In 2006, George Liu, EMBA ’08, was running Baili Neck Tie Company, an exporter of silk accessories such as scarves and neckties. He’d created the company in 1998, and at the time it was estimated that Baili controlled one-third of the American market share. He also exported to Europe. Yet Liu still wanted to expand his business, so he decided to go back to school.
“I wanted to make my company a leader in the international market,” he says. He also wanted to learn about American management styles and gain an international perspective. When he discovered the joint Executive MBA program at Fudan University and Washington University, he knew it was the program for him.
“I learned so much from my classmates and the courses about American management,” he says. The American management system emphasized having a standard procedure for purchasing, production and other business operations. In China, Liu says, the emphasis was less on standardization and more on relationships.
“Learning the American way was very important to me,” Liu says. In fact, after graduating, Liu decided to buy an American wholesaler.
“The wholesaler was No. 3 in the American market,” Liu says. “So I thought that year I could buy the company and make big money.” But due to regulations, he was not able to purchase the company. Instead, he decided to create his own brand in China.
By 2010, Liu was president of Binger Silk Co., Ltd., a brand that capitalizes on China’s long tradition as a silk exporter (the country has been the top silk producer in the world for thousands of years), by offering traditionally woven silk bedding and accessories but with modern looks.
“With Binger, I connected Chinese culture, Chinese art and international arts, as well as international fashion,” Liu says. “Now, I’m successfully running my company in Shanghai. This is my success story and what I learned how to do while getting my EMBA.”