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Statement of Purpose of a Chinese Student for Stanford MBA

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China is facing an unprecedented challenge as its people struggle with a myriad of social problems arising from the incredible economic growth in the past decade. I aspire to meet the challenge and effect positive social changes by leveraging my bi-cultural background, business experience and passion for philanthropy. Unlike more developed countries where the combination of social enterprises, non-profit organizations and corporate and individual donations help to drive meaningful social projects, similar entities in China are undeveloped and lack financial and governmental support. My vision is to build or fund sustainable for-profit enterprises with social missions. For-profit social enterprise have a much better chance to drive meaningful changes because of its ability to not rely on donations, be locally sensitive, active and innovative as well as to attract an up-and-coming generation of socially conscious workers who strive for more meaning in their jobs. I will be a maverick as sustainable and innovative social ventures are much rarer in China than in other places, but I am convinced that it is the more effective model to combat serious challenges in China.

Despite my conviction in the growing importance of social enterprise in China and my strong desire to be a leader in this field, I currently lack the knowledge, experience and network to execute effectively. Stanford MBA program, with its unparalleled reputation in preparing students with similar aspirations, will help me bridge the gap. At Stanford, I will pursue the certificate in public management with a focus in managing social enterprises and advancing social innovation. Classroom studies and experimental learning will enhance my understanding of various social problems and equip me with the tested approaches to solve them.

I am eager to dedicate my time to participate in the recently founded SEED (Stanford’s Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies) program, because I vehemently agree with the program’s mission and approach. While volunteering in the program and pursuing my MBA degree, I will undoubtedly come across innovative ideas, passionate individuals and impactful organizations that I otherwise do not have access to. At Stanford, students do not merely get involved and follow others, they are expected to lead and innovate. To fulfill my goals, I must lead as there is no one to follow; I must be ingrained in the Stanford way.

During my class visit, I hoped to attend the popular class “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability”; instead I was randomly assigned to the famous class taught by Condoleezza Rice. That experience epitomized the opportunities truly distinctive to GSB students.

Option D: Tell us about a time when you went beyond what was defined or established

As the CEO of Yeecare E-commerce Ltd, the leading online retailer of nutritional supplements in China, my father exemplifies the leadership that I wish to emulate. When he asked me to help his company research creative marketing strategies during my visit in 2010, I happily obliged. I recommended using social media, specifically “Weibo”, the Twitter equivalent in China, because of the success American companies have had with marketing on Facebook and Twitter. By providing a platform to interact with consumers, the Weibo experiment successfully attracted many followers. As I delved deeper into Yeecare’s business model and products, I saw an opportunity to achieve much more than what was originally intended. I shared my ideas with the management team and was approved to stay on the project remotely.

The first initiative was to leverage the knowledgebase of doctors and nutrition experts who work at Yeecare by posting weekly educational materials on health-related issues. Furthermore, I encouraged the team to interact with social media followers by answering their questions. Through this project, Yeecare raised health awareness in the general public and enhanced sales through targeted marketing.

Prior to tapping the network of Weibo, Yeecare had not been able to draw public participation to many of its charitable initiatives. I helped to run a series of posts on Weibo, informing its followers on the offer to match one donation per purchase to senior centers in ten different cities. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The posts were “re-tweeted” by many followers, which in turn reached a far greater audience, including many who were previously unaware of Yeecare’s brand and socially responsible missions. Not only did sales increase, many people chose to buy multiple products and donated ones they bought, in addition to ones we matched. As a result, Yeecare’s donation in 2011 far exceeded that of previous years, totaling over three million dollars.

By going beyond the initial objective, I was able to lead successful initiatives that achieved both for-profit and socially responsible goals. This served as an eye-opening experience as I learned how much good a for-profit company, with the right leadership, strategy and mission, can do for society.

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