Tracy Zhu, MBA candidate, is the first international student from China to join the Robins School of Business since the MBA program’s inception. Zhu, who is from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, will be studying in The Richmond MBA program for the fall semester of 2010.

In Zhu’s consideration of international business schools to visit, she was set on the United States and attending a well-reputed university. “The United States was my first choice during electing exchange destinations because the country [provides] the most advanced level of business study.  And among the options I had, the Robins School and the University of Richmond boast a higher reputation,” she said.

Tom Cosse, Associate Dean for International Programs said of the partnership between the Robins School and Tsinghua, “The Robins School is honored to be one of Tsinghua SEM's international partner schools. And we are delighted that our Tracy Zhu is our first Tsinghua MBA exchange student.”

Zhu is currently enrolled in three courses this semester within the program: Legal, Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Business; Mergers and Acquisitions and New Venture Creation. The biggest difference Zhu has noticed through her classes this semester is the collaborative environment that The Richmond MBA program fosters.

“What I like most about this program is free and positive communication between the students and the professors, as well as among the students, which makes you constantly think and desire to improve yourself,” Zhu said.

Her classes in China are more lecture-based instead of being geared towards discussion. Zhu says of The Richmond MBA classroom: “The difference is that the students here are more willing to share opinions in class. However, in China, most students prefer to listen to what the professors say in class.”

As much as Zhu is learning from the classroom experience at the University and dialogue with her peers, she has been most influenced by Western culture.  “I think the most important thing I will gain from my experience will not be from any technology or calculation about business. It will be the culture, both U.S. culture and Western culture,” she said.

Zhu sees learning about U.S. and Western culture as critical in her MBA education.  “With rapid globalization, it is believed that there have been and will be more and more interactions between China and U.S., and between Eastern and Western [cultures]. It is necessary to understand each other well to eliminate obstacles in the future,” Zhu said.

Looking to the future, Zhu sees herself working within the business sector in some role that benefits society as a whole.  “I’d like to place Corporate Social Responsibility as one of my career directions in the future. I hope my work will not only add value to the company, but also bring benefits to more people in society,” she said.