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Thirty overachievers of the class of 2018: 30 extraordinary stories
Author:Raju Maskey  Date:2018-10-24  Clicks:

Nearly a century ago, in 1934, a young man with clear-eyed called Zhang Peigang, best remembered for his work in development economics, was graduated from WHU to embark on a journey of bringing economic reforms in pre-industrial China. He earned a scholarship to pursue his postgraduate studies at Harvard and was shocked by the economic gap between predominately agrarian China and industrialized US. Personally guided by famous economists Edward Chamberlin and Joseph A. Schumpeter, he soon became the only Chinese to win the David A. Wells' Prize for his paper on agriculture and industrialization. After completing his studies, he returned to his alma mater and joined in the consortia of other foreign-educated academicians to impart his knowledge to other brilliant students like him. In a sense, he is an archetypal WHU student who had a humble upbringing in an ordinary family of peasants, he strived hard to receive the education he fully deserved and made the most of his college years fruitful. He left an indelible mark in the history of WHU and set a pretty high benchmark for the thousands of extraordinary WHUers after him.

This seems like eons ago and in a slightly different timeline, the clock is counting down to graduation for the class of 2018. Today’s generation of WHUers are oft-lauded for upholding the unwavering spirit and ethos handed down by generations of WHU intelligentsia. WHU’s avowed ethos embodies many of the ideals its students hold dear.  In due course, WHU has evolved as an institution but its bedrocks have remained intact.  It has become such an interesting place where serendipitous encounters blossom into life-long friendships. The students have learned to practice carpe diem- enjoying life and taking all the precious waking moments for what they really are.

Every year, new crop of students bring new ideas making WHU a breeding ground for talents. The dynamics between academicians and students have changed, giving students more freedom to engage in forthright conversations in and outside the class; students are encouraged to speak openly about issues that are important to them. Fascinating as it is, WHU allows its students to demonstrate a modicum of eccentricity.

Eye for the world:  a WHUer mindset

Year after year, students go through the same ordeals and it takes inordinate self-belief to not crumple under the weight of responsibilities. This piece spotlights the journeys of 30 brilliant, highly motivated students whose lives have been well-shaped by WHU.These graduating students, so to speak, have achieved the highest superlatives in their undergraduate years. From prestigious scholarship winners to frontline researchers to innovative environmentalists, they are paragons of excellence- someone to be imitated. Admittedly, WHU’s postcard-perfect mood-lifting vistas have inspired them into the roles they undertook. This particular bunch of avant-gardes and change makers have travelled far and wide to have a better understanding of the multi-faceted world, attempted to fix current problems rather than brushing them off with blasé and came out of their shells to rekindle their passions. They understand the gravity of problems we face today and possess the temerity to fight tooth and nail to find ingenious ways to resolve them. Their burning curiosities, pro bono humanitarian experiences and artistic genius are the quintessential WHU attributes that will take them to the top echelons of their careers. Their adventures at WHU might have come to an end but they will continue to spread their wings and chase their dreams in different parts of the world.

Hereinafter is a sound bite of their personal recollections, dreams, regrets, motivations, joie de vivre and achievements here at WHU.

Turning to family for cues

My freshman year was not going great academically and even though I had toiled throughout the year, I had a not-so-impressive GPA of 3.3 to show for it. It was a rough start and I knew I had to rethink my options. I consider myself fortunate for having a loving family and they have always been my backing. So, amidst confusion and uncertainty, I turned to listen to a wiser voice- that of my uncle. He told me that a not-so-great past can actually serve as a great beginning. His sagacious words brought me much-needed clarity and insight into how I should move ahead. I learnt to practice a habit of diligence and after that, everything worked like clockwork. My parents have always been a source of unending support and comfort during those difficult times.

Bowen Wang

Stanford University

Aspiring City-planner

After graduating with a major in landscape design, I am looking forward to study urban design by integrating it with other disciplines. This field is not mature in China and the demand for urban designers is particularly urgent given the circumstances of rapid urbanization and housing bubble in China. I believe urban design not only encompasses urban zoning but also deals with the overall composition of an entire city. Today’s city-planners have to look into the connection between cities and rural areas with regard to social custom, history, and culture. It presents a unique challenge for urban designers like me in finding out smarter ways to manage transportation systems, residential and pedestrian spaces. During my graduate studies, I hope to assimilate all the knowledge on architecture, urban development, environmental design, and other research fields. I am focused on honing own designing skills to solve significant interdisciplinary issues faced by the world in the field of sustainable urban development and cross-cultural communication.

Chen Yao

University College London

Mastering in architecture

I am someone who combines rationality and perception and insists on expressing himself while always paying attention to the logic of things. Architecture in and of itself is both rational and sensible. I was deeply fascinated by changes in different spaces brought about by mutual interaction of texture, dimensions, and light. The sensitivity in such an ambience and rationality amassed through meticulous study of science has made me more prudent. Architects tend to incorporate personal elements into their designs. Their subjective thoughts coupled with in-depth analysis of structure make architecture a vessel for recording human emotions and stories. I try to express myself by constructing designs that adhere to rational analysis of material structure. In college, I honed my aesthetic abilities through countless cycles of model making and drawing. My final year of study in the UK made me realize the disparity in architectural standards between China and other countries and I grew more consciousness of my own shortcomings. We were the first batch of students in the Sino-British Program and even though the teaching system was not very mature, we were able to achieve our learning goals through collective efforts of domestic and foreign teachers. In the past five years, the entire class brought many wonderful learning experiences—a cognitive internship in Shanghai where we experienced contemporary architecture, a sketching internship in Wuyuan to improve our painting skills and a surveying internship in Guangzhou where we gauged an ancient memorial hall. During our study in the UK, we were all very dedicated on study but still managed to travel together. We also gave some important inputs into each other’s portfolios for grad school. We will inevitably be separated by thousands of miles but these precious memories will be preserved forever.

Cheng Jinfeng

Delft University of Technology

Forward-looking quantitative analyst

When I first came to WHU as a freshman, all the students were grouped together to study basic mathematics courses. At that time, I was uncertain about my future because mathematics offered a wide assortment of choices involving statistics, big data, computers, and financial engineering. When students were divided into specific majors in the sophomore year, I chose to go with financial mathematics. I tried to speculate stock market and became interested in the so-called “finance”. I gradually learned about derivative market operations and applied programming to solve problems. Going abroad is something one should be certain about from the very beginning. I started preparing for various exams from my sophomore year and got the chance to attend Columbia University’s summer program. My only regret was that I started to have internships only after my junior year. I did internships at Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities and CICC's Investment Banking Division. Although I learned a lot during these internships, I realized I was not very interested in investment banking. Later, I did an internship at a futures company and did a quantitative analysis job before I found out what I really wanted to do. I decided to pursue financial engineering with quantitative programming in grad school. I hope this path will open up new horizons for me to become an excellent quantitative analyst.

Du Xuanxian

Johns Hopkins University

Turning regrets to triumphs

I have rejoiced every moment of these four years at WHU. I am very happy to have found like-minded friends with whom I shared my feelings, hung out, stayed up all nights preparing for exams and traveled to see amazing sceneries. However, I have my qualms about not utilizing my time to the fullest. In the first two and half years, I was focused on getting a perfect GPA and undertaking activities that would look good on my resume. It was in my junior year that I acknowledged a disparity between myself and those who toiled hard in the laboratory. While applying for grad school, my classmates had a competitive edge over me with their foreign exchange experiences. They had so many accomplishments under their belts. I began to realize the shortcomings of not having a well-rounded resume. I had not taken part in any exchange projects, researches or internships. This sense of regret urged me to change the state of affairs. I went to Cambridge University for cultural exchange, worked in the laboratory with renewed enthusiasm and stood second in the Central China Mathematical Modeling contest. It could all have been different if I had done everything right from the very beginning. But better late than never. This has nonetheless been a worthwhile journey.

Fan Ruoyi

Carnegie Mellon University

Tackling water-related problems

These four years have passed by at a leisurely pace. I still haven't treaded every corner of WHU. I haven't been to all the dining halls yet and I still can't give directions to school buildings. I am very thankful for all the people I had the pleasure of knowing. My four best friends have resolutely stood by me through these years and share the same get-up and go. I am always glad to share my worries, interests, and joys with them. As a WHU student ingrained with a passion for water conservation, I will continue to study water resources in graduate school. In recent years, China’s rapid economic development has brought unprecedented threats to water sources. Shortage of drinking water and water pollution seems imminent. I hope to learn effective methods of water quality management and policy implementation to solve China's water-related challenges.

Fan Jiacheng

Stanford University

Striving for a healthier world

As a public health student, I like to think that we are studying to achieve this lofty dream of a healthier world. I believe that health professionals like me should shoulder this responsibility of improving the health of mankind. Throughout my college life, I have always been intrigued by how population health is affected by a complex array of socio-economic factors. These factors- we called social determinants of health- influence our health in immeasurable ways. We need to better understand these factors in order to circumvent the challenges posed by them. So, much of my future work will be focused on establishing a link between social environment and population health by using epidemiological and statistical tools. That’s how I want to play my part in improving global health and I had always kept that in mind while charting out my future plans.

Gaojun Xiao

University College London

Captain of the ship

Throughout my college life, I have held too many positions, but serving as the class president to the high-achieving “Class 1 of Financial Engineering”, was undoubtedly the most gratifying one. This was a responsibility I was wholeheartedly devoted to. At the start of the freshmen year, I made them a promise that I will lead the class through thick and thin and enable my dear classmates to grow to their full potential. Now that they have been admitted into the best graduate schools both in China and abroad, I stand proud to have made good on that promise. As they say, success doesn’t come cheap. I undertook the painstakingly difficult task of arranging field visits to major financial institutions, approached presidents of several banks to give lectures on specific topics and cultivated a sense of togetherness by handing out gifts on every occasion. I was always on standby for them and I ensured that everyone felt that they were a part of this big happy family!

Gu Yu

Stanford University

Cherishing experimentation in Physics

It is quite obvious that physics is an experiment-based discipline. While studying in WHU for four years, I did not just memorize formulas and theories from the textbook, I also gained invaluable experience in extracurricular place and research. During my freshman year, I was encouraged by my teacher to take part in the International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) with several other classmates. Although we did not come first, I learned the joy of experimentation. In the following year, I started to engage in researches at the Physics school under the recommendation of my teacher. After three months of working under his guidance, we published our work with an influence factor of 1.384. It fuelled my passion and motivated me to do more high-yield researches and I decided to go to the Institute of Remote Sensing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to participate in their summer vacation program in my junior year. In my senior year, I landed a two-month internship at Ascension Technology where I was able to conduct experiments on drones and expand my knowledge in optoelectronics. All these valuable experiences have greatly enriched my college life and I will continue to explore other opportunities in this discipline.

Hong Yuanzhuo

Brown University

Going that extra mile

While majoring in spatial information and digital technology, I understood the importance of persistence. Sheer hard work and dedication will eventually pay off. Four years of studying an interdisciplinary major emboldened me to engage in a software-related field. So, I chose to apply for graduate studies in computer science. Even though I didn’t intend to study abroad from the beginning, the whole application process was a learning experience. One of the gratifying experiences of my college life has been joining the student union and debate team where I met several amazing friends. We participated in competitions and helped each other hone our skills. We chatted freely for hours while watching the dazzling sunrise on the Yangtze River Bridge. My most memorable moment has been competing in the debate competition during my freshman year. When the competition was over, it was 6pm in the evening. I had been undertaken so much work and I didn’t have any food for the entire day. The results came out did me a favor and I was instantly enchanted with joy. I am grateful to WHU for this exceptional journey and all the successes and setbacks it has given me are my lifelong treasures. I will forever belong here in Luojia.

Hu Zhonghui

Brown University

Looking back to a wonderful journey

These four years at WHU has been a mélange of all sorts of emotions and feelings- joy, sadness, confusion, and frustration. But I never felt any sense of regret during all this time. Owing to my childhood love for maps, I came to WHU to study geographic information science. When I enrolled in this university, I wanted to deepen my professional knowledge and expanded my horizons. I fulfilled all the academic goals I had set for myself. The solid English foundation I laid during my freshman year allowed me to be more comfortable with overseas exchanges and making new friends. During my progressive study, I found myself being intrigued by the combination of technology and humanities. I sincerely believe that life can be much better and easier with policies and plans based on results from scientific experiments. Well-defined plans and their step-by-step implementation enriched my college life and made it more enjoyable. This April, I won the huoju cup volleyball championship along with my teammates. I will continue to move forward with this unwavering zeal for knowledge.

Hu Yixuan

University of Pennsylvania

On an optimistic career path

The education I received at WHU is one of my life's most valuable assets. This academic path led me to my calling and I was able to equip myself with quantitative skills and professional knowledge of mathematics. I have been actively serving as a WHU student correspondent for the past three years. It has undoubtedly broadened my perspective on a lot of things. I interviewed 1,000 talents plan scholars and students who volunteered in Africa where giving them a platform to share their stories and experience with a larger group of people. By doing so, I realized that we cannot be confined to a single domain. It was fulfilling to play the role of a bridge, getting these remarkable stories across to the readers. My internship at Morgan Stanley acquainted me with the whole process of fund investment. I learned how to define a good trade from a back-stage perspective by using programming tools to supervise fund performance. More importantly, I found myself in a mature cooperation with a well-organized efficiency, which further enabled me to decide my career goal. One of my goals in the future is to work for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where I hope to use my skills to bring substantial changes in the world.  WHU has instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility towards society and world as a whole. I will uphold these values and continue to march forward towards my humanitarian goals.

Li Minjia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sharing pearls of wisdom

I intend to do research on urban remote sensing while pursuing a graduate degree in environmental science. In my opinion, remote sensing is invaluable in breaking through the constraints of our bodies and observing the world from a different vantage point. Looking at the world through satellites gives us a clear understanding of the current state of change and development. Unlike my classmates, my four years in college have been relatively solitary. As nearly all agree, university life is riddled with too many choices and troubles. We need to calmly judge all the options before acting upon them. We can boldly abandon choices that do not contribute to achieving our goals. Along the way, we will find people who will make unreasonable and unsubstantiated demands on us but we should never give in. We need to take to heart the fact that nothing is more precious than our own time. Make every second count. A solitary life helps us develop independent character, introspective habits, and better execution. The whole tedious process of DIY Grad school Application improved my ability to scour for information. My friends and seniors lend their support during those times and I am really touched by the patience and sincerity shown by them. All those self-absorbed moments by the East Lake gazing into the sparkling ripples and light blue skies are my favorite moments here. Two first-author publications, one software, one patent and one national-level scientific research are some of the accomplishments I take pride in. I am also indebted to my instructor Dr. Wen Zhang who has been an excellent mentor to me and I have grown and excelled under her tutelage. In this strictly hierarchical and labor- surplus academic pyramid, I was fortunate enough to meet someone who was willing to listen to my thoughts. She helped me perfect my experimental designs, seek opportunities for international academic conferences and realize my goals. Working with her has been the most enjoyable scientific experience of my life. And at last, I sincerely wish all the WHU students a very bright future.

Li Xinyi

Yale University

A new beginning

In my undergraduate life, I was very fortunate to get acquainted with lovely classmates and friends from various majors. I am utterly grateful for the free and relaxed learning environment at WHU. I was able to complete 250 study credits in four years which exceeded the credit requirement for my degree. The additional 100 credits allowed me to expand my horizons. I was able to visit different parts of the world and find a direction for my future development. In my junior year, I traveled to Case Western Reserve University for a three-month exchange. During my time there, I observed the cutting edge advancements in my professional field and it opened the door towards limitless opportunities. Earlier this year, after a series of preparations, I applied for a master’s degree in structural engineering. I believe this is another starting point in my life. I hope I can make my alma mater proud, no matter where I go.

Liu Han

UC Berkeley

Eccentric designer

I have always loved painting, arts, animation, and cosplay.  While in college, I didn’t just read books for four years. I took time off to do things I love and fully nurtured my varied hobbies and interests. I enrolled in painting classes, learned game design and competed in Microsoft Cup and Internet+ competitions. I taught myself cartooning and helped friends with creating comics. My love for anime made me enter the snazzy world of cosplay. I participated in many cosplay shows and competitions, crafted my own make-up props, and even learned photography. The breadth of activities I took part in astonishes me and it affirmed my career choice by enabling me to perfect my artistic skills. For someone who prefers complete occupational freedom, landscape design is more appealing to me. I made up my mind to go abroad for graduate studies in my freshman year and I buckled down and worked hard to get into my dream school. I plan to further develop my skills, draw inspiration from other fields and create refreshing designs during my next few years in grad school.

Rao Siqi

Rhode Island School of Design

Persevering against all odds

I come from a rural and impoverished region in Sichuan Province and I matriculated into WHU with a relatively low gaokao score. In my early years, I was comparing myself with my classmates from affluent cities who had big plans ahead of them. The difference between us was that of a “chicken head” and a “phoenix’s tail”. I was distraught with no specific goal. The turning point of my college life came during the winter break of junior year. I was due to have my IELTS test fifteen days after the spring festival. I went home for just three days and stayed back in school to prepare for the test. I was having second thoughts about taking the test but I chose to give the test anyway and to my surprise, I scored well. At that moment, I had an epiphany which made me realize that no matter where I came from, I could achieve anything if I put my heart and mind into it. In the days that followed, I focused on securing a scholarship for my graduate studies and eventually succeeded.

Tang Bowen

Karolinska Institute

Cultivating a refined outlook

During my undergraduate years, I participated in diverse volunteer activities and internships in addition to language learning and extensive reading. I think students studying foreign languages should develop a broader world-view by going out and seeing for how big the world really is. I did volunteer work in Bali and witnessed the situation of other developing countries. I also went to University of Wollongong as an exchange student where I was able to completely immerse myself in a different culture and way of life. All these experiences played a big part in choosing my career from a wide range of options and I finally settled on public administration. These four years at WHU have been unforgettable. We have acquired valuable knowledge and made many close friends. The part I like most is traveling with friends and seeing beautiful views together. Although everyone will part their ways and go to different places, we will forever remember that we are the children of Luojia and will always have a home here.

Wang Hanxu

Cornell University

Exploring different architectural paradigms

I have spent the most brilliantly varied and formative years of my life in WHU. During my time here, I took part in singing contests, hosted soirees, participated in the 3rd Golden Autumn Fashion Competition and served as vice chair in the student union for three consecutive years. I didn’t slight my academic responsibilities while partaking in extracurricular activities. I was awarded scholarships for four years and won awards in architectural design competitions. I knew I wanted to study abroad early on in junior high school. So, I enrolled in architecture school and explored several exchange opportunities at WHU.  In my college years, I pulled numerous all-nighters, forged long-lasting friendships and understood the essence of architectural design through arduous grinding times. In my final year, I studied in University of Dundee where transitioning from eastern to western thinking, from bold abstract interpretation to vivid combination of technology and art.  I believe people need to absorb everything like a sponge to grow and thrive in a new environment. As architects, we rely on perceptive understanding of aesthetics and rationally defined rules to show us the way.  An architect’s thinking is infused with subjective and objective struggles. I love the dialectics and surprises that come with practice of architecture. I plan to throw myself into graduate studies to explore the integration of architecture with humanity, culture, art, and entertainment. The studio I chose to study at is called entertainment and sees architecture as a carrier of human experiences and stories. As my undergraduate life draws to a close, I would like to impart a piece of advice to other WHUers-know your shortcomings and learn to exploit your strengths.

Wang Miao

University of California Los Angeles

Making scientific breakthroughs

During my exchange semester at Santa Barbara, I had the opportunity to do computational research on condensed matter physics under Professor Bernard Kirtman. I also excelled in my classes in quantum physics and quantum chemistry with straight As. I proposed a novel way of understanding Electronic orbital response of infinite periodic systems to magnetic fields. He was seemingly impressed with my work and invited me to join him in completing the research in my senior year. Soon after that, I went to University of Turin as a visiting scholar to confirm the feasibility of my theory in crystal packages by assessing its magnetic properties. All these research experiences abroad have encouraged me to indulge in more extensive researches, cultivate my skills and improve my sense and understanding of science. In the future, I plan to redouble my efforts to become a competent scientific researcher.

Wang Zheren

UC Berkeley

Inspiring Environmentalist

I found a balance between science and humanities while serving as a trainee correspondent. It was really interesting to meet all sorts of people every day. I am an environmentalist at heart. So, naturally, I was concerned about the waste disposal situation in the campus and wanted to do something about it. I along with my friends started a public welfare project to sort wastes so that the waste products could be better recycled. Anyone who goes the Informatics school library can see our efforts bearing fruition. We worked closely with library administration to set up spots for garbage classification. The response was overwhelming and we are glad to have started something that will last for several years. In my final year, I gained preliminary research experience working under Prof. Wang. During my time in the lab, I enjoyed coming up with solutions to complex problems. It was then I realized that life and experimentation share an uncanny sameness- in both cases, we are groping with uncertainty to get closer to the ultimate truth.

Wu Shuang

Tokyo University

Rejoicing college life

University life is the time when you grow the most-both personally and academically. I went to Cambridge University for a winter program and traveled to other universities across the world but WHU is very near and dear to my heart. The beautiful campus, open culture, humorous teachers, and ambitious classmates have left me with a lot of good memories. My days here at WHU were filled with euphoria and I enjoyed the delights of every conversation with teachers and close-knit friends who helped me frame clearer plans for my future. I interned at GF Securities, Changjiang Futures and Morgan Stanley Huaxin Fund accruing my experiences in the financial sector. I took part in Mathematical Contest in Modeling(MCM)and some charitable works such as blood and book donation campaigns. All these experiences have given me the confidence to use my abilities to change the world for the better. I will always remember the happy times spent on this campus.

Xie Wansi

Columbia University

Making headway in college

I am so grateful for my four years at WHU and all the humbling experiences will undoubtedly benefit me for life. I have a passion for music, basketball, and traveling. I won the school’s top 10 singing competition. Our basketball team achieved the best results in the entire history of our Physics school. I went on trips to several amazing places during these college years. All these hobbies never derailed me from my main purpose-studying. I never rested on my laurels and always explored new and exciting opportunities. During the summer break of my sophomore year, I interned at Wuhan Fenghuo Group’s R&D department to gain insights into the industrial production. I was also focused on enhancing my language skills. In my junior year, I started researching sensor materials at the Optoelectronics Lab in HUST. It greatly improved my research skills and helped me find my niche. WHU has indoctrinated us with life-changing principles and I will always remember it as a wonderful place where I met many good-hearted teachers and closest friends.

Xiong Yiheng

University of Pennsylvania

Passionate conservationist

I vividly remember the early summer when I walked around this campus feeling amazed by the awe-inspiring sceneries. I was motivated to make every corner of the world as beautiful as WHU with my modest efforts. Since then, protecting the environment has been my lifelong pursuit. Right from my freshman year, I proactively engaged in research on water pollution control combining microbial and chemical methods to design a more efficient pollutant treatment system. In my junior summer break, I went to Canada INRS-ETE Institute to look for Green alternative to antibiotics. Apart from my studies, I actively volunteered in awareness campaigns for environmental conservation as I firmly believe that a single spark can start a prairie fire. I have left no stone unturned in cultivating a sense of collective responsibility for environmental protection. At the same time, I joined the Wuhan University Model United Nations (WHUMUN) in order to seek novel solutions to environmental issues. One of my favorite hobbies is singing. One time, a Karaoke bar owner was so moved by my singing therefore he comped my bill. I love tennis and have volunteered at Wuhan Tennis Open. Other than that, I am always excited about traveling and enjoyed viewing the stunning rainbows over Niagra falls. After this year, I would like to go back to learning. After all, I am still an inquisitive child who loves to learn.

Xiong Weihui

UC Berkeley

Relentless adventurer

My four year journey by the east lake shore has been replete with life-changing adventures. Travelling around the globe takes tedium out of my grueling and academically intensive life.  I have journeyed far and near connoisseuring the breath-taking spectacles in the most exotic destinations. From the gloomy castles of the Scottish Highlands to the bright sunny Caribbean beach, I have seen and lived it all. At times, I felt mystified by what lay ahead of me, struggling to take it all in like the pristine shores of Lake Geneva and the azure Coastline. During my travels, the sight of an unfamiliar street jam-packed with strangers was enough to forget the tiring ascent and I had a taste of some unpalatable local specialties which I promptly realized, were too difficult to swallow. I mingled with score of seasoned travelers and total strangers who shared me with their life stories. The chopper ride I took to the depths of the Mexican Rainforest was particularly moving and it stoked a fire in my core to chase down anything that seemed worthy of pursuit. The world is so big and it’s even bigger for motivated adventurers driven by desire or rather want for insurmountable challenges. Apart from travelling, I am a lifelong gunner and an avid tennis player. I persisted to play tennis competitively for three solid years of my college life despite my knee injury. My inner obsessive sports fan found its surreal moment at the 2009 Australian Open and 2012 North London Derby and when I was not cheering at the top of my voice at Emirates and Wembley, I was intensely preparing for grad school, giving it my best shot. All my hard work paid off when I was accepted to Cambridge and several other schools of my choice. One of the great blessings of my life has been my parents who supported me through every stride along the way right from the get-go. I have my biases towards a life with a little bit of craziness, but to me, it just seems so true to life.

Yuan Feijiao

Carnegie Mellon University

Nonconformist go-getter

I am most unorganized in an organized way. Nothing I did in college was quite following rules. My personality is a bit bohemian and free-spirited and I could never live the life of a homebody. I skipped classes to travel to different parts of the world. I was travelling alone from city to city and it was absolutely thrilling, including the cliché yet spontaneous Europe backpacking trip with my bestie completing the so-called rite of passage. I have an innate flair for coding despite my finance major. But my motivation has always been clear, which is to find the interception of my passion and capability. Right from the freshman summer internship, I realized how computing can improve efficiency in finance. Moving on, my exchange semesters at Columbia and UC Berkeley exposed me to this relatively nascent paradigm of Fintech. I found myself conducting research alongside some of the world renowned professors in applied math. It was eye-opening, to say the least. All my plans were falling into place and as it so happened, I landed a summer job at a Fintech company in the fast-paced NYC. My boss at the time, the CEO of the company, is my role model- someone I look up to. My highest career aspiration is to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ as my company celebrates the success of its initial public offering and considering how invested I am in my career, that day isn’t far.

Yang Suqi

Cornell University

Addressing health needs in rural Africa

After studying preventive medicine for five years, I realized that I have spent the most fruitful time of my life in this lush green campus. I visited many places in these five years, experienced pedagogical styles of different universities, felt the similarities and differences in cultures in different regions, and learned the importance of promoting health through various means. My desire to learn about different preventive measures took me to the most rural regions in Africa. It was completely shocking to experience first-hand the utter lack of the most basic needs of public health. It made me think more about the urgent and long-term plan for international medical assistance in those regions.  On the contrary, it came to my attention that all the health needs were duly tended to in developed countries without any negligence. The health facilities were so efficiently managed and I seek to replicate those management models in other countries. After I graduate, I will take with me the spirit of WHU wherever I go. I will travel far afield, broaden the horizons of my knowledge and bring positive changes in the health sector.

Yuan Shuai

Karolinska Institute

Carving my own path

I always like to step out of my comfort zone to constantly try new things and challenge myself as much as possible. Apart from my major, I took a variety of electives and tutorial classes, participated in various competitions, did part-time jobs and engaged in innovation and entrepreneurial projects. In my opinion, four years of college are not limited to gain professional knowledge. It is the golden period of experimentation which gives us boundless opportunities to get in touch with new things. I was at my academic zenith during these years, if I say so myself. I am grateful to WHU for providing such a liberal, flexible and inclusive platform to learn, to deal with busy schoolwork and at the same time have my own "life." The most important quality I learned in college has to be my ability to fight. It’s my great magic wand in persevering despite continuous setbacks and negative temperaments. I learned to never give up in the face of the most stressful situations and find happiness in my own little moments. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, I will be pursuing master’s degree in Engineering & Project Management. We should firmly believe that the life we desire is waiting ahead of us and it’s just a matter of not giving up.

Yuxin Zhao

UC Berkeley

Making College life memorable

Playing pranks on friends is something we all do in our college days. Passing silly jokes, confiding our secrets and hanging around with our buddies form the best part of our life experiences. College dormitories abound with floating stories of crazy pranks pulled by students. An idea borne out of someone’s brilliant mind is put into practice to evoke peals of laughter. One time, I decided to do a bit of leg-pulling to a roommate. He likes to wear his hat and down jacket in the bedroom during winter. When he has to use the bathroom, he leaves them behind. So, I put some books on his chair and covered them with his jacket. I put his hat on top of a water bottle to make it appear like a sleeping person. When he came out of the bathroom humming cheerfully, he saw the lying “person” and took a step back in shock. We watched him tremble as he walked towards his chair. He later told us that at that time, he even thought the figure lying on his chair was actually him and we all had a hearty laugh.

Zezhou Xu

New York University

Changing sensibilities towards interior design

After studying environmental design for four years, it has come to my knowledge that interior design in China is intuitively misinterpreted as “interior decoration”. It is painful to see how such a holistic and integrated discipline, widely favored in the West, is snubbed in my home country. I believe that the purpose of interior design is to point out errors in interior space and fix them in order to improve domiciliary conditions.  This aphorism conceptualizes the basic notion of interior design, which is most certainly not limited to “decoration”. I plan to improve my designing skills by infusing psychological elements to interior design with respect to color, texture, scale and structural integrity and hopefully change peoples’ perception of interior design. I also want to adopt new approaches to deal with current housing problems and become an ingenious and celebrated interior designer in the near future.

Zhang Xuan

Pratt Institute School of Design

Impressions of WHU

In all these four years, my deepest impression of WHU has been that it will always give you the best opportunity to struggle no matter what.  You will inevitably face many frustrations along the way but this university will do all it can to help you. It is such a unique journey. You will always find others walking side-by-side with you. The journey is painfully long but you will be glad to have found company like your closest friends and mentors. You will always find a friend in this journey regardless of where you are headed. That’s the charm of Wuhan University. My own journey has not been bereft of regrets. There are some unfulfilled dreams and wishes but perhaps, that’s for me to accomplish in the coming years. In my college years, I joined the student innovation center where I met my best friends.  We worked together, bonded with one another, shared each other’s feelings and played mahjong in our leisure time. Those were the most blissful and unforgettable memories of my college life. I interned as a quantitative researcher to get a deeper understanding of the application of machine learning in finance. After graduating with a degree in computer science, I have decided to pursue financial engineering in grad school. It has not been an easy decision for me but my years at WHU has given me the confidence to stand by my choice.

Zhang Yunqiu

Cornell University

A note to the amazing class of 2018

As you look forward to receiving your honors, it is important to acknowledge the sincerest efforts of all those at WHU who have made it possible- classmates who celebrated your victories and cheered you up in your lowest moments, teachers who seconded your inchoate ideas and let you pick their brains and unsung staff who ensured that you could follow your academic pursuits without a hitch.

You will soon wean the motherly care of WHU to step into this cut-throat world where creative urges and outspokenness are valued and rewarded.

Neil Gaiman’s words best sum up the zeitgeist pervading this graduation

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. ”

Cheers to you graduates!!!

May the next chapter in your lives be wondrous and full of exciting challenges.

Special thanks to Hong Chengxian, Wu Chenchen, Wang Ao, Zhang Yiwen and Wan Qian for their kind recommendations.


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