Interview with Ketian Dou, BBS global MBA alumna

7 May 2024

Can you share with us your journey after completing the Global MBA program? How did the program shape your career trajectory?

After graduating from GMBA, I started consulting simultaneously as I worked in the luxury fashion industry. I was the Head of Greater China Business at SSENSE, a multi-brand eCommerce retailer that carries 500+ designer brands, many of which the Design, Fashion & Luxury Goods students would be familiar with (Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Balmain, Bottega Veneta, Brunello Cucinelli, Cartier, ChristianLouboutin, Dolce&Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Max Mara, Saint Laurent, Thom Browne, Valentino, Versace, just to start).

My BBS studies trained me for the critical skills required for this role: a combination of familiarity with European luxury brands, familiarity with the emerging markets of luxury goods, as well as business and marketing knowledge.

Then, I started working for a digital marketing agency as the Head of Strategy, and was responsible for the marketing performance of 30 accounts.

I worked across different sectors from financial products to non-profit developed a good feel of core marketing skills that are transferrable no matter what the industry. That’s when I started teaching Marketing. I moved to the United States to work for Udemy Inc, an online course marketplace that gained tremendous momentum during the pandemic (as people were home, online, and seeking alternative ways to learn new skills). I was the Head of Paid Social and Influencer Marketing, and had the good fortune to be a part the company’s IPO journey (Udemy Inc became public listed on Nasdaq in 2021).

Today, I work on Amazon’s central marketing team (if you happen to be browsing on social media and see an ad from Amazon: that’s my team’s work) while teaching graduate-level Marketing programs.



What aspects of your Global MBA experience do you find most relevant to your role at Amazon today?

I am rather confident that without the Global MBA experience, I would not have the opportunities I have today. Although having pursued a minor in Commerce during my undergraduate studies, I came from a highly technical background (Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering) before BBS. Imagine me trying to make a career transition from Engineering to Marketing – I would probably start from an entry-level role in Marketing, and working my way up over the years. Within a year of MBA studies, I learned Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Corporate Management, Design and Branding, among other foundational courses, and had hands-on experience working with multiple brands.

By the time I graduated, I already acted like a leader and was treated as such – in fact, I was quoted as the industry expert in many consulting projects and leading a 19-person task-force at my full-time job. I

would say that the time I spent studying at BBS was the most efficient way to accelerate my career transition.


Beyond your role at Amazon, you’re also involved in teaching at West Virginia University and now in BBS. How do you balance your responsibilities between your corporate role and academia, and how does your experience in both the corporate world and academia influence your perspective on marketing strategies and product development?

It might sound crazy, but I can’t imagine having one without another, so the “balance” comes from doing both. My work enriches my teaching, and teaching brings inspiration to my work. One of Amazon’s Leadership Principles is “success and scale bring broad responsibility”. In order to work on some of the largest digital campaigns in the world by scale, I am trained to think through decisions very thoroughly and back them up with as much data as possible (that means supporting data and counter data, just to consider all sides). This mentality is needed not just for marketing – wouldn’t you agree that if each person thinks more deeply about their decisions and seek more data, we will altogether make better choices for the world? Additionally, everything I know is thanks to the teachers and mentors who shared their wisdoms, so I am truly humbled to pass down their gifts with a flavor of my personal experience. Another Amazon Leadership Principle is “learn and be curious”, so if I wasn’t learning about new trends, technologies, and mental models from and for my students, I would spend the time learning on my own to bring innovation to my work anyways.



What advice would you give to current MBA students aspiring to follow his/her own career path after completing the master?

Make your desired career path known to people. I am constantly floored by the wealth of network and resources our School offers. During my studies, I was asked “what do you want to do?” many times, and every time I answer the question, I would get one of four things: (1) the person shares me their thoughts on my goal (words of support or critical feedback – both are great); (2) the person shares what they want to do; (3) the person tells me about something cool or someone who is doing cool things in that domain, even if they just read about it; (4) the person knows someone I should talk to about my desired career path. Depending on the person, you might learn something new, make a new friend, or gain a new opportunity. How great is this deal?



What do you think is the added value of the BBS Global MBA in Bologna?

(Bias alert!) I naturally enjoy getting to know different people and cultures, and have deep love for Italy (I learned Italian by studying 5 minutes every day for 7 years, without failing).

Bologna is a wholesome city to become acquainted with Italy and build long-lasting friendships. It offers everything you will need as a student without being too overwhelming to navigate. As the student capital of Italy, you will not run out of activities, as long as you look.

I found local Italians to be helpful and kind (additionally, I never had an issue that the BBS team couldn’t resolve). In fact, I met my two best friends (both Italian) during my time in Bologna. I visit Italy every year for weeks at a time, and know that I always have a place to stay in Bologna. I still chat with my Italian landlord, my classmates all over the world, and the BBS team. It’s been almost 10 years.

I hope my testimonial above speaks volumes for how much the BBS Global MBA and the city have to offer.


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