Alumna Claire Ye - KI Alumni China Ambassador

Claire Ye

Facts about Claire Ye

Born: 1986 in Hangzhou, China 

KI Degree: Master's degree in Bioentrepreneurship, 2010

Interests: Traveling: I have been to 39 countries and regions, I have been a guest speaker of travel sharing events/radio channels as well as a freelancer for travel magazines. The next destinations are Mexico and Cuba. I also enjoy horseback riding and reading.

Claire's story - From China to Sweden - and back...

It was none other than Alfred Nobel himself who awakened biologist Claire Ye’s interest for Sweden and Karolinska Institutet…and her curiosity paid off. Claire arrived in Stockholm to study Bioentrepreneurship at KI in 2010. After graduation, Claire returned to China and has applied her KI education to help build up one of China’s leading international hospitals and  to connect KI’s alumni in China. 

From the beginning...

In the fall of 2008, 22 year old Claire Ye looked down from her airplane window and saw Sweden for the first time. She remembers it very clearly.

- It was so beautiful! says Claire Ye over a surprisingly clear phone line from Shanghai. There were so many trees and lakes. It was such a contrast to China where everything is grey. 

Walking out from the central station in Stockholm, she was struck by how the people also differed so much from her native country.

- In China, everyone looks the same and wears the same clothes. Here, I saw people with different ethnic background, skin color and clothes that expressed themselves as individuals. It was wonderful.  

Claire had just finished her biotechnology studies at Fudan University and was now going to live in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, to take part of at two year study program at Karolinska Institutet. She first heard about the university when she took a course about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize. Being curious about the distinguished institution that elects the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Claire started browsing the internet for international courses given there. But back then, in 2005, there were none. But Claire could not let go of her dream to study in Sweden. Two years later, she searched the internet again and found the newly started program in bioentrepreneurship. She decided to apply for the program right away.

I was attracted by the practical set up of the program which included internships at different companies in the life science sector. I really wanted to get to know the industry so it was perfect. 

Claire remembers her years at Karolinska Institutet as a very pleasant and of her life and she had the opportunity to take part in the student life on and outside campus. Once she got to know the Swedes, her first impression of them was strengthened. She describes the people in Sweden as very sincere; no one is trying to be someone else.

- The Swedes are very nice people, even though they are a bit shy, especially the guys, she says laughing.
But the thing she appreciated the most was the close connection between the university and the industry.

Besides the internships people from the industry also gave lectures during the courses. This gave me the real life experience that I was looking for.

A KI degree goes a long way…

Upon her return to China, Claire was offered a position as a product manager at the Swedish company Getinge. The company focuses on products for infection control in the healthcare sector and contamination prevention in the biotech sector. She did an external consulting project for the company and got in touch with the people working there.

"The evening after I gave the final presentation and turned in the report, they called me and offered me a job. It was just two months after I got home from Sweden so I was very happily surprised!" 

Today, Claire is the Senior Manager of Marketing, Product & Service at Jiahui Health, an integrated healthcare system based in Shanghai, where she’s worked intensely the past month to facilitate the opening of a new main hospital campus. Her job is mainly to work closely with medical leaders and the management team to determine the positioning and strategy of different service lines across all of their medical sites. She also works across various internal functions to implement strategy from introducing new services, performing regular financial reviews and seeking improvement, as well as collaborating with external business partners/clients to promote the service.

Keeping in touch…

Despite a busy work-life schedule, Claire quickly realized the power of professional networking, so she decided to start a WeChat group for fellow KI Alumni in China. Today, there are over 50 contacts in this network with an age range from 20-60, who use WeChat to share job opportunities, communicate regarding visits from KI researchers or leadership, and for social meet-ups.

Why is this network important for her to foster? 

"China is under a great reform of its healthcare system and we see a rapid development in this industry in recent years across all sectors (service, pharmacy, devices, insurance, etc.) with government support and investment from the society. People are eager to learn new technologies, service models, and any kind of innovation within and outside of China. As KI is a university focused on healthcare and medical sciences, all our alumni are professionals with a passion in healthcare. Each of us is spread throughout different sectors and has unique expertise, insights, connections within healthcare. Thus, this is a very specialized alumni network, which - I believe - if we are able to connect our alumni well, it will create value not only for ourselves as individual but also for the industry in general." 

Interviewed by: Camilla Wernersson, Informatörspoolen, Karolinska Institutet, 2012.

Text revised and updated by KI Alumni Relations Office, 2018.