Alumnus Hongyu Mao

Alumnus of the month: Hongyu Mao

In December you meet Hongyu Mao. After her master's degree from the International Business Strategy program, she got a job at Nordic Business House in Shanghai. There she helps Swedish companies establish themselves in China.

Name: Hongyu Mao
Age: 24
Current work and location: Assistant project manager, Shanghai

What did you study at Linnaeus University and when did you graduate?

Master programme – international business strategy, 2016 

What do you work with?

– I work with a Swedish company, Nordic Business House. It’s a marketing and sales agency aimed for Swedish companies who want to establish themselves in China.

What is most fun with your job and what is the biggest challenge?

– The most fun part is to make friends with coworkers. Since we are a Swedish company, the organisational structure is quite flat, we are not only working together but also become friends. This is an advantage for us, I think, because we can communicate well and work towards the same goals, which can help accelerate the growth of the company.

– Challenge: Sometimes I see this challenge as an opportunity as well – the fact that you can express you opinion freely at work. For example, when I get a task, I work with the instructions but my boss would also like to hear my opinion; is there anything we can improve, or a way in which we can provide more service to our clients. This is quite challenging for me since I grew up in an environment where I didn’t get to question a lot, so I’m used to taking tasks instead of creating. But in this work culture, I get the chance to question – to be creative, or maybe even entrepreneurial! 

How did you establish your career after your studies at Linnaeus University?

– Since I studied an international business programme, I also did an internship in Sweden. I learned that many Swedish companies are “born to be global” because the domestic market is quite limited for them. Having a Chinese background and having studied in Sweden, I’m really interested in building bridges between Sweden and China. Therefore, I’m now working for this Swedish start-up, doing precisely what I wanted to do!

How was your student life at Linnaeus University?

– I would definitely say I had a memorable time at Linnaeus University! The cultural differences showed not only in how we studied, but also through communication. For example, the lectures are more likely to have an open structure; lecturers gave a lot of time for group discussions. Assignments also often involved a lot of group work. I remember this one time, my group mates and I worked on an assignment until 1 am in the library. My study time at Linnaeus University was different from in China, it required more communication and there was also more opportunity to learn from my fellow students. When I did my bachelor, we rarely had group assignments. There were usually exams at the end of the term and most of time my studies were carried out independently.

I really enjoyed getting to know people from different backgrounds and the fact that despite our differences we became friends. That experience has made me more open-minded.

What have you learnt from your studies? Is there anything special you been able to do thanks to your education?

– I appreciate all the kindness and all the help I got, both from my teachers and from my classmates – it really was a wonderful time studying at Linnaeus University. 

Can you give three career advice tips?

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Keep learning
  3. Think long-term