“We learn from each other”

4 March 2014

Mary_Xin_Web_HQMary Xin, participant of Executive MBA graduate class 2014, tells her story.

“Back in China, my work took up all my time, but in Sweden I could have a good work-life balance. I have the time to be a mother, to help my 11-year-old son with his homework, and to cook and play sports.” After living in Sweden for a few years, Mary completed the daunting Swedish Classic Circuit, which involves long-distance cross-country skiing, cycling, swimming and cross-country running events all within a 12 month period.

Before she began working at Volvo Cars in 2010, she had worked for Geely as Chief Representative in South Africa, Assembly Project Manager in Uganda, Ukraine and Malaysia, and Regional Sales Manager in the Asia-Pacific. Currently she works as an extended arm of Volvo Cars China Operations in Gothenburg. Mary’s strength is her knowledge about the cultural differences between China and Sweden, and between Volvo Cars and Geely.

“In China, you rely on the instructions from your manager. People may change their jobs every two years for higher positions and better compensation. But in Sweden it takes time to formulate a decision. Maybe this can be explained by the fact that people working for Volvo Cars in Sweden know the company history and have been employed for a long time. In China, Volvo Cars has a short history and therefore you can be promoted to a manager position quickly.”

Mary joined the programme in 2012 in order to systematically improve her managerial skills and her intercultural competence. “Above all I’m fascinated by the teambuilding in class. We work in teams and listen, discuss and learn from each other. Each participant has something to add. In China, this type of interactive education is uncommon. I have learnt the benefit of planning before acting in business situations. This is something I’d like to share with Chinese managers. Although decisions may take longer to reach, the implementation and the end results are better.