China native Ying Meng is making the most of his new life in America.
A little more than two years after Meng moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, from his homeland, he graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the USC Aiken online program. Meng is the first person in his immediate family to earn a graduate degree.
"I wanted a better degree," Meng said. "Now that it has been 10 years since my undergraduate degree, I have to think about my career development. I figured the master's degree will be a much better benefit for my career development, so I decided to go back to school. I started in January 2018 and finished in December of the same year. It was quick."
Meng earned a bachelor's degree in engineering technology from Qingdao University of Science and Technology. He has worked for Sweden-based Trelleborg Wheel Systems since 2012.
After working as an industrialization leader for four years in China, Meng transferred to the United States and became a research and development manager to support a new company plant. Meng and his wife, Yuanyuan Tang, who also earned a bachelor's degree in China, are raising their son, Albert (4), in the U.S.
"It's a great job," Meng said. "I don't have any plans to leave now. There are a lot of differences between the China and U.S. cultures. Generally speaking, I like it very much. My family also likes it here. The traffic in Spartanburg is much more accommodating and the air is much better here than in the city where I worked in China. We love the food here, too."
Right on Time
The fully online format and accelerated pace of the MBA program allowed Meng to add homework to an already busy life. He chose the USC Aiken School of Business Administration for a few reasons.
"In order to go back to school and earn a better degree, I had to learn more and still work, and the online format was the best way for me to both," he said. "I chose USC Aiken because I went online and saw that it is a good school in South Carolina. I looked at the content of the MBA program and liked it. Plus, the tuition is not so high."
Meng completed 10 core courses and three foundation courses in the online MBA curriculum. His two favorite courses were FINA A718: Financial Analysis for Decision Making and MGMT A728: Operations Management.
"Those two courses were the most useful for me because I am in the operations department at my job," he said. "For example, there is some methodology about lean manufacturing and also some tools I can use to improve our quality and the measurement field."
Meng believes the most important skill to have in an online degree program is effective time management.
"You have to work, make time for your family, and learn," he said. "You have to make a plan and follow it."
New World Man
Although Meng was in the online MBA program for a short amount of time, he appreciates having his loved ones cheer him along the way. He's obviously used to working quickly.
"I am sentimental about it because my family and friends supported me while I was earning my MBA," he said. "They also attended the graduation ceremony to see me get my degree. They were excited and proud of me. I'm glad that I did it."
Meng, who enjoys sports and traveling with his family, recently took part in a ritual that is practically mandatory for any newcomer to the United States.
"We went to Disney World in Orlando over the Thanksgiving holiday and liked it a lot," he said. "We usually get back home to China once a year. We last went there in July 2018. I miss it a little bit."
However, Meng is brimming with excitement about having a master's degree to add to his work experience and seeing where the future will take him and his family in the United States.
"I have some career goals," he said. "After another 5-10 years of working in the field, I want to go into senior management, although I like the research and development job that I have now.
"At the same time, I wanted the MBA to improve my leadership skills to become a general manager or a director. I believe the MBA will help me get there. I got great value out of the program."
Learn more about the USC Aiken online MBA program.
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