En route to becoming a better global citizen

4 minute read
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A Journey from China to the world

Born into the cultural richness of Shanghai, China, I was groomed in the traditional arts expected of a girl in my society. Yet, the constraints of such an upbringing only fueled my desire for a life beyond preordained paths. This quest for freedom and a broader perspective propelled me from China to an expansive journey across Australia, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, shaping me into a fervent advocate for global citizenship and intercultural understanding. 

Joining the Oxford MBA, which celebrates a rich diversity of over 60 nationalities, further expanded my global perspective. This experience introduced me to an array of diverse viewpoints, nurturing my dedication to fostering international understanding and global connection.

Was short-sighted, lived places, know better

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The initial leap took place at 14 when I ventured to Australia. That half-year stay marked the beginning of an unending journey into diverse cultures and perspectives. Each destination thereafter – Russia with its profound literary heritage and genuine warmth found in the camaraderie over vodka shots when I was 19; the United States, where I learned the value of persisting dialogues in the face of insoluble problems where it shaped and defined my mid and late 20s; and the United Kingdom, specifically, Oxford, which offered unmatched intellectual stimulation and a mosaic of global narratives at Oxford in my early 30s– contributed to my complex tapestry of global experiences.

At Oxford, interactions with my MBA cohort and over formal dinners at more than 30 colleges allowed me to delve into a broad range of global issues. From the latest developments in cancer treatment using blood tests to feminist movements in Brazil, my understanding and curiosity grew. My travels during MBA, spanning over 20 countries, rekindled my Syriac language skills and took me from West Europe, Scandinavia, the Balkans, the Middle East, to the North, South, and Eastern Africa.

Through these global experiences, I grasped the critical importance of representation. It became imperative for me to embody and express my Chinese heritage unapologetically on the global stage. Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Chi Pao and bringing a Chinese voice to the classroom became acts of cultural pride and personal integrity.

At Oxford, I was not just a student; I was a part of a vibrant melting pot of ideas and ambitions. The intense intellectual engagements, the representation of diverse cultures, and the strength found in community networks – be they based on gender, ethnicity, or professional interests – underscored the power of collective identity and support. It was here that I also engaged deeply with the front trends of AI, putting in real work for developing an Gen-AI powered storytelling app and pitching it in Singapore during the INSEAD Product Games final.

Professionally, my path has been anything but linear, touching on sectors as varied as banking, translation, education, government, and technology. My tenure with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) spanned multiple continents and sectors, encompassing initiatives from digital capacity building within the bank to facilitating digital finance for Ukrainian refugees, promoting storytelling in Africa's creative industries to attract investment, and pioneering educational initiatives in Latin America. These rich experiences have not only expanded my worldview but also reinforced my dedication to leveraging my abilities for a positive global impact.

The journey through my MBA marked a pivotal period of growth and self-reflection. Initially driven by a voracious appetite to learn and a fear of missing out, I soon transitioned towards seeking more profound connections and meaningful engagements. This reflective journey allowed me to refine my understanding of my identity, crystallize my goals, and articulate the impact I aim to achieve in the world.

Something bigger than the sum of us

Today, I stand at a crossroads, my next steps yet undefined but guided by a clear mission to continue as a global citizen. Each day is a unique experience, a piece added to the ever-complex puzzle of my understanding of the world.

Through it all, my core remains steadfast – a deep love and commitment to represent China with integrity on the global stage, and a curious and open mind to embrace any global perspectives. My professional story is far from complete, but the journey thus far has taught me that with adaptability, a desire to learn, and a commitment to dialogue, I can be a part of creating a more connected and understanding world.

Oxford MBA