PHBS International Alumni's Stories in Shenzhen
Since its inception, PHBS has trained a large number of business leaders, entrepreneurs and top managers, forming a vibrant community and a powerful network of 1,700 alumni in 64 countries. Drawn to diverse opportunities, many international alumni are now running their own businesses or pursuing careers in China. 

Five shared their experience at PHBS and their stories in Shenzhen.

André Georgi
(Germany, Class of 2013)

André Georgi earned his master’s degree in management and then joined Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the “Big Three” strategy consulting firms (BCG, McKinsey and Bain), as an associate consultant. During his four years at BCG, Georgi has acquired cross-cultural work experience in Europe, China and the US. With his Chinese language proficiency as a plus in his career, Georgi is currently based in the Greater Bay Area as a project leader, focusing on new venture build and digital transformation. “PHBS is a great example and representation of Shenzhen,” remarked Georgi, referring to the school’s continuous improvement of the quality of its teaching and facilities.

“ All the case studies at PHBS helped improve my strategic thinking, which is a core part of my job now at BCG,” Georgi continued. “The school also helped me observe different cultures, making me a more tolerant and open-minded person. PHBS has international faculty and many students from different countries, and the classes are in English. All these really helped me develop a much broader of view the world and helped me to combine my Western view with my Chinese view. Right now joining PHBS must be one of the coolest things that students can do if they are interested in China.”


John Rood
(USA, Class of 2014)

John Rood earned a master’s degree in quantitative finance. He co-founded Somos Digital in Shenzhen, a creative digital marketing agency specializing in digital strategy and campaign execution for e-commerce merchants, disruptive tech brands and innovative startups. Rood said that coursework at PHBS, like corporate finance, is knowledge that he uses regularly to run the business. In addition, Rood said it was at the school where he met one of his business partners. He concluded that the whole experience of studying at PHBS gave him a much better advantage of starting a company here and actually succeeding with it.

“ Working in Shenzhen is crazy,” Rood said. “Our clients are very demanding. They move very fast at ‘Shenzhen speed.’ So we are expected to work much faster and longer and harder. I think it is actually a very big advantage being here in Shenzhen, because we get to see these really amazing new products coming out.”

Jan Smejkal
(Czech Republic, Class of 2015)

Jan Smejkal graduated with a master’s degree in management. Currently based in Shenzhen, he is the co-founder and partner at 5X ventures, investing in hardware entrepreneurs, and the founder of The Dinner, which hosts exclusive networking events in China and around the globe. Jan managed to scale Startup Grind, the world's largest startup community, to 100+ cities in Asia (including 25+ cities in China), and was featured on the LinkedIn Power Profiles List 2018 as one of the most viewed and engaged members of LinkedIn China (alongside Kai Fu Lee from Sinovation Ventures, and many others). Currently, he also works as an associate at Credit Suisse to leverage its global platform resources to provide advisory services to clients worldwide.

“ The biggest takeaway, apart from all the knowledge and lessons, is also the network, the connections and the friendships that I made at PHBS,” Smejkal said. “There are a lot of businesses from all over the world that actually want to learn more about China, specifically technology ecosystem and entrepreneurship in Shenzhen. I used the support from PHBS to get the entrepreneurship visa which allowed me to be in Shenzhen for one more year and look for opportunities and see what kind of companies I could potentially set up.”

Erdi Tac
(Turkey,Class of 2015)

Erdi Tac earned his master’s degree in management. Before he found his true passion, education, Tac had several start-up experiences, for instance, cofounding KOLFirm, a company that helps foreign companies enter China through e-commerce. “Now I’m working on KOLFirm Education, a company that provides fun and practical teaching material for training centers and trains teachers,” he reported.

“ Before I came to PHBS, I had in mind to start my own company, but I didn’t know how to do it in China. How did PHBS help? In my first year, there was a competition called the HULT Prize. The school encouraged and supported us to compete in this entrepreneurship event. In addition, I received great help from the faculty members to build connections and initiate what I’m doing now.” Tac, married to a Chinese woman, has settled in Shenzhen.



Markey Tan
(Thailand, Class of 2015)

Markey Tan, holding a master’s degree in management, has more than four years’ experience in China, especially in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Tan co-founded China Channel, which provides consulting and research for organizations wanting to understand and build their strategy for WeChat and China's digital ecosystem; and Greater Bay Sharing Forum, a nonprofit conference that connects the global tech communities located in this region. Currently, she also serves as strategy and event manager at AngelHub, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission licensed startup investment platform for professional investors and global startups raising growth capital.
“ I am passionate about technology, entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem in China, especially in the Greater Bay Area,” Tan said. “During my studies at PHBS, I got involved in the Youth Entrepreneur Association and Student Union. I couldn’t have chosen a better city in which to study. Shenzhen was, and still remains, a dream come true for my entrepreneurial mind, with all of its resources at my fingertips and the support of a great international community of entrepreneurs.”
By Annie Jin 
Edited by Priscilla Young

From PHBS Magazine Spring 2020 (Read More)