2015 Best EMBA: Shanmei Yu

Shanmei Yu

Shanmei Yu<


ESADE Business School 

Shanmei Yu doesn’t shy away from the tough assignments. As general manager of Keewaymotor Spain, she turned around an operation that lost $600,000 annually to one that tripled in sales over three years and was restored to healthy profitability. To get into ESADE, the China-born professional mastered Spanish in under six months. Known for her smile and ability to break through any barrier, Yu hopes to someday open her own consulting firm. She is an active member of the Barcelona-Shanghai Women Bridge, and the Chinese Team Coordinator of the Global Women-Bridge University

Age: 37

Family: Husband and two daughters 

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Undergraduate School: Dalian University of Foreign Languages

Where are you currently working? General Manager in Keewaymotor Spain, S.L.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started my first job as an air conditioner salesperson.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…very regretful.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to open my own consulting firm to help enterprises do business in different countries. 

Favorite Course: Strategic Management of the Multinational Enterprise 

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I’m a lucky girl who has enjoyed many touching moments of pride. I was proud of being able to communicate in Spanish after six months’ study of the language, which allowed me to jump from level one directly to level three at the Official Language School in Barcelona.

I was proud of obtaining my first Master’s Degree in International Enterprise Management at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, a [degree] that was offered in Spanish. The final thesis I wrote together with three classmates was named “Thesis of the Year,” the top award for the course.

Now I am so proud that I have graduated from ESADE Business School with an EMBA. It’s one of the milestones of my life. The course is over but I believe that my dream is just now taking off.

Professionally, I am very proud that during the severe economic crisis I turned our company around from losing €600,000 annually to having a €100,000 profit in four years, thanks to the effort of our entire team. Sales tripled in three years and even now we are still growing in the market by 30% compared to last year. Internally, I am very proud that I have a highly efficient, solid team that allows us to serve the whole country with a small staff. Externally, I am very proud that our dealer network is getting more and more professional and generating loyalty to the Keeway brand. All these achievements are the result of strategy-making, teamwork, leadership and hard work.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my family. Without their understanding, support and encouragement, I would never have achieved what I have today.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? First of all, as a general manager, I wanted to improve my management ability by taking an advanced management course. An MBA program could help me to amplify my vision of the management world and teach me more sophisticated methods for daily management and strategy-making. ESADE is one of the best business schools in the world. ESADE’s EMBA not only taught me theories and gave me management know-how, but also exposed us to various approaches to the real business world by inviting successful executives to share their experiences with us.

What did you enjoy most about the executive MBA program? The most enjoyable thing about the executive MBA program is that you have the chance to meet so many talented people from different industries and you can learn so much from them. All of our discussions, interactions and presentations enriched our thoughts.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? For me, the most memorable moment of business school was getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning to read cases and do homework because that was the only time when I didn’t have to think of my job and take care of my little girls, so that I could concentrate and enjoy the case studies.

Fun fact: about yourself: Sometimes, I would like to be a comic actress. It’s so good to see people laugh because of my actions.

Favorite book: The Bible

Favorite movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Favorite television show: I Am a Singer

Favorite vacation spot: Venice

What are your hobbies? Traveling, reading and watching movies

What made Shanmei such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015 for your executive MBA program?  

“We have selected Shanmei Yu, a 2015 graduate of the EMBA programme at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. Shanmei is Chinese and has 12 years of professional experience in countries such as China, Ireland, Italy and Spain. She has worked in the automotive industry for the past seven years and has held the post of general manager for the past three years. We chose Shanmei because we believe that she could be an inspirational example to other people.

Having opted to enroll in ESADE’s Spanish-language EMBA despite the fact that we also offer the course in English, she has overcome many cultural and linguistic barriers. She has remained in an executive post while pursuing the EMBA and has nonetheless achieved excellent academic results. She is also a mother of two young daughters and works as a Chinese teacher and translator. In addition to all this, she still finds the time to share her experiences with potential ESADE students, and her constant smile never falters. We know that it has not been easy for her to combine these various facets. Shanmei herself describes her 16 months in the EMBA programme as a difficult journey that has nonetheless helped her to grow. We are confident that Shanmei will achieve whatever goals she sets for herself in the future.”

– Beatriz Soler Bigas, Ph.D., Director, Executive MBA Program

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