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Veronica Yaqi Hou

Degree:

MBA

Location:

China

Industry:

Marketing

Year:

2019-20

By Veronica Yaqi Hou

Get to know Veronica Hou, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: I‘ve worked in branding management and marketing in a multi-industry setting. I enjoy discovering the connections under the surface and creating moments to share and inspire.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Conglomerate/ Branding

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Tech/ Consumer/ Marketing

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: China

College: I chose Keble because it’s a very sporty college and the college was founded to challenge the norms back in 19th century.

Instagram: veronicahou
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronicayaqihou

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best friend: Unconventional,
Manager: innovative

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I have lived and worked in Beijing practically my whole life (up till now!). But I have always had a passion to see the world and how people from vastly different background from me live. Since I studied International economy and trade in college, the idea of studying and living in a different cultural setting has lingered. The Oxford MBA really emphasizes student diversity in nationality and background. I’m excited for the mixing pot this upcoming year and the chemistry it creates.

I’ve been working at a Chinese conglomerate covering more than 50 industries and the intense exposure to so many industries gave me precious opportunities to interact and work alongside with some very diverse professionals. I’m intrigued to gain more business expertise at a deeper and more fundamental level, to connect new possibilities and to influence for impact.

Also, from my experience in developing the brand strategy and purpose for big MNC, I discovered that impactful purpose sets great companies apart from the rest in the long run. Oxford’s mission in impactful business immediately resonates with my goal. I remember coming to Oxford for my interview, and at a taster lecture, Dean Tufano said, “Oh well you’ll hear the word ‘purpose’ a lot in Oxford”. Everyone in the classroom laughed. I know this would be the right place to further my path.

P.S Being a die-heart Harry Potter fan, it’s my dream is to live and study at Hogwarts. (Yes, I said that during my interview but this should not be taken as a tip for future interviews.)

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
The journey started 3 years ago when I first got to know what an MBA was and started to think whether it was for me. I recommend everyone attempting an MBA start the GMAT battle ASAP, as this will give you more time to prepare for what really makes you unique among many applicants, your story- who you are, where do you want to go, etc. The quest towards an MBA is all about answering those ultimate questions, and it’s a painful yet inevitable passage to take. I took quite some time to reflect on my past experience, talked to admission officers and alumni in person and via LinkedIn to get advice, and did research in target fields (online& in person) to better understand those.

Prior to the start of the MBA, together with 20+ Oxbridge cohorts, I organized a Pre-MBA China trek to some Chinese and MNC practice across 3 major cities to put our B-school act into practise. Between that and working through the summer, I found time to meet friends and families as going away put me in a milestone mindset to have unexpected reflective and meaningful conversations.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
A truly global mindset and wider perspectives.
The know-how to combine business with purpose.
Life-long friendships.

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
Prioritize.
Enjoy Oxford outside of classroom.
Start the job hunt as soon as you can, even before coming to the MBA.
Be open-minded and initiate conversations.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
The entrepreneur project and Creative Destruction Lab. Working in large corporations my entire career, I’m looking forward to building something from scratch together with a group of smart cohorts. I’m also keen in the intersection of marketing and technology so GA, AI, Analytics and Marketing will also be interesting to do.

GOTO is also a whole new area for me to learn how to combine business with purpose.

Also, I can’t forget MBAT!– the MBA school sport Tournament happening every April in France. It’s a great opportunity to bond with the class. Hope we can keep Oxford’s legacy and take home the championship for the 4th consecutive year!

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
As an Oxford MBA alumni once said, “you can easily find 5 different things to do at any time of the day”. FOMO and the fear of getting lost in endless options raise the level of anxiety prior to the start of MBA. One year is a very short time and will seem even faster with the MBA (crazy) schedule.
It’s not even the start of  term start yet and we are already making choices among many different talks, pathway/roadmap/lab and clubs over the summer!

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
The year will be about growth, inclusiveness and constant challenges. I hope to take a growth mindset to keep discovering connections disguised underneath the surface to create something new (even just a different approach to doing things). In the marketing field, I hope to drive business with more purposeful rules and amplify this with the power of branding.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
I’d like to try for my College’s rowing team (it’s an Oxford thing), salsa club (to pick up where I left off and chachacha more!), hiking/walking club and anything outdoors.

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?
#oxfordmba #naturelover

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