Earn an MBA with global impact

After nine years as an insolvency and forensic accountant with RSM, Lili Shang (MBA18) had reached a bottleneck in her career. So she decided to make her longtime dream of earning an MBA a reality.

Tippie’s high-rankings, reputation for academic excellence, and opportunities for international travel convinced her that the Hong Kong MBA was just the program she’d been looking for. As she completes her final three semesters in Iowa City, she reflects on all she’s gained both personally and professionally.

Meet other professionals, make lasting friendships

Working for the sixth largest global accounting firm can be stressful and isolating. When a project proves overwhelming, it’s tough to know where to turn for help. Lili looked to her MBA program to make connections with other professionals going through similar experiences. Her part-time MBA brought together students from Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Taiwan.

“My classmates all appreciate and learn from each other. Most of us are friends now,” she says.

While Lili values the relationships she built in Hong Kong, she’s also growing her global connections network by finishing up the program in the U.S.

Discover another culture

For her final semester, RSM allowed Lili four months leave to complete her studies in Iowa, and held a role for her until her return. “If you have the opportunity to experience a different culture – why not?” she explains.

When she arrived in Iowa City, she couldn’t have been happier.  

“Iowa City is peaceful, clean and safe. I’m amazed by the beauty of the city, and the friendliness of the people. Plus, I love studying on a real college campus.”

And while she was pleasantly surprised by the Iowa vibe, she found another kind of surprise in her Financial Accounting Standards class with Professor Daniel Collins.

“It was very challenging!” she laughs. “The accounting standards here are different than in Hong Kong, so there was a lot to learn. But it was an honor to be a student of Professor Collins.”

Lili lives by the Chinese adage, “the harder you work, the luckier you are,” so she’s welcomed the chance push her understanding of global accounting practices forward. She knows that when she returns to her job, she’ll be able to approach her work with a new perspective.

Never stop growing

Lili’s horizons continued to expand when she was paired with classmates from the U.S., India and Africa in a Business Integration course. Her team members had experience in fields as varied as IT, sales, finance, manufacturing, and even the military. Their mission:  Launch an IT start-up, from finding a location to managing cashflow and tracking sales.

“I’m not a sales person, and I didn’t know anything about manufacturing. Thankfully, my team had a ton of experience, and they weren’t afraid to express their opinions and exchange ideas,” she says.

A Q5 sales performance hiccup nearly tanked the project, but the team quickly adjusted with new product design and development. Their innovation and teamwork eventually led to them winning the simulation. But for Lili, coming out on top was just the icing on the cake.

 “What’s most important to me is the value behind the three letters, M-B-A: the skills you learn, the comprehensive understanding of business you receive, and the connections you make with classmates and professors.”

Those connections are something Lili will carry with her as she returns to Hong Kong, ready to take on more responsibility and leadership roles in her organization.