages. Through the program, I have the opportunity to learn from China’s best scholars about the policies and business trends of the world’s largest economy, which no business could afford to miss. In the meantime, world-renowned professors from UCL teach us technical subjects and bring perspectives from western culture. The diversity also made the program distinguish itself from others. My class is composed of five nationalities, helping me broaden my network.
This is a major advantage of this program – it provides resources from two top universities from the east and the west to help you develop a global vision for your business ambition.
My goals supported by BiMBA
I have been working in the energy industry for more than a decade with experience in different markets and projects, such as the 4620MW Mundra Thermal Power Plant, of Adani Power Limited, one of the largest energy companies in India.Moreover, through my consulting firm I am currently providing services for one 240MW Hydro Project in India, and 84MW Hydro Project in Pakistan.My short-term goal is to complete my MBA as soon as possible and then leverage my pre-MBA experience as a business development professional to pursue a general management role at a global energy firm, focusing on gaining exposure to business development, marketing, and strategy. This will enrich my further experience and help me to pursue my long-term goal, which is to provide energy infrastructure-related consultancy and establish my own power generation projects.I never doubt there will be many challenges ahead but I am fully confident the BiMBA is helping me better equipped with expertise, knowledge, and network to achieve these goals. I’m looking forward to my rest experience with the program. I believe change and uncertainty keep us alive and on foot, or else life would be too monotonous.
BiMBA at Peking University, established in 1998 by Prof. Justin Yifu Lin (former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank) and his colleagues, is the first Sino-foreign MBA program in Beijing approved by the Chinese government. It is a joint educational venture between the National School of Development (NSD) at Peking University and its global partners.
Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.