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Ian Oades - Chinese alumni ambassador

Shanghai alumni
Our international alumni ambassadors are at the heart of our global network.

They act as the linchpin for activities in their region, organise events and help raise awareness of the University where they live. Throughout February we will be asking some of our ambassadors how they got involved and what they get out of it.

This week Ian M Oades (MBA 2001-02) explains how he became involved with the alumni group in China.

Ian OadesAfter finishing the WBS full-time MBA in 2002, I returned to China through the exchange with the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and now I run a successful financial consultancy in Shanghai. Since returning, I have probably been the most active alumnus in Shanghai, taking time to meet as many alumni as possible. All the people I met had the same desire for more events but lacked organisation. We all lacked a way to meet and socialise. There was the occasional event every few years, but simply not enough to satisfy.

When the financial tsunami hit I found myself with extra time on my hands, and after drinking way too much coffee one morning, I turned some of my time to setting up an alumni network on Linkedin. After setting up the first step, that Linkedin group, the next step was social evenings. Through the site, I met people in each main pocket of alumni across China who were willing to help. So I put a couple of my staff to work collecting all the China alumni names and contact details and then compiling the database. I really was surprised how many alumni there were in China. Then I just set a date for an event with people I met on Linkedin, then started to contact everyone. Things so far have gone from strength to strength.

So far, I have found the key is to find people who are motivated and self starters in each pocket to work with, then to work with them and support them. The alumni I have met so far are from many walks of life, and positions. Pretty much pure Chinese nationals though, as one would expect from China. We have everyone from the CEOs of listed companies to retirees (very early retirees I have to add) and entrepreneurs. A good mix and a great bunch who all love the parties and the networking.

The last event I organized was on my home turf, Shanghai, and got 27 people. It was a great event with a very casual atmosphere based around playing pool and drinks. Needless to say a few people thought it was student days again and wouldn’t leave.

The alumni office were really great. After I started, they quickly joined in and added support in many ways and also promotion. From my experience this is a really great way to meet people who have common interests and backgrounds. You get what you put in, and I am getting a lot out of this so far. Definitely worth the energy.

View photos from the recent alumni gathering in Shenzen.
If you would like more information on alumni activities in China, please e-mail Ian or visit their website.
You can find more information on your nearest alumni ambassador here.