Alumni Stories: Linda Fu, University of Edinburgh |

Alumni Stories: Linda Fu, University of Edinburgh

By Marco De Novellis

Updated May 11, 2018 Updated May 11, 2018

Between 2016 and 2017, over 95,000 Chinese students came to the UK to pursue higher education—more than any other nationality – while 86 percent of UK schools boast China as their largest source of international students, according to a 2016 report by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS).

The UK, then, is an extremely popular study destination for Chinese students. One of these students is Linda Fu, who studied law at undergraduate level and enjoyed a successful career in her native China before taking the leap and moving to work for state-owned investment firm ZYXC in Paris. As commercial director for the region, she led a team expanding investment for the Chinese government, mainly in energy in manufacturing, in Africa and Latin America.

When it came to choosing a business school, Linda’s sights were always firmly on the UK. She got offers from five schools but chose the University of Edinburgh Business School—ranked among the best in the world for career progression by the Financial Times.

Through the school, she got a sponsor for her visa and a top job in London. Today, Linda heads up the China Desk for UK-based international law firm, Addleshaw Goddard. Her clients include Bank of China and the Beijing Construction Engineering Group.

Plus, she’s giving back to the city she loves—she recently worked to help Edinburgh Airport secure a new direct route to China with Hainan Airlines.

BusinessBecause caught up with Linda to find out more.

How did you land an MBA job in the UK?

The business school was really helpful in creating opportunities for MBAs to connect with industry leaders, with a full program of networking events for students and recent alumni to meet potential employers.

It was at one of these events I made a connection with a local investment director. He introduced me to the senior partner of HBJ Gately (later to become Addleshaw Goddard), who would go on to offer me my current job.

Ultimately, a career in the UK wouldn’t have been possible without the Edinburgh MBA. The hours that student development staff spent with me, building my confidence, developing my CV, and introducing me to new networks, really made the difference. It’s down to these dedicated staff I was able to find a position with a business willing to sponsor my visa.

What advice do you have for international MBA students from China looking to do the same?

You really have to push yourself and be willing to go outside of your comfort zone. Many Chinese students lack confidence to participate in business events and networking. It’s a cultural thing; we tend to be shy, especially when talking to local businesses.

That said, I’ve also seen a number of international students who overcompensate by acting how they think a UK business person ‘should’ act. It just comes across as false.

It’s much better to use the support on offer, and to feel confident in the unique skills, beliefs and cultural perspectives you have. You can adapt to the British business culture, but it’s OK to stay true to yourself too.

Why did you decide to pursue the Edinburgh MBA?

Coming from a law background to have responsibility for marketing, negotiating, and contracting at ZYXC was a steep learning curve. It taught me a lot but I still felt I lacked some key commercial and leadership skills. After much thought, I decided to take the plunge, pause my career and pursue an MBA.

I received offers from five programs in the UK. With its beauty and internationalism, Edinburgh already had my attention, but when I received a call from the then University of Edinburgh Business School MBA Director, Inger Seiferheld, I instantly felt a human connection.

We talked for more than an hour. She allayed any concerns I had and talked about Edinburgh’s supportive environment, even explaining the services on offer to help me practice my Buddhist beliefs. After that, my decision was easy.

How useful are websites like BusinessBecause for MBA applicants?

The most valuable resource for any MBA applicant are the real experiences of people who’ve walked your path before you. Reading about people like yourself on BusinessBecause, who’ve had to go through similar challenges but ultimately benefited from the experience, is especially useful and inspirational.

This article was originally published in May 2018 .

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Written by

Marco De Novellis is a business journalist and editor of BusinessBecause. BusinessBecause is a trusted source of business school news, with punchy daily editorial about the lives of MBAs and the career paths they choose, as well as practical resources for b-school applicants.



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