Paris Campus

Interview of Jack Ilmonen, DBA student

Can you introduce yourself and share with us your academic and professional background?

I am an Adjunct Professor of Finance at Webster University, MO, USA, teaching MBA students at the Shanghai campus. I have been leading a management consultancy team in Shanghai, China, for over twenty years. My team is focusing on China market entries for international SME companies, business development projects, building online sales channels, team building and recruiting, venture capital projects and M&A transactions. 

After I earned my Master degree in Finance, I worked in my early career as a fund manager for European Bio-Pharma companies, TMT investments. Then I moved to USA, as a Fulbright Scholar, to earn a MBA at Vanderbilt University and worked as an investment analyst at Legg Mason Inc. in Baltimore. I learned the USA capital markets inside out.

Then I decided to move from USA to China and started my 20 year career as a management consultant in China and Asia. It has been a great adventure and a rewarding career!

As a recognition of my achievements for my Finnish clients, I was awarded the highest honorary medal of business achievements, the Iron Cross, in 2020, by the Chamber of Commerce of Finland. I have supported USA based VC Funds and some of my clients are and have been leading stock listed Chinese enterprises.

Why did you choose the DBA Program of ISC Paris Business School ?

I learned about all available worldwide DBA programs for almost a year, focusing on 1) relevant DBA faculty work experience, 2) reputation as an elite university among TOP corporations and investors, and 3) country of origin. Only Switzerland, France and USA were shortlisted. When I learned about the attentive and proactive professors at ISC DBA program, customized research support and reputation of ISC from my French friends, it was easy to make the decision. I am truly grateful and lucky to have had such an awesome co-operation with my supervisor, the DBA professors and other DBA students at ISC!   

Can you tell us about your experience as a student at ISC Paris Business School ?

My experience at ISC started with a long conversation with the DBA Chairman Dr. Karim Ben Slimane, for a few times. Dr. Karim wanted to know my specific reasons and motivations to earn a DBA and he made quite a few questions about my research plans and career ambitions. After I was accepted to ISC I started a long productive supervisor-student co-operation with Professor Andrew Zylstra, who has persistently helped me focus, focus and focus through our bi-weekly meetings in the past years. 

The research has been as tough as exciting for the past 5 years, since I started my DBA. I feel like Frodo in the “Lord of the Rings”. I left my small cozy world, travelled far to uncharted places, solved many problems and riddles, read a lot of magic books, met with numerous Wizards during my amazing journey, full of dangers, potholes and desperation and in the end, I became Wizard Gandalf myself!

“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”

African Proverb

Can you tell us about your research project ?

China’s healthcare market is growing from current US$ 1,1 trillion, to US$ 2.4 trillion by 2030, (NHC). The demographics of the population is disproportionately moving towards the 65+ retired citizens, who in average consume four times more healthcare products and services than the population in average. 

The only realistic method with which China can deliver healthcare value to its 1.4 billion citizens, urban and rural, are the online medical services companies, like Alibaba Health and Good Doctor, also WeDoctor and JD health. 

My research reveals the role of Chinese consumers’ perceived quality and its financial effect on the customer based corporate valuations of these companies, applying the leading STEEEP healthcare quality attributes: Safety, Timeliness, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Equality and Patient Centeredness.

The results have been amazing: one point (Likert Scale) of improved perceived quality increases the valuations by 5% and one point lost decreases the valuation by 11%! All STEEEP attributes have a unique financial effect on these valuations. If the STEEEP attributes are not optimized, these companies lose significant magnitude of valuations and vice versa. It’s a huge opportunity, quality matters!

Why would you recommend the ISC Paris DBA program to future students?

I certainly want to recommend the professional and inspiring ISC DBA to all managers and leaders, in any international location, who are ambitious and progressive by nature, who wish to maximize their leverage to create new value in their organization and business sectors and who wish to fly higher, like the famous Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  

Put in another way: do you want to be a McDonalds cook (I love MCD) or a Paul Bocuse Chef?

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