Full-time MBA Class 2015
Last job title: Medical representative at GlaxoSmithKline
Previous degree: BSc in Pharmacy at Taipei Medical University
Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“I wanted to study in Europe and do a one-year programme. RSM has a good MBA programme and is located in a Western European port so it’s easy to go to headquarters of multinational companies. I also wanted to be in a place where people speak English. At an info session in Taipei, an alumnus told me about the diversity at RSM and when people have so many different global experiences to share, you can learn a lot from peers. I believe this is the value of studying at RSM.”
What has been the most challenging assignment or activity?
“My background is pharmacy and I only had a little business knowledge before I came here. For example, I study the text books a lot to learn basic accounting knowledge. Accounting is the common language for business, but it was quite hard at the beginning and I had to learn it in quite a short time. It’s tough, but I survived. You really have to know how to apply such accounting knowledge in a business situation to see the big picture and communicate with other people.”
How has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?
“I’m learning about my interpersonal skills and my own profile. I’m a conceptual person. I now understand why I think the way I do and act the way I do. PLD has prompted me to improve both my conceptual and structural skills. During my peer review I discovered that I’m not comfortable at direct communication, but I realise that if I want to be successful, I must improve my communication skills.”
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Taiwanese people tend to listen to other people’s opinions before delivering your own ideas. The speed of the programme demands that you express your ideas quicker. American and Indian students share their thoughts and what they want to say directly – they’re not afraid to say something wrong or start a discussion. Communication is the key. You have to learn how to act with people from other cultures. In my culture, things often seem like a conflict, for others it’s just a discussion.”
Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“Before coming here, the director of the Taipei office shared lots of information about RSM and what I could expect from the programme. With everyone coming from a different place, nobody is a minority. I live with other MBA students and am constantly experiencing new things, for instance eating Indian curry with my hands and talking to my Australian flatmate about economics, politics and daily life in our countries. I’m learning a lot of lessons about dealing with different cultures. I’m looking forward to the Private Equity competition in November, as I’m on the organising team. Also, we went on a pub crawl in Rotterdam, which was nice because we don’t really have that culture in Taiwan.”
What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?
“In my last job, I found I needed more business skills and knowledge to further my career. I was a sales representative and only saw a part of the marketing activities and financial issues. The MBA is teaching me the whole picture of business. I’m learning what business needs to survive.”
What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience? Is there something you wished you knew before coming to RSM?
“Because it’s a one-year programme, you don’t have a lot of time to explore all the subjects. You have to make decisions before coming, although you can modify your targets during the programme. You have to open your mind about why you’re here. When attending the company presentations you learn about what’s going on in different companies. There might be more opportunities out there than you considered previously.”
How do you feel about living in Rotterdam/the Netherlands?
“I like Rotterdam, except for the weather. It's a very convenient city with good public transportation, people speak English, and not as crowded as Taipei.”
After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“I’d like to stay in Europe because it’s one of the frontrunners in the health industry and the delivery of healthcare products to Taiwan starts in Europe. With my medical knowledge and new solid business knowledge I want to find a job related to strategy and business development in the healthcare industry.”