Alumni Stories
Life after the Olympics | Always on the move

LIU Xuan, Founder of Rumi; Olympic Gymnastics Champion in 2000; CKGSB MBA Alumna

 

Liu Xuan is always on the move.

Before most people even begin their careers, at the age of 21, Liu Xuan—one of China’s most accomplished gymnasts of all times—bid farewell to gymnastics after winning a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, on top of the more than 10 world championship gold medals she received in her 16-year athletic career.  

Since then, her “Olympic Champion” title is no longer the only one she wears. She tested the waters in several different career paths, including as an actress, singer and TV host. While she enjoyed each endeavor, Liu Xuan confesses that it is entrepreneurship that gives her “a real sense of self.”

In 2018, Liu Xuan joined Mikibobo, a maternal and infant brand, as its co-founder and Chief Product Officer. She quickly realized how important effective management and systematic business knowledge are when running a company. “You won’t succeed if you run a company with only an interest to do so, but without the relevant knowledge needed. That would be like dancing on a balance beam with your eyes blindfolded.” With this in mind, Liu Xuan decided to go back to school and CKGSB’s MBA program was her first choice.

“I was very stressed in the very beginning of my MBA study.” Liu Xuan confessed. “Lacking a business education in my previous life, I found it hard to digest all of the new business concepts and ideas taught in class. And I was surprised to find that my classmates were even younger than me, yet they had more experience and knowledge in business and investment.”

“However, with the help of my classmates and CKGSB professors, I was able to quickly adjust my mindset and proactively learn from my peers and faculty, who inspired me to broaden my horizon. The people I met and my experience studying at CKGSB became the foundation of my business ventures that followed,” said Liu Xuan.

Upon graduation, Liu Xuan integrated her education at CKGSB with her tenacity as an athlete to start her own company, Rumi. As a company that produces slimming, nutritious food and advocates a healthy lifestyle, Rumi prioritizes on R&D to ensure her products’ quality and the business’ ecosystem are environmentally-friendly and made to last under Liu Xuan’s leadership.

Liu Xuan strives to build Rumi into a sustainable brand and lead the company with social responsibility in mind. Sometimes she would rather halt the production of marketable products to guarantee her products are safe and abide by the industry standards. “At Rumi, we initially produced skin care products. Once, I used one of our face masks before they came to the market and found that it dramatically and immediately improved my skin’s condition, so I had it tested and found that one steroidal element was 100 times higher than it should be,” shared Liu Xuan. “Of course I couldn’t allow it to enter the market as it was, so I told my team to pause their marketing plans and focus on the R&D of that product. Now my team members share my value and we are striving to produce the safest slimming foods for our customers.”

Last October, Liu Xuan was invited to write a piece for the incoming CKGSB MBA students. She looked back at her career as once an accomplished gymnast and now an emerging entrepreneur and wrote: “Learning is a life-long cause. We shall be patient, respectful, and courageous along the way. Ultimately, we will be the champion of our own life.”

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