International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) held its second online alumni event targeting our entrepreneurial alumni. The gathering attracted over 30 alumni and staff.
The event started with a welcome speech from Professor Jorg Bley, Dean of IBSS. Professor Bley expressed his warm welcome to the alumni and introduced the remarkable achievements of IBSS in recent years. IBSS became the youngest business school in the world to receive double accreditation from AACSB and EQUIS. He then went on to mention Taicang Campus which is under construction, would strengthen the connection with XJTLU and industry. Professor Bley then noted the continuous increase of XJTLU’s brand and reputation would be beneficial to an alumni’s career development. Professor Bley also emphasized that IBSS always welcomes alumni to return to their alma mater for further study to constantly enhance their skills.
More than 20 alumni shared their valuable experiences from their time at university, the difficulties encountered at the early stage of starting a company, the main factors for running a company successfully, and initiatives of their company during the pandemic outbreak. Mr Mengyuan Jin, 2010 Information Management and Information Systems (IMIS) programme alumni talked about the current situation of his company, “I have to reduce my quotation greatly to maintain the business.” He also mentioned that he was planning to set up a new team to introduce and sell products on a live broadcast platform. Also, Ms Longye Zhang, 2011 IMIS alumni, shared her reason for choosing Finland as her entrepreneurial place. She highlighted, “Finland has a good relationship with China politically, which is the foundation for running a business. Also, there is great financial support for entrepreneurs. ”
Mr Douglas Shearer, Business Engagement Manager of IBSS, introduced the potential collaboration opportunities with IBSS, especially in-company projects and executive education (including customized and open enrollment programmes and summer school). He introduced IBSS in-company consultancy projects that could offer strategic advice from operations, finance, and marketing perspectives for each company. Currently, IBSS is launching two online open enrollment courses to help you keep pursuing a successful career.
Ms Hailu (Helen) Hou, Senior Alumni Relations officer of IBSS, introduced alumni benefits, including a series of free alumni events, lifelong career support and access to the university’s online and on-campus facilities. XJTLU and IBSS will provide continuous support to alumni whenever they need. For example, IBSS alumni can attend a series of Suzhou Executive Academy (SEA) seminars for free; enjoy a 20% discount for next online open enrollment programme and 20% discount on PG tuition fee. Furthermore, we welcome alumni to give back to support the development of the University and the School, such as introducing work placement or employment opportunities to current students, etc.
In the Q&A session, we invited three IBSS faculty, who have rich experience in both academic and industrial areas to give some suggestions for our alumni. To face the difficulties at this time, Dr Bing Wu, Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching, suggested, “Agility is probably more important than ever at the current situation. If you want to be agile, you have to keep learning. At the same time, our IBSS employability support is also extending the support to alumni.” Speaking of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Dr Xiao Wang, lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship, thought that social value was an important part for the sustainability and company’s future, which might be one component of company’s competitive advantage. Meanwhile, Dr Daniel Fuller, lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship, encouraged our entrepreneurial alumni to be resilient and have tenacity during this challenging time. He gave the suggestions on how to expand the market, “To make your products unique, probably you can collaborate with some good business partners and build a sort of entrepreneurial ecosystem or innovation ecosystem to sustain your business and to increase the competitive advantage.”
The IBSS alumni gathering provides a platform for our entrepreneurial alumni to exchange their entrepreneurial experience. They can learn from each other’s success and failure to gain more insights, which can contribute to their own business. Also, it is a valuable opportunity for them to seek potential collaboration among peers. Throughout this alumni event, the connection between alumni themselves has been established and strengthened, and they are looking forward to the next alumni event.