Becoming a Leader of Tomorrow: My Journey inside the Great Wall

I have always wondered about the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction”, and then I began to understand the meaning of it. When I applied for the two-week summer course entitled “Financial Leaders of Tomorrow”, it seemed a far-fetched reach for me especially when I saw the profile of the elite students from all over the world. Tsinghua University is one of the best schools in the world and is known as the MIT of Asia. According to the 2019 World University Ranking by Times Higher Education, Tsinghua University ranked 22nd in the world and 14th in reputation. The current Chinese president and many other former presidents graduated from this leading university. So, when I saw the email from Tsinghua University announcing not only that I am accepted into the program but also that I am granted with a scholarship, I was beside myself. I basically applied for this program because of the cases we did in our global strategy classes such as Tencent and Alibaba. I wanted to understand how these companies conquered the world.

The two-week program offered comprehensive financial lectures to understand China’s economy, financial markets, and its impact to the country’s culture and society. The lectures were very interactive and gave us opportunities to exchange insights with students from diverse background (from East to West). To have a better understanding, we were taken to the Financial district, and there, we met some of the policy makers who conducted a very detailed presentation for us. We were also taken to a Fintech company listed in both Shanghai and New York Stock Exchange, and one of its directors gave us an overview on how the company is making a difference in the Chinese Fintech sector. Apart from the academic tours, there were also cultural excursions like the visit to The Great Wall of China which was one of the best highlights of the summer program.

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This cross-cultural experiential learning was one of the best experiences I had, and I will always be thankful to AIM for bringing these types of opportunities to students. Through these kinds of unexpected yet fortunate twists and turns of my MBA journey, I realized that unlike fiction, which is limited by the bounds of familiarity, reality can be more surprising and extraordinary. We just have to be courageous in taking chances and assertive in making choices. And particular to this China visit, not only I learned expansively about the Chinese market but also, I made some friends along the process.

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Written by Tahmina Aktar, a student of Masters in Business Administration in Asian Institute of Management. She is from Bangladesh.

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