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Alumni Story | Anita Wang: The Insider Practices of Storytelling

Anita WANG SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA 2019 Global Operations and Technology Communications Head for GC & APAC Workplaces at Nike

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the book Sapiens, once said that homo sapiens was a storytelling animal whose society stopped functioning without stories. In the world of business, good storytelling not only inspires internal team members, but also tugs at the heartstrings of investors and clients. As a veteran in the communications field, Anita WANG believes in the power of stories. Over the years, she has been exploring the universal rules of good storytelling while gaining practical experience in different fields, such as investment banking, luxury industry and sports brands. She also enrolled herself in an MBA programme and kept a self-learning habit to further develop herself.

Feel the Power of Storytelling

When we're talking about storytelling, what exactly are we talking about? In Anita's view, whether it is corporate culture, product marketing or employer branding, the fundamental principle of storytelling has three core points: content, channel, and audience, that is, what to tell, how to tell it, and to whom.


Anita began her communications career at Morgan Stanley. Less than a year after joining the company, Anita moved from an administrative position to a communications position, in charge of internal communications in China. Working for the first time in the field of communications, she quickly got on and became increasingly more interested in this profession. Her responsibilities covered many aspects, for example, building employer brand narratives, producing diverse communications materials, liaising with media platforms, and customizing campaigns for the management team, employees, and external audiences, etc. During this period, Anita successfully planned and organized TEDx events from scratch, bringing together three industry big names from Morgan Stanley, Xiaomi and Tencent. The events generated intense discussions on finance and technology in the Internet field and media in China, increasing awareness of the investment and leadership of investment banks in the field of financial technology. And this is where Anita got first-hand experience about the "power of stories". In other words, she began to see the benefits of a good storytelling to brand image, product marketing and talent attraction.


In 2018, Anita joined Cartier and took charge of its internal communications in China. In Cartier, a consumer-side luxury jewelry brand, Anita acquired in-depth understanding of the significance of good communications of brand culture and heritage to product marketing, and the rules to develop differentiated brand positioning for different times. Meanwhile, this also brought new challenges to Anita in terms of her communications work.

Why Get An MBA: Be Empowered and Ready for Challenges

To better tackle this challenge, Anita chose to enroll herself in an MBA programme to improve her comprehensive abilities. She listed some criteria for selecting an MBA programme based on her work experience and requirements:


1/An international programme with global perspectives offered with the collaboration of renowned Chinese and foreign schools.


2/Widely recognised MBA degree to enhance competitiveness in the career.


3/Small class to ensure full participation and learning outcomes.


4/No National Entrance Examination of MBA required to save time plus high-quality education offered at an affordable price.


Anita found out that the SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA Programme was more aligned with her requirements after comparing it with many others. To feel the actual classroom atmosphere, Anita attended three open classes offered by the Programme. In the end, the open class of Marketing Professor Michel GUTSATZ prompted her to make up her mind.


“Professor GUTSATZ talked about the difference between marketing and sales in his open class. He said that marketing made people want it, and sales made people pay for it. I had a relatively vague understanding of these two concepts, but he explained them so well with very simple language that I immediately got it. Therefore, I made up my mind to apply for the SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA Programme.”

MBA Programme Helps Achieve Career and Personal Development in Parallel

Looking back on the two years of study, Anita summarized how the SJTU-KEDGE Global MBA Programme has helped her at both professional and personal levels.


At the professional level, while beginning the MBA journey, Anita was also offered a new position in Nike and oversees its communications work of Greater China and Asia Pacific. The MBA courses not only deepened her understanding of communications, but also gave her inspiration for practical work.


First of all, the courses allowed Anita to have access to a wealth of marketing cases, especially classic cases in the western business world. What is more valuable is the sharing of case analysis by senior professors with both academic and practical experience. Only through practice can you test whether a plan is effective and how to respond to changes. Professors with experience in different times presented diverse perspectives, which helped her to gain a comprehensive understanding of the case.


In addition, the courses are practice-oriented. Many of the methodologies taught in the classroom can be readily applied at work. Whenever Anita shared questions that she encountered at work, her classmates were also happy to give their professional feedback in their respective fields (marketing, supply chain, finance, legal affairs, entrepreneurship, etc.).

At the personal level, Anita was able to identify knowledge gaps through the Programme as it offers a complete ecosystem of knowledge. She realized that MBA learning is a great way to solve the problem of “I don’t know what I don’t know”. “Knowing what I don’t know” is necessary for continuous growth, as it will motivate you to further expand your horizons and learn to master new skills.


In addition, Anita formed a small social circle that she enjoys very much thanks to the MBA study. There are like-minded classmates often meeting up and sharing thoughts with each other. There are also alumni of previous years known through activities organized by alumni clubs, such as photograph and art, digital and financial events. This small group of people shares Anita’s hobbies outside of study and work.

The New Normal in Communications: Pay Attention to Emergencies and Value Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic that broke out in 2020 had a great impact on Anita’s MBA study and work. However, Anita’s attitude is that realities cannot be changed, but our own mentality and strategies can be adjusted to adapt to the new normal.


In the early stage of the pandemic, although the workload of the team sharply increased (as multiple plans needed to be formulated), the team pressure-handling ability was challenged (as plans were often canceled), and the communication cost soared (due to large number of conference calls and remote meetings), her team came up with more flexible and responsive communications strategies against all odds. Now, Anita has been accustomed to including uncertain factors such as the pandemic as a hard indicator in the communications plan. Such practice starts from the beginning when strategies are formulated and is progressed in parallel to ensure the smoothness of good storytelling.


To better share these values with the audience, whether it is consumers or employees (who are also important consumers and creators of stories), Anita and the team have organized a variety of activities, for example, the “Shoe-to-Workplace” ground the fabric and rubber from recycled old shoes into particles, and used them to build various furniture, living up to the commitment of sustainable development of Nike.

Future Plan & Personal Advice for Potential MBA Participants

When it comes to future development, Anita hopes to continue in the field of communications and to focus on sustainability and ESG. She believes that telling good stories and choosing the right target audience will bring valuable and positive benefits to the society.


For those who are hesitating whether to apply for an MBA programme, Anita suggested that they see the world as constantly evolving. At a time when the number of talented people is increasing, an MBA could help you to improve yourself and stay competitive in your career. For the current managers or those who wish to be managers, MBA is not an option, but a must-have in the career planning.


If you already have the idea of self-improvement, get yourself moving and find an MBA programme that meets your requirements, the earlier the better.

A progressive life needs to be driven by itself, while MBA learning is a process and a journey. Best wishes to you dream chasers.


All the past, all is overture.


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