Warwick Business School China Alumni Association
Ian Oades has lived in China since 1992 and did his MBA at Warwick Business School in 2002 with a foreign exchange at CEIBS, Shanghai.
Ian Oades is the Vice President of Finance and Head of Investor Relations at Joyou AG, based in China. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has lived in China for 20 years. Ian holds an MBA from Warwick Business School (UK) and graduated in 2002. During his MBA he did an exchange semester at CEIBS in Shanghai.
Today he works closely with the Chinese Law Society, appearing often as a guest speaker, and is considered an expert on mergers and acquisitions law.
Ian is also the author of a book published by CITIC Financial Publishing: IPO: A Guide for Chinese Companies Seeking International Capital.
With a strong presence on LinkedIn and Weibo (the Chinese answer to Twitter), Warwick Business School has a seriously impressive and accessible alumni network. One chapter, growing particularly fast, with approximately 10,000 alumni from Warwick Business School, is the Chinese Alumni Association.
What is the name of your club? What does it do?
The Warwick China Alumni Network – The aim is to provide networking opportunities between Warwick alumni and to build a stronger network across China. The idea is to build a platform that allows the alumni to meet each other.
What are the Association’s big initiatives this year?
We do events in Shanghai and Beijing every three months, we try to keep the events varied and interesting e.g. a bar mix-up at a 5* hotel bar in the cocktail lounge or something more formal with alumni guest speakers.
We recently set up a networking event between the alumni of different business schools – an inter-university event. We hosted one event in Beijing jointly with UK business schools such as Oxford SAID.
One of our events was focused on creativity in business and we had a guest speaker who discussed an interesting business model giving an example of how to use creativity in corporate culture.
We also engage with alumni and ambassadors from all around the world, they come and do honorary speeches for us! Usually our largest turnout events are when the academics and professors from Warwick come over to speak in China!
The numbers at these events can vary massively from between 30 and 300 people, but an average event would get a turnout of about 50 alumni. At the Inter-University alumni mixer event we had 350 people, 90 of those were ‘Warwick-ers’.
How many members do you have?
Warwick has 10,000 alumni currently in China…our Linkedin page has about 1,000 members & our Weibo has 1,000 members too!
We organise our events via an alumni mailing list, and we have multiple representatives across China who help organise the events in different cities. There’s about 10 of us in the core group organising the events, splitting into smaller groups to arrange each event.
Why and when (at what stage) would someone join the club?
Members can join while they’re currently studying or after they graduate. We have had people who were on exchange at a Chinese university during their MBA come along to do some networking at our events.
What is the biggest perk of running the club for you personally?
I get to meet a lot of interesting people and grow my personal network. I have made some very good friends through the Association.
How did the China Alumni Association begin?
I set up the China Alumni Association in 2009 – I approached the b-school with my idea to create a platform for connecting alumni in China. There was nothing-official going on in China and everyone was always waiting for something to happen.
What is or has been the biggest challenge for your club so far?
Spreading it outside Shanghai and Beijing. Generally the more educated people live in the big human populaces in China and so that’s where most of our events are concentrated, but there are really vibrant communities living in smaller cities. Eventually it will happen as China grows and the world spreads out more.
What are the most interesting trends you’re seeing in China today? Is there a particular industry that is growing?
Business education is flourishing here – there seem to be business schools popping up everywhere but the market is very saturated. People in China see more value in the MBA than they do in Europe and it is becoming a requirement to have an MBA in many career paths, sort of like a hygiene factor. 10 years ago an MBA was a ticket to a job, now it just keeps you in the running.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with the global b-school community?
Join the Linkedin or Weibo group and get involved! It’s easy to get hold of us, you can find us on the Warwick website and other universities are welcome to join and contribute!
Worth checking out…
If you liked this story you may also like this interview with Warwick Business School Alumni Association – Technology Professional Network and other stories on the MBA club section on BusinessBecause.
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