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Taking the leap

Published on Friday, 26 Oct 2012
Yang Yubin takes a break while working on a corporate consultation project involving the Oklahoma State University (above) and Sun Yat-sen (SYS) University Business School in Guangzhou.
Photo: SYS University

The Student

Yang Yubin started his career as an IT consultant at Oracle ERP. It proved tough at first as his major was business management, which was not closely related to IT systems or finance.

But due to his hard work, his ability to learn quickly, his communication skills and his good sense of logic, he performed well, with clients including two of the Big Four – Deloitte Consulting and KPMG Advisory (China).

Yang is now a manager at KPMG, responsible for bidding for and delivering financial and IT advisory jobs. “It’s quite a challenge to provide high-standard advisory services to clients across different industries, but I enjoy it very much,” he says.

A part-time MBA student at the Business School at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Yang expects to graduate in 2013.

What prompted you to pursue an MBA?
According to my career-development plan, I was planning to switch from being an IT consultant to a business management consultant in 2010, which would not have been an easy change. That’s why I decided to enrol on an MBA course, even though at the time I was not quite sure whether it was the right decision.

Other than obtaining professional knowledge and gaining a consulting capability, I also wanted to achieve a master’s certification, which might be essential if I grew tired of being a consultant and wanted to work for a state-owned company. Also, building a business network was another reason for wanting to pursue an MBA.

Why did you choose your current school?
The Business School at Sun Yat-sen University offers one of the top five MBAs in China and the best MBA in southern China. Its MBA programme emphasises practical application. Students learn by the case-study method and work on a real company consulting project, which is similar to my consulting job.

Are you funding your own studies or is your company subsidising the costs?
I am funding myself.

How do you balance the demands of your job and your studies?
I keep in touch with my boss to try to persuade him to let me work on jobs which don’t require travelling too often. Though it does make me very tired taking classes at the weekend after five days of working hard, it’s still acceptable if I don’t have to travel.

What are the major challenges of your MBA studies?
The great challenge is balancing my job, studies and family life, which includes my wife and pretty little daughter.

What kind of support are you getting from family and colleagues?
I’ve got strong support from my wife and my boss, and I really appreciate it. Without them, it would be impossible for me to finish the course, let alone be an exchange student at Cologne University in Germany from October 2012 to January 2013.

How will your MBA help your career or personal life?
I have already gained a lot from my studies, especially the strategic and financial management knowledge and methodology which has enabled me to provide more and better-quality consulting services. With the help of my MBA studies, I gave an extraordinary performance at KPMG, resulting in being nominated to be fast-tracked for promotion to senior manager.

How do you see yourself immediately after graduation? How about three to five years down the road?
According to my career plan, I should continue to work at a consulting firm for three more years. If I can be promoted to partner in five years, I would like to stay in the consulting industry. If not, I may work for another telecommunications or financial-industry company as a senior manager to get deeper understanding of a certain company and industry.

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