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Volume 4, 2016

By David Yu

The Beyoncé song “Run the World (Girls)” comes to mind when looking at the makeup of this year’s CEIBS MBA Class of 2018. There is a record-breaking number of female students, 44.5% of the cohort. They include a pageant contestant turned entrepreneur, marketing manager for a multinational, project leader in a tech start-up, and a global citizen now helping with her family business. Their diversity of life experiences has led them to CEIBS, where they have a shared purpose – to upgrade their leadership knowledge and skills, as females.

As MBA student Jasmine Liu puts it, “Women have a natural advantage when it comes to empathy, which is particularly important on a team dominated by men. Female leaders are better at paying attention to and understanding team members’ various demands, and assign work and tackle interpersonal relationships in a more scientific way, which optimises team communications and work efficiency.” That is how she explains the core competitiveness of a female leader compared to male counterparts.

Her peer Swati Mishra agrees, saying, “A true leader must not be indifferent – you should know and understand what makes your team members happy and unhappy.” Mishra has had rich experience at Tata Consultancy Services in project management, now she is the only female member of a business intelligence start-up in India – it is this career transition that has motivated her to enrol in the CEIBS MBA. “I have to learn how to switch from a process-oriented, task-assigned corporate leadership role to leading within a dynamic start-up venture with few processes and constantly changing responsibilities,” says Mishra. “Being leader in a start-up, I wear different hats at work every day – being a sales person, technical expert, project leader and client relationship manager. Since there are no assigned roles, leadership demands a proactive and action-driven approach which involves taking bold initiatives and risks. This is what I wish to learn here at CEIBS.”

German national Laura Loof also expects her CEIBS journey will empower her as a leader. “I want to develop cross-cultural leadership skills here, because in a constantly changing global environment, leaders must be able to adopt both a global and local perspective,” she says. “I think the CEIBS MBA Programme, with its ‘China depth, Global breadth’ perspective and interactions between the members of its diverse international student body, is a great opportunity to enhance these skills.”

In this section of the Cover Story, read on for the fascinating stories of:

Jasmine Liu, a “Miss Chinese” pageant contestant who has discovered how to lead during her corporate PR career and now has a deeper understanding of the leadership role as an entrepreneur;
Swati Mishra, a female leader who comes from the tech sector that has long been dominated by males;
Zhong Qiu, a global citizen who has finally chosen to help with her family business back in China; and
Laura Loof, one of the youngest in a Marketing & Communications team at Covestro, who looks forward to learning more about cross-cultural leadership in Shanghai.