Luo Sumian(Viola)

Mainland China

Thunderbird University

Master of Business Administration

Class of 2012


Viola at her Thunderbird GraduationFirst, I must open by saying how grateful I am for the Thunderbird Assistance Fund for Asian Students (TAFAS) and those associated with the program. My life and everything I am is a testament to their commitment to developing success among those in the developing world. Their support for education and personal growth is a testament to the spirit of the Hinrich Foundation.

Having grown up in a small, rural town in Southern China, the thought of western education, global mindset, or even big city life often escaped me. To many who know Chinese culture, it might be said that I lived a very traditional life. I have always been expected to follow a similar path of those before me.

However, something magical happened to me when I started working for Global Sources in 2006. First, I was exposed to a global company with so many western leaders. This was a big change for a small city girl who had never seen a western business operate. I was beginning the greatest and most rewarding journey of my life.

Soon after starting at Global Sources, I learned about an opportunity to apply for a scholarship which would allow me to study in the United States at Thunderbird School of Global Management. After reviewing the requirements I starting studying for the GMAT, practicing my English writing skills, and completing the scholarship requirements. This process was one of the most stressful of my life. Daily, I was pushing myself to study for the GMAT because the opportunity is so important for me. This hunger grew more and more and I never relented in my pursuit of more.

After learning that I was offered the TAFAS scholarship at Thunderbird, I felt I was the luckiest person in the world. No words could begin to describe the joy I felt. I am the same girl who grew up in that small town in China, in a town where no one ever ventures too far from. Plain and simple, the scholarship opened not just a new chapter in my life, but it fundamentally changed my life, who I am, and my entire mindset about what I am capable of achieving.

Two years at Thunderbird had huge impact on me. I had classes with people from every corner of the world and each classroom discussion was met with different views on life and perspectives on issues I had never been exposed to. I learned it is very important to have an open mindset in dealing with people and cultures. It is by this openness that allows the world to operate more freely and pursue the greater good for all mankind.

After graduating from Thunderbird, I had the privilege of re-joining Global Sources as an MBA Management Trainee. So far, I’ve been in the position for a few months and I have learned so much everyday from the company.   It is amazing how differently I view business after my two years at Thunderbird. I learned not to just be a business student, but to be a student of business. I now explore situations and ask questions that delve deep into issues.

Looking back at just a few years ago, I could not imagine my life the way as it is today. I am working in a dynamic environment where I am being challenged every single day. I have traveled to parts of the world that I barely knew existed before starting Thunderbird. I am on track to continue my personal growth in unimaginable ways and professionally, the sky is the limit. Most importantly, I now know that life is more than my little hometown in Southern China. I now believe in myself and know that I can make a difference in the world. Today, I can say that the scholarship not only allowed me to dream dreams I never thought possible, it also allowed me to live those same dreams.