Dai Wei (David)

Bai Xian Scholar, 2019 cohort; candidate for MBA, Hitotsubashi University (ICS). 

The opportunity to study abroad through the AFLSP has not only allowed David to discover the cultural intricacies that exist across East Asia, but has also transformed his perspectives on leadership, self-awareness, and mutual understanding.

David’s journey of cross-cultural learning began during his time as a product manager at an international kitchen appliance company.  Responsible for overseeing the Greater China market, David was tasked to learn about the needs and demands of different consumers across the region, and realized that there were many cultural similarities between countries.  This newfound understanding sparked an interest in him to learn more about East Asian cultures, which, combined with his career ambitions, led him to pursue an MBA in Japan with the AFLSP.  “I have always strived to improve myself by stepping outside my comfort zone, and so I was naturally attracted to BXAI and its mission to provide intercultural opportunities for the next generation of leaders,” he says.

As he wraps up his second year of study, David reflects back on some of his biggest personal takeaways from his AFLSP experience.  “Purpose alone, values alone, and vision alone aren’t enough to make a consistent and effective leader.  It all starts with our worldview, which requires self-awareness,” he says, highlighting the fine line between understanding oneself and obsessing about oneself.  “I used to be quite hesitant to share my opinion or lead a team, but the AFLSP has enabled me to overcome my self-doubt by not thinking less of myself, but by thinking of myself less,” says David.  “This is when I truly experienced the benefits of being part of a community.”  Through collaborative research projects at the end of his first year at ICS, David also learned that empathy is an important component of leadership.  “As a leader, you must make the choice to listen to and care about the people around you,” he muses.  “As I explored topics of East Asian politics, economics, finance, education, and media alongside fellow scholars, it was easy to see that a lack of empathy between people caused all kinds of macro-level problems.”

Studying in the midst of the pandemic, David is grateful for the valuable opportunities he has had to participate in numerous online events, network, and engage with influential leaders and experts.  He looks forward to attending a short exchange program at Seoul National University before graduation, and believes his cross-cultural experiences will prepare him well for a rewarding career as an APAC-focused product manager in the near future.