2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Jessie Zhang, CEIBS

Jessie Zhang

CEIBS

Age: 44

“Stay fool and stay hungry, embrace change and challenge, be influential leader to world.”

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Family Members: Tom Liang (Husband); Angel Liang (Daughter)

Fun fact about yourself: I like to learn Clearnet and read books while I have break time. I also became a trail runner after I participated in Gebi Hiking.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Business and International Economics, Beijing, China; Bachelor of Economics

Where are you currently working? Eaton; China GM for Vehicle Group and eMobility

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Class 2018 CCT Chinese EMBA Ambassador
  • Organizing class donation (medical protection equipment) for medical workers in China Wuhan hospital at beginning of 2020
  • China Business School Gebi Hiking (65KM)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was leading a donation for medical professionals in Wuhan in January 2020. It’s the time when COVID-19 just exploded in Wuhan and entire city was locked down. Medical protection equipment is extremely limited, and doctors and nurses were exposed to Virus when helping patients. When I was reached by one friend, and as CCT member, we immediately called for donation. We successfully located supplies through class networking in 24 hours and managed to deliver the protection products to Wuhan Hospital, which was asking for help the next day. After this, we partnered with Fudan Canada Alumni on another medical protection material donation for another two Wuhan hospitals in early Feb 2020. CEIBS is dedicated to cultivating responsible leaders and corporate citizens through their MBA and EMBA programs. I’m very proud to be able to lead and contribute as part of CEIBS community together with EMBA Class 2018.   

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?As Finance VP of Eaton APAC, I’ve been very successful in my finance professional career path before transitioning to being a business leader. However, I want to challenge myself further, to step out of my safe zone into business leader, lead $400M revenue organization, and embrace new energy transformation together with team.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Xin Rong has an in-depth understanding of human behavior not only from organizational level but also from psychological perspective, which helps experienced leaders like us to think differently and push our organization to next level. As Executive leader in Eaton APAC, Professor Xinrong’s lectures helped me to enhance my leadership competency and be a more influential leader in today’s VUCA era.

There lots of other outstanding professors during my learning journey in CEIBS EMBA program. All of them are very impressive and devoted themselves to shape us to be a better leader.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I took the Executive MBA program to further shape my leadership and gain fresh thoughts and ideas beyond my current networking. No matter whether I was searching on websites or recommendation from leaders who’d been through executive education, CEIBS had the highest rating. Two leaders I admire both graduated from CEIBS and strongly recommended the school. On top of that, CEIBS is a leading business school in China, famous for its high academic standards, strong alumni networking, and grasp the leading edge of business development. CEIBS’s vision to build “China Depth Global Breaddth” is reflection of future core competitiveness: developing a global viewpoint while embracing China’s uniqueness. All of these strengths are exactly what I was  looking for.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Corporate strategy and investment decision making. I’ve been involved in lots of JV and M&A exploration in corporate. I deployed theory and practice from real business cases in classes. This significantly helped me to shorten the potential list, quickly finding the common ground with partners, establishing strategic partnerships, and helping companies mitigate the risks in DD and valuation. Finally, two JV deals were successfully closed in 1-year time frame, which created a record for deal closure in company.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? It is always very challenging to do both work and education at same time, I always leverage the commute time in business trip no matter on flight or on train. Normally, it will give me couple of hours to focus on tasks. One time, I was taking a high-speed train to another city, and working on school homework. Then, the person sitting next to me introduced himself as a CEIBS EMBA alumni as I’m carrying CEIBS file folder. We were so excited to share the experience with the school and exchange the thoughts about automotive industry (as he is also working in automotive industry). It was such wonderful experience, which would not have happened if I did not choose CEIBS EMBA. My husband gave me full support while I was pursuing EMBA program. He took most responsibilities in these 2 years to ensure I could have more time work on my education.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Devote quality time for this program, open your heart and be dedicated to it. Get the best out of it and utilize every moment with your classmates. Also, remember to contribute your best to this community. You will only gain most when giving most.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I’m looking to meet outstanding business leaders, to broaden my knowledge on business strategy and organization leadership in all perspectives. I did meet the wisest businessman in school, both MNC elites and Start-up Entrepreneurs. They are also very different from my expectation when they show their vulnerability and act humble and eager as me to learn from each other. Back to school, it offers executive leaders with the opportunity to look at ourselves in a very safe environment, acknowledge our limitation and imperfections, and then energize us push for continuous improvement, especially on spirit of entrepreneurship.

What was your biggest regret in business school? With unexpected pandemic situation from early 2020, lots of classes moved online and we could only interact on virtual classroom. If I was able to foresee this, I will maximize every moment with classmates, especially the ones who were based outside of China, to exchange the learnings and lessons from real life.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It would be Xavier Zhu, who got A on all classes. He moved his career from pure engineering leader to a product strategy manager during EMBA program. He always set high bar on himself to be the best. His passion on driving best inspired me to set high bar on myself.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Executive MBA programs offer opportunities for classmates to be with the most outstanding business leaders, who are surfing on the leading trend of today’s business world. Learning and interacting with these smartest business people and having intensive in-person exchange of ideas will reveal a totally new world. The real successful and failure stories shared by classmates are most valuable assets. Even more, networking resources is another asset worth millions of bucks, which will not be accessible through other alternatives.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to be a leader of an organization and shape it to be an influential company in world.

What made Jessie Zhang such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Jessie is natural leadership material – a quality that she exhibited from the moment she joined us at CEIBS. Highly ambitious yet thoroughly personable, she absorbed everything that our programme has to offer. She was a great influence on her classmates; she routinely inspired them to first reflect on their innate talents and shortcomings, and then harness the former while overcoming the latter.

At the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, Jessie was instrumental in galvanising CEIBS’ donations activities in the form of procuring masks and other life-saving medical PPE to Wuhan. Since then, she has continued to develop CSR projects within her own organisation designed to deliver tangible assistance to underprivileged children. Her sparkling personality and admirable drive to use her personal business platform for good are what made her such an asset to her Global EMBA class.”

Bala Ramasamy
Professor of Economics
Associate Dean
Director of Global EMBA Programme
CEIBS

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