Yihan Wang graduated from the Master of International Business (MIB) Programme at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in 2013. Originally from Wuhan, China, he obtained his bachelor degree in economics from Nanjing University, China in 2011 before he studied at Frankfurt School. From 2014 to 2019, he joined the Department of International Business, HEC Montréal, Canada as a full-time PhD student. His major research directions included comparative corporate governance, economic geography and creative economy.
How did you make up your decision to proceed with a PhD after the Master in International Business?
My choice to pursue my PhD education is not accidental. I worked as a research assistant for two years at the East-West Centre for Business Studies and Cultural Science (ECBC) at Frankfurt School, where I gained my first research experience in international business studies at a very early stage. I found doing research in international business studies very enjoyable and there are plenty of potential areas in this field yet to be discovered. Doing a PhD certainly fulfils my curiosity of the topic and desire to start an academic career. In 2013, I wrote my master thesis collaborated with supervisors from both Frankfurt School and HEC Montréal, and one year after, I was offered the PhD student position thanks to the high quality thesis and strong recommendations from my supervisors.
How has the Master in International Business influenced your career? Which parts of the programme were particularly useful for you?
The MIB programme offered me a solid foundation for my PhD studies, both in knowledge and in practice. The best memories of the MIB programme are the field excursions to Geneva and Brazil. In Geneva, we visited the headquarters of several international organizations, such as WTO, World Economic Forum, and Red Cross, which helped me understand global governance structures and coordination mechanisms. As a part of my regional studies, I visited Brazil with Frankfurt School in 2012, and gained first-hand impressions of the business conditions in Latin America. In addition to acquiring new knowledge, it was great experience to discover new culture with my peers, and we really had a fantastic time together. Thanks to my regional specialization in Latin America, I had the opportunity to take elementary Spanish and Portuguese language courses at Frankfurt School, which greatly helped my trips to Mexico, Portugal and Spain, one year after the excursion to Brazil.
When and why did you decide to study at Frankfurt School? Why did you choose the Master of International Business as a programme?
Before I studied at Frankfurt School, I had been to Germany several times. I am fascinated by the German culture and the worldwide triumph of German enterprises. As the financial and commercial center of continental Europe, Frankfurt is one of the most prominent destinations for business students. Frankfurt School stands out for its locational advantage and tight connection with local business, so it is not a difficult choice. In the MIB programme, I could combine my interests in multicultural business practices with my background in economics. Certainly it paid off. Using the “MIB key”, I have already opened the gates to more than 30 countries over four continents in recent years.
How old were you, when you moved to Germany and what were some of the challenges you encountered?
My first time in Germany was in 2009, when I was an exchange student in France. In 2010, I did a summer semester at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and took my first visit to Frankfurt after the programme. So, before I started my studies at Frankfurt School, I had already gained some German experience. Like for most international students, German language is the first challenge. I regularly took German classes and obtained an advanced level German language certificate. But still, when it comes to real life, it is challenging to speak the language as the native Germans do.
Cultural difference is another issue. In class, when talking about financial and managerial practices in German enterprises, local students could easily come up with insights from their working experience and daily life. As for me, I could only somehow “imagine” it. Most German students are very independent and straightforward to express their opinions, but Chinese students generally prefer a more collective, collaborative and implicit approach. Still, during my studies at Frankfurt School, I made great friends and had very good supervisors. I always miss the city and people I met here. Hopefully, I could come back very soon.
In your opinion, how important are alumni for a business school? What do you think alumni can do for their alma mater?
Alumni build a common identity as a community sharing the same experience and memories. For individual students, an alumni network enhances knowledge diffusion and transfer, contributes to their career success, and strengthens their emotional bonds. For a business school, as an institution and community, a broad network of alumni extends its international influence and consolidates the base of sponsorship, which, in turn, engages a more diverse group of students and professors, thus creating new opportunities to make things happen.
Do you have a motto?
All is perfect arrangement.
- Buddhist Proverb