Anna Zhang was hungry for change in her career. She’d worked in retail business for 12 years as a private label product manager in China, but wanted something new.
Convinced it was the perfect tool to reinvent her career, she packed her bags and joined the full-time International MBA program at France’s EMLYON Business School.
Anna was seeking fresh insights into business that she felt had been lacking in her previous role. With a preference to go to Europe over the US, she chose EMLYON for its high ranking, diverse cohort and entrepreneurial focus and never looked back.
“I had a wonderful class with I think over 14 different nationalities,” she says.
For Anna, the EMLYON MBA’s diversity was key—the selection process for the EMLYON International MBA ensures that each year’s cohort is purposely diverse in terms of nationalities and professional backgrounds.
This was instrumental in helping Anna develop a more global mindset and gain exposure to how people from other cultures think.
“Working and studying at EMLYON Business School, I learned how to work with people with different backgrounds,” she explains. “People think differently depending on their upbringing, and I have learned to appreciate that.
“When I came home to China, I looked at things differently—more objectively—which is a strength.”
Initially planning to open her own coffee shop post-MBA, Anna also gained a diploma in French pastry during her time in France. After gaining entrepreneurial insights and studying the market however, she decided that this wasn’t the right career path for her.
Instead, her MBA would be instrumental for her next career step as Anna was headhunted for a role in China with French multinational Carrefour—one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world.
“Big companies always need to make sure they have the right talent. When they are looking for candidates to choose from, I think the MBA is a big criteria for them,” Anna explains.
“In this sense, the EMLYON MBA helped me be recognized by Carrefour. They recognized the quality of the degree and my strengths as a candidate.”
After working in three different departments as part of her preparation for a management role, Anna’s now a supply chain director at Carrefour in China. She’s still applying her MBA learnings in her day-to-day work.
“EMLYON taught me how to deal with people with different thoughts, how to deal with conflict, how to structure things, how to work professionally and how to deal with pressure and stress,” she says. “It gives you all the management skills you’ll need.”
What advice does Anna have for Asian students considering an MBA at EMLYON Business School?
“You won’t regret it,” she says. “I had no problem at all mixing into French life. The MBA was a lovely experience and a privilege to be part of.”
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