‘It’s a fantastic continuation of my student journey’: Suwei Jiang on her role as a member of the Alumni Association Committee

Suwei Jiang (MBA 1997) moved to the UK from China in 1996, a year before joining the University of Bristol to study for her MBA in International Business. After graduating, she joined PwC as an Associate, and she is now a partner leading the China Business Group in London. She is also an advisory board member for the Confucius Institute for Business at LSE, an ambassador for the Women in Finance network in China, a mentor for the 30% club and a member of the University of Bristol’s Alumni Association Committee.

Suwei shares some of her university memories, her reasons for joining the Committee and why she finds it so rewarding giving back to her alumni community.

Why did you choose to come to Bristol? What were your favourite parts of being a student?
I came to Bristol in September 1996, one year after arriving in the UK from China. I was attracted by the unique set up of the MBA curriculum at Bristol, and my first impression of the city was fantastic. I was part of a very diverse student community on the MBA course, which opened my mind up to the world and to different cultures and ways of thinking.

What made you choose to study an MBA?
The MBA programme at the time was set up to focus on International Business, which is a subject I had a particular interest in. Most of the modules were taught by visiting professors from other top Business Schools like INSEAD and Harvard. This meant that we didn’t have fixed weekly timetables, but a rolling modular learning approach centred around visiting academics being in Bristol for a week or two at a time. It was intense, but I thoroughly enjoyed the access to a lot of top business minds in one place.

How did your experience at Bristol inform your life or career beyond study?
I started to develop a very diverse and open-minded view of the world while I was at Bristol. I had constant exposure to different perspectives and opinions from the visiting professors, but also from my fellow students who came from over 28 countries and had a huge range of professional backgrounds and experiences. It was completely eye opening for a 21-year-old to be on a course so rich in academia and lived experiences.

As a partner at PwC, can you describe a typical working day?
There isn’t really a typical day, which is the most exciting part of my job. I cover China/Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, so I can get involved in all kinds of projects across all sectors in different shapes or forms. It can range from more traditional services such as accounting and tax compliance to more topical subjects in AI, and digital transformation. My clients could be FTSE100 groups, as well as family offices and high net worth individuals. The diversity of my client base, the markets I cover, and the nature of projects I lead mean that I need to be prepared for all sorts of surprises every day and be prepared to learn new things and cope with unexpected situations.

Suwei on her graduation day in 1997.

When did you join the Alumni Association Committee, and why did you decide to join?
I joined the Committee over four years ago when it was first set up. I was asked by Dr Erik Lithander, the then Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement to consider joining the Committee as an international representative, especially covering China and Asia. I was already involved with graduation ceremonies in China and some of the alumni activities during my frequent business trips back to the region, therefore it became a natural extension for me to get involved formally at Committee level.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for a position on the Alumni Association Committee?
It has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. I met some fantastic people both on the Committee, at the University and with other alumni. It felt like a fantastic continuation of my student journey at Bristol, only this time I’m also able to give something back to the community, while still learning a lot from everyone involved.

Why is the University of Bristol’s alumni community so important?
Bristol’s alumni community is a crucial part of the infrastructure to strengthen engagement between alumni, the University and current students. Relationships between all these stakeholder groups is a very important part of the continuing development and lasting legacy of the University. I believe that we all have a role to play in ensuring its success.

Alumni Association Committee members are ambassadors for the University and play a key role in building an engaged and inclusive global alumni community. Click here for more information on the Alumni Association Committee, and to apply for a position.

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