Name: Jieqiong (Faith) Xu
Year of Graduation: 2018
Post-MBA Country of Residence: United Kingdom
Post-MBA Employer: Amazon
Hi Faith, can you please tell us about your background? What motivated your pursuit of an MBA, and what led you to choose IESE?
Before embarking on my MBA journey, I served as a marketing manager for a Munich-based start-up specializing in facilitating market entry into China. Over my four-year tenure, I witnessed the remarkable transformation of this initially modest, 20-employee venture into a publicly listed unicorn with over 300 employees. My professional evolution spanned from content marketing to leading a small team instrumental in shaping the company’s strategic direction. Despite this growth, I found myself at a career crossroads, realizing that my market expertise in assisting German companies in China was somewhat limiting the breadth of skillsets and scope of experience that I can achieve.
The decision to pursue an MBA was, for me, a profound introspective exploration, prompting the question, “What else can I achieve?”
My goal was to broaden my horizons, accumulate international experiences, and delve into the essence of business. IESE stood out due to its case study approach, emphasis on general management, and the genuinely diverse student body, spanning nationality, gender, religion, professional background, social class and more. The fusion of these factors in the classroom, exemplified by peers sharing experiences from, for example, as a former French second-division goalkeeper, a cruise ship captain, and a cyber security expert from the Ministry of Defence, elevated my MBA learnings beyond textbook knowledge. IESE’s unique value lies in this dynamic blend of life experiences and case study methodology.
What school activities were you involved in and how did this impact your job search? How did the Career Development Center contribute to your journey?
In my second year at IESE, I assumed leadership roles in seven student clubs, including Technology, Women in Business, Ambassador, Social Actions, Outdoor Activities, TED x IESE, and Spring Games (which is not common!). This commitment was twofold – an expression of gratitude to the IESE community and an endeavor to develop capabilities beyond my comfort zone. Skills acquired – such as cold calling companies to host IESE London Tech-trek, negotiating sponsorships for Spring Games, and coaching TED Talk speakers – though not directly linked to my job search, were integral to my self-realization journey, affirming my capacity to achieve more.
Regarding my job search, the Career Development Center’s systematic approach, from CV review to interview preparation, equipped me with essential skills for navigating the job market. Company visits and presentations addressed knowledge gaps and enhanced my understanding of cultural fit. This facilitated my early identification of Amazon as my post-MBA target employer, leading to a well-prepared journey from mastering the Leadership Principle-based behavior interviews to a successful summer internship and eventually a full-time offer.
Reflecting on your time at IESE, could you share some of your cherished memories?
Academically, even five years post-graduation, specific cases from the Operations class remain etched in my memory. This class transcended economic scale and lead time calculations, providing a transformative lesson in treating people as more than mere cogs in a machine. As my career progressed into leadership and people management, this lesson became a guiding principle, emphasizing the importance of achieving self-fulfillment for my team alongside meeting work deliverables.
On a personal note, organizing the Women in Business annual event marked a significant memory. The theme, “the Power of Balance,” prompted discussions among senior female leaders on contemporary professional challenges. This experience allowed me to reflect on my personal definition of balance, constituting a milestone in my MBA soul-searching journey.
Finally, how do you think your MBA has positively impacted your career?
Without reservation, my MBA at IESE was transformative and life-changing. Firstly, it provided me with self-discovery and confidence, enabling a seamless transition from a start-up environment to a multi-trillion-dollar corporate landscape. Whenever plagued by self-doubt or imposter syndrome, I would recall my MBA days as a testament to my capabilities. Secondly, it instilled in me the value of “listening.” The case study methodology and diverse perspectives of my intelligent peers cultivated a habit of seeking alternative viewpoints in the workplace. Thirdly, intensive training in hundreds of case readings significantly enhanced my ability to rapidly research, learn, and grasp key inputs – a skill highly valued in a document-intensive company like Amazon. At the end, I would like to leave you with a quote from the closing remarks in the Strategy class, which to date still influences my view towards life:
“The grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”
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