Yanyu Zheng (MBA 16), Co-Founder at All Star Partner Communications

Yanyu Zheng has been working in sports marketing since 2010 with different employers (FC Barcelona, Alisports, etc.) in different countries (China and Spain), and got her MBA from ESADE in the meantime. In fact she has always been a person with an entrepreneurial mindset and six months ago she created her first venture: All Star Partner Communications.

-Since January 2017 you co-founded All Star Partner Communications. How did the idea arise?
I graduated from Beijing Sports University and have been working in sports marketing since 2010, it is the first and the only sector that I have been focusing in my professional career. Although I have worked with different employers (FC Barcelona, Alisports, etc.) in different countries (China and Spain), and got my MBA from ESADE in the meantime, my passion and career growth has always been in the sports industry.
China is experiencing a unique moment for sports industry’s growth since 2014, sports has never got the level of government support and capital invested as it is seen today, that’s why many sport entrepreneurial projects have been created during the past years and my knowledge and resources accumulated from past professional experience allowed me to start something new with a solid foundation and better chances to succeed.
All Star Partner Communications is an agency to help top international sports intellectual properties (players, clubs and influencers, etc.) connect to the Chinese market, by enhancing the engagement with Chinese fans and the IP’s brand value, and ultimately creating new commercial opportunities.

-What are the medium-term objectives?
Becoming a sports marketing agency of reference in China. Sports marketing is in its very early stage in China, the industry has very few successful cases created yet, compared to mature markets such as Europe and US. All Star Partner Communications wishes to become an industry leader that while creating value for our clients and making the company continuously grow in a profitable way, also help set up industry standard.

-Where does your entrepreneurial initiative come from?
I have always been a person with an entrepreneurial mindset, despite creating my first venture only six months ago. Entrepreneurial spirit can be applied to many smaller decisions in life, but starting a company is of course a huge initiative to make.
I decided to take off this project also because I believe that it is the best way to make the most of myself. The new project allows me to work in a way that completely follows my own decisions in terms of what to do and how we do it.

-How has your experience in sports management and public relations (for example in Alisports and FC Barcelona) influenced to make the leap to entrepreneurship?
My experience in leading sports organizations such as FC Barcelona and Alisports helped me acquire the industry know-how and network in a very high level, which is the best resource that I can bring into a new entrepreneurial project.

-Which are the particularities of working in Beijing? What job opportunities does the city offer?
Beijing is one of the cities that offers the most interesting career opportunities in the world. It is not only a mega metropolitan city with more than 20 million people; Beijing also hosts the global headquarters of 58 Fortune500 companies. Beijing is also where technology companies are most concentrate within the country, the opportunities this city offer are unlimited and the growth here is at an extremely accelerated rhythm.

-You were the winner of the Financial Times MBA Innovation Essay Competition. What achievement are you most proud of during business school?
The achievement that I am most proud of is enhancing the impact of sports business among the community. I was leading the sports business club during my year in ESADE, and we organized many industry sports related activities in order to connect the students with sport business professionals, executives and different kinds of opportunities. My year has seen many young professionals joining the industry in leading organizations around the world, and I am very proud of that.

-You were ESADE’s Sports Business Club President. What is the biggest lesson you have learned from ESADE?
Everyone can succeed in his own way. Although we followed the same academic calendar, and often took the same courses and discussed the same cases, the takeaways for different people are very different. In the end, after we learnt the basics and a way of thinking from the school, we all have to explore our own careers by ourselves.

-What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I am most proud of having worked for Football Club Barcelona as its first Chinese employee since its foundation in 1899.
FCB has been my favorite sports team and top career choice since 2002, I had been working as hard as possible to get closer to this goal. When I graduated from university in 2011, I decided to leave China and crossed 10,000 kilometers to chase my dream in Barcelona. Months later, I succeeded in landing my dream job in FCB as my first full-time job.

-What advice would you give to alumni who want to develop their professional career in sports management?
I will absolutely encourage everyone that has a passion in sports to join the industry. There is no better thing than converting passion into career, and working in sports is something that is surrounded by positive value, fun and energy. The industry is also growing fast worldwide, especially in not less mature markets such as China. In my opinion, the best preparation that one can make is actually get started working even it is not with the best employer or with the best salary at the moment, it is much more important to find an opportunity to start working in sports business projects and start accumulating industry knowledge and network.

Yanyu Zheng
Yanyu ZhengCo-Founder, All Star Partner Communications
Bachelor of Arts (Journalism major) from Beijing Sport University, Yanyu Zheng has been the first Chinese employee in FC Barcelona and responsible of communications for China from 2012 to 2014.
Former Senior BD Manager in Alisports (Alibaba Group), in January 2017 she co-founded All Star Partner Communications: an agency to help top international sports intellectual properties (players, clubs and influencers etc.) connect to Chinese market.