An Interview with GEA Past Participant Catherine Yang

The TIE Lab podcast is a U.S.-China cross-border technology service and media company linking leaders in technology, innovation, and education to promote and grow global businesses and economies. Catherine Yang was a recent guest. She is a legal executive from Shanghai Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, responsible for the company-wide legal affairs ranging from legal contract development all the way to M&A legal consolation. Catherine earned her BS in Economic Law, an MBA, and is a graduate of MIT Sloan Executive Education's Global Executive Academy. She shared her experience of the program. You can listen to the interview by Julia K. Somerdin in Chinese, or read the English transcript below.

Julia: Good morning everyone. Welcome to TIE Lab. Today we have a special guest on our podcast: Catherine Yang, and we are going to talk about MIT Sloan Global Executive Academy program. Catherine, thanks for joining us on this podcast. I understand the program was about 10 days long and with the company’s sponsoring, you were able to take the time away from the everyday work and took a flight from Shanghai all the way to the U.S. I bet it must be challenging - being a busy executive managing some quite complex legal business at the large international company in Shanghai. What is it that attracted you to MIT program among all the alternative programs?

Catherine: I’m Catherine Yang. I’m from Shanghai, China.

I’m very grateful that I participated in the Global Executive Academy programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management last summer. Our company’s Human Resource Department recommended me and my colleagues to attend the courses. Our company has very strong HR team who did a lot of research and analysis on the training resources for employees. I really have confidence for their recommendation. Meanwhile, our company is engaged in globalization for the automotive components business in recent years. As a senior manager in the company, I cried for this kind of training and practice in order to increase my capability from various aspects, such as global view, execution, and leadership…. The MIT courses really met my expectations this career period.

Julia: Nevertheless, it must be an exciting to take a break from work and coming back and sitting in the classroom one of the best universities in the world. What do you think is it that makes this program so valuable to the professionals like you?

Catherine: The program is full of variety and diversity, and includes fifteen courses, such as Global Economic Prospect, Leadership, Branding, Social Media Management, Innovation, Perspectives on Organization Change, and Competing at Speed in a Fast Moving World… the courses at MIT Sloan were primarily academic sessions with MIT faculty and senior experts.

I’m very impressed by the classmates in the program who are from twelve countries, from various business such as automotive, IT, trade, agriculture, food, education, government… and from various professions, such as engineering, legal, internal control, auditing… The diversity provided very rich and colorful discussion and thoughts. We didn’t worry about the language issue here, for the program provides very strong simultaneous interpretation, which melted the communication block among classmates from different cultures.

Julia: Fantastic. How would this experience impact your outlook on the business in your organization? Or what is the biggest takeaway that you value the most?

Catherine: What was harvested from the program? As a senior manager in a company, the most important thing is the vision and working with the right map. We further understand how to increase our capability when we are engaged in the global business and how to further develop the business, e.g. to pay attention to the global environment, the key points of leadership in various cultures, how to find out innovation points and focus on practical purpose ... The most important idea I got from MIT is the key spirit of MIT, “MIND AND HAND”, which is integrated into each course and made me further confirm this is the right map to success.

Julia: The summer in Boston is stunning. Did you have a chance to tour the city and relax a bit from the busy study? How do you like the city?

Catherine: We also have the opportunity to visit Boston at weekend, such as universities, downtown streets, museum, and innovation house…This is a rich and culturally colorful city, with so many colleges and universities, big stone houses and residences with long histories. I’m impressed by the inscription on the stone of an old house in downtown Boston: “Education is the most valuable investment.” I was deeply moved by it.