A Chinese Medical Student’s Global Business Learning Journey

Written by Srividya Rajagopal, Master of Global Business (MGB) student. SP Jain School of Global Management – Class of 2017.


I realise that the knowledge gained in school is not always what we use in the real world. It’s the experience and practical situations that make us ready for the outside world.

Lin Jiafan (known as Sapphire to her friends), a Chinese national from China, is currently pursuing her second semester of Master in Global Business (MGB) at SP Jain School of Global Management. She shares her learning, experiences and key takeaways from the global exposure she thoroughly enjoys during the program.

Coming from a family of doctors and a medical graduate herself, she seeks the best of both worlds — Science and Business.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview with the aspiring young lady.

Why did you choose SP Jain School of Global Management?

SP Jain was always my first choice to pursue my Master’s program in Business because of its global presence and quality education. With the international (Australian) degree that I receive from this school, I know I will have opportunities to join well reputed companies back home as well as global companies overseas.

I love the concept of travelling and studying. The tri-city learning concept will definitely broaden my horizons and give me a deeper and wider perspective into different global cultures. This is something that I always wanted to experience. I am excited about the amazing adventures that I am going to experience during my MGB (Master of Global Business) program.

Exploring the underground train system in Singapore
Exploring the underground train system in Singapore

What were you doing before SP Jain?

I had to complete five years of medical studies back home. However, over the course of the studies I realised that the medical sector wasn’t my cup of tea.

It was during my internship in the hospital that I realised where my true interest lies. As a jovial, outgoing and creative person, I felt like I was a misfit in the hospital environment. So, I switched my track and began interning at an E-commerce company. My interest in this emerging market grew due to the challenging work I used to do in one of the largest plastic surgery company in China.

Within the four walls of a hospital, I could help only a few patients – but being an employee in an E-commerce company, I would be able to serve millions of users from almost all cities in China and internationally. This would give me an opportunity to be a part of the global business network which will contribute to my growth.

How do you think joining SP Jain would help in your career pathway?

Working in China, I was within my comfort zone. I started getting complacent and accustomed to my work environment. Also, I believe there is always an unseen barrier – “The Glass Ceiling” in the corporate world. That was one of the reason that motivated me and pushed me further to break away from my comfort zone and pursue my Master of Global Business in SP Jain School of Global Management. I believe SP Jain will provide me with the opportunity to join an international business position and help me hone my skills required for the same. I also hope to improve my English vocabulary as I come from a country where English is not our native language.

Mini golf session organised by the Global learning Team
Mini golf session organised by the Global learning Team

How would it be different doing a Master’s degree in China versus in SP Jain?

It takes three years to complete a Master’s degree in China. The knowledge gained in school is not always what we use in the real world. It’s the experience and practical situations that make us ready for the outside world and I believe with the global exposure, I’m learning just that. The faculty in China are mostly full time professors and academicians. So, there is often a gap between teachings of textbook to application in real life. The wide expertise of the faculties in their respective fields along with industry experience sets them apart from the faculty in Chinese universities.

How was your experience when attempting your first semester in Singapore?

One of the major differences that I found between Singapore and China was the local language. Though most the population in Singapore are Chinese, their local accent is slightly different and is a very hard to understand in the beginning. The work style in Singapore is very structured and people are smart workers, whereas in China, people are more hard working.

In terms of food, I am a strong believer of the phrase “You are what you eat”. I love to try new food from different cuisines because that’s what gives me a true global experience. The Singaporean culture is very much like Chinese culture in food. I truly enjoyed the local Nasi goreng and Indian curries!

My peers have been the ones to keep pushing my forward out of my comfort zone. They have made me feel very welcomed into their culture. I have celebrated many Indian festivals like Republic day and Holi with my Indian counterparts. Conflicts are a part of a student’s life and most of my classmates are very honest with their opinions which I like. We always reconcile and “agree to disagree” to strike harmony. I know I’m not going to be hated for my distinctive ideas!

Like I had already mentioned about the quality of the faculty, it can be considered as one of SP Jain’s assets. They value customer satisfaction and it is evident when we give feedback for every course. The student’s voice is always heard and if the need arises they are always ready to help. I was very poor in my English vocabulary when I got here but with the help of my classmates, professors, P2E and PRP mentors and Psychology mentor I believe I have improved a lot.

To be honest, I appreciate the global learning faculty. Normally, there are 12–15 courses in an MBA program but we are doing 43 within a year having to shift between 3 countries! You can imagine the amount of stress we’d constantly be under. It’s the global learning activities like Singapore city tour, dinner parties, surfing that has managed to let out some steam. The dreaded part of organising and arranging is all taken care by the university and all we have to do is show up and enjoy! I have never heard of any other school serve their students like SP Jain!

Visit to the Singapore Parliament (Photo credits — Ji Hwan Park)
Visit to the Singapore Parliament (Photo credits — Ji Hwan Park)

How is experience in Sydney for you so far?

I feel like it is still quite like my hometown. I love this country and the vast territory and abundant resources is what makes this country beautiful. Everyone here is free from body to soul. I like the natural beauty this country flaunts. It’s surprising to see the night sky with stars here because in most of the other developing countries it’s hard to see the sky due to the pollution.

Any words of wisdom to share with your Chinese friends about SP Jain?

Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. I choose to become the person I want to be, and you?
I hope to see more fellow Chinese students as part of SP Jain and help bolstering and shaping their career and providing them a projectile for their future goals!

Special thanks to Lin Jiafan, Master of Global business Jan 2017 batch

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