My Time At Tsinghua SEM | Yimin LAI：Caught in the Tsinghua Ripple
June 12, 2018
Yimin LAI, a student with the Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA program, Class of 2018. He graduated with a Bachelor Degree from Cornell University in Anthropology and Economics in 2004. In 2013, he embarked on a PhD in Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Upon graduation from Tsinghua MBA, he will return to the States and continue with his PhD. Yimin says he is not a typical MBA student. Coming to Tsinghua from an anthropology PhD program in the US, he found himself juggling two dreams at SEM: business and academia.”
“My experiences have shaped my hopes to one day become an academic who can translate the business world for academia, and the academic world for businesspersons.”——Yimin LAI
Having immigrated to the United States with my parents in middle school, business has long been my passion: from working as a valuation consultant at KPMG, to my time as a strategy analyst for Live Nation Entertainment, to my entrepreneurial efforts to establish a poker-inspired T-shirt company called Suited Apparel. Yet I have also had a lifelong love affair with academia, education, and research. This might be reflective of my childhood upbringing around Wuhan, where my parents worked as professors in my youth. These two passions led me to my current pursuit of a PhD degree at UC Irvine, where I research business culture using both anthropological theories and my own professional experiences.
My experience have shaped my hopes to one day become an academic that can translate the business world for academia, and the academic world for businesspersons. As an anthropologist, I am required by my department to spend one to two years doing fieldwork outside of the United States, to immerse myself in the understanding of a different culture. I decided to do my fieldwork at Tsinghua. Spending these two years as a student here has lent me a unique perspective of Chinese business through hanging out with partners, friends, and mentors. Their views and our interactions can offer me an insider's understanding of Chinese business, which will ultimately help me become a scholar who delves into the nuances of transnational business cultures.
Being a Student:
Another great series of projects during my time at Tsinghua was working with Creditease, a local FinTech company, on several different case competitions and consulting projects. Forming a team called "Hero Bears,”we designed a marketing solution for Creditease's investment management software, called Toumi, which focuses on long-term index investing and portfolio diversification. Working with a group of creative classmates from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, we tailored the marketing mix to be priced and promoted differently to attract the young urban investing crowd that the company wanted.
Life outside of Class: