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What is Your Objective?

By Linda Barrett

December 12, 2023

Qian Xia

The fast-developing insurance industry was new to China. Qian Xia (RMI MBA ’15), with a new undergraduate degree, had spent almost a decade working in the insurance sector. Fascinated by how Chinese regulation was always catching up rather than leading the industry, Qian wondered what it was like in more developed markets. Eager to expand her knowledge, her objective was to enroll in an MBA program in the UK or the US. Wisconsin’s RMI MBA appealed to her due to its stellar reputation and personal attention with small class sizes that outshone other programs.

Qian enjoyed her experience in the RMI MBA program, with the aspect she valued the most being the robust and supportive alumni network—a sentiment that endures to this day. Qian expressed, “We have a close-knit alumni network. When I’m puzzled, I feel comfortable asking for opinions in the RMI community. We help and support one another. And we especially love to put time and effort into our current students.”

Qian’s summer internship during the program was at CUNA Mutual Group (recently rebranded to TruStage), and afterward, she was extended an offer for a full-time role in Business Intelligence and Consumer Research in their Horizon 3 Innovation Center. She specialized in the intricacies of lean startup methodology within the financial industry, skillfully designing and evaluating consumer experiments while translating quantitative and qualitative data into strategic, actionable insights.

A little over a year ago, Qian transitioned to her current role as Strategy Consultant in TruStage’s Strategy team. Her responsibilities include strategic planning for the wealth management business line and optimizing the existing product portfolio performance. She uses risk management skills daily to evaluate various situations and solutions, and to act in the best interests of her company.

When asked about a specific piece of information that she uses the most, Qian’s answer came easily. She described, “The RMI applied learning courses provided the foundation and framework for how I view risk management. There is a systematic approach to problem solving. For example, it is important to keep at top of mind the question ‘What is the objective?’ We were asked that question constantly during our applied learning courses and it has been part of me since then.”

While Qian employs systematic approaches to fulfill her objectives at work, she clearly did not have objectives to remain in the US or to establish a family here. Sometimes a journey opens us to pleasant directions; Qian is doing both of those things and welcomed a baby daughter in August. In her words: “The program gave me and gives me so much! The positive personal and professional impacts are continuing. The RMI MBA has been a life-altering choice and I do not hesitate to recommend it highly.”