11 September 2017

Where will postgraduate study in international business lead you?

Master of International Business graduate Jiaqi Qin shares his journey to undertaking postgraduate study, where he is now and why he chose to study international business at the University of Sydney Business School.

Jiaqi Qin
Master of International Business

Where has your postgraduate study led you?

I am currently working as an analyst and sales manager trainee in a trading company. The company is a subsidiary of JD-link Co., a listed international logistic company in China.

My first role is as a business analyst – i.e. doing research on the business environment, trading policies and market situation of other countries to form references for the decision maker. The company is planning to do investment in the ASEAN region as a rising number of Chinese firms, especially those of labor-intensive industries, are moving to south-east Asia. The investment echoes the Chinese government’s Belt and Road strategy. At this stage, we are focusing on the market opportunities for building materials (steel, cement etc.), home furnishing, agribusiness, and consulting service in Vietnam.

My second role is as a sales manager trainee. The company is trying to do some trading business based on its logistic infrastructures. It has started with import milk from Australia, home care products, wine and other FMCG. Its business model is not mature, so I am focusing on its model design and sales channel development.

Why did you choose to study international business at the University of Sydney?

China is the biggest exporter in the world. ‘Made in China’ has become one of the most well-known phrase of Chinese goods found around almost all the corner shops in the world. And who made it happen? Merchandisers, traders, business man, those who engaged in international business. Ever since I travelled abroad in 2010 (to Australia) and saw how exporting business was booming, I told myself I want to be part of that. To me, getting the products we have to another country is cool, and the profit is very attractive. Since then, I worked hard to forge all the skills I thought a businessman should have: language ability, business knowledge.

After my graduation, I had an opportunity to work in a furniture manufacturing company as a sales assistant in the international marketing department. That was the first time I got involved in real life export business: meeting distributors, supervising the packaging process, answering enquiries, making quotations... I could be a good export agent with all these practices, but will that be enough? I found myself with a lack of a comprehensive sense of international business: we use distributors but why? Why do they matter? We use Certificates of Origin to enjoy the concessions under the Most Favored Nation policy but how exactly does it work? How will it affect the business in the future? I spent a great amount of time doing daily routines, which made me a good part of the department. However, how about leading the department? Can I do that? Would I have a mindset to form a business strategy? To explore business opportunities in a brand new country? I couldn’t answer those questions. And I don’t think in a short time my job could offer me these answers.

Then I started my research on a list of degrees from all different countries. Luckily I found the Master of International Business (MIB) at Sydney Uni. The introduction of MIB was like the first eye contact of my beloved girlfriend and I still remember that I told myself that day: I think I find the one.

What was most valuable about your learning experiences at the University?

Methodologies. Studying at USYD was very different and challenging work for me as I have never studied in a Western university before. The differences almost “got me”. The mechanism encouraged me to explore everything basically on my own. I was joking: “what on earth had I paid my tuition for since I have to do all of it by myself?” Nevertheless, this was the most valuable thing USYD offered me: methodologies – i.e. methods to approach and solve problems. I appreciate it so much after I started working. A business degree won’t really give you a lot of practical skills like an engineer degree, but it gives you methodologies you can use to learn, to talk, and to think. Technologies evolve while methodologies last. The methodologies I learnt will benefit me for the rest of my life.

How has the Master of International Business prepared you for future opportunities and is helping you to achieve your career goals?

The Master of International Business gives me a more comprehensive understanding of international business. With all the research and analytical skills I acquired during the degree, I can explore industries and markets in an efficient way. Industries are different, but the ways to run businesses are pretty similar. I found such ability opens a wide range of opportunities for me. Besides, MIB installed in me a good sense of teamwork, professional mindset, business manners, multicultural communication, which would be critical in an international business career.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying international business at the University of Sydney and embarking on an international business career?

There were people asking me what exactly have I learnt from MIB? I told them if you are looking for a specific skill, don’t even bother to do MIB. MIB is a journey to show you what you can do. It will give you a sense of how to be a business consultant, an export manager, a government foreign affair officer, or a director of an international team. It is a rehearsal of your professional life, so you can choose what to do in the future. What you will have is the learning experience with all the resources, projects, cases, teamwork, multicultural environment provided by MIB. These works are exactly what you are going to face in your international business career. Try to make the most of them so you will have a wider horizon and more options in the future.

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