Beijing, China, August 22, 2019 – Robert Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of VISTA Equity Partners, today visited Schwarzman College of Tsinghua University, and spoke about “leadership”, together with guest questioner Bai Xiaoqing, Managing Director of China Investment Corporation.
Robert Smith talking about the contribution of leadership and technology to social progress
Robert Smith began by sharing his understanding of “leadership” with the audience. He believes that every successful person should strive for sustainable development and contribute to society. By comparing the Chinese dream with the American dream, he noticed that both countries share the same goal of building a better society. Leaders in all walks of life are those who lead others to achieve great visions. They need to set an example by personally taking part, do what they believe is right, think about the impact of their decisions, and take full responsibility for their actions. Future leaders should understand that business practices should not only focus on profits, but also consider sustainable business models. To achieve this goal, there is a need to focus on talent investment and provide skills (and other) training to help them develop. This way makes it possible to maintain the influence of sustainability, and bring more driving force to enterprises to achieve the sustainability of talents, resources and culture.
Robert Smith (left) and Bai Xiaoqing in conversation with students
After explaining the meaning of “leadership”, Robert Smith defined "success" as the pursuit of the option value of life. Early in his career, he said, he tried to create all kinds of learning opportunities, learning to do things no one had ever done before, and hone his ability to make his goal of “creating personal option value” a reality. Meanwhile, he mentioned that a meaningful life is fulfilled not only by achieving personal goals; but also by helping others out, and moreover, by sharing passion and jointly pursuing ideological emancipation. He further elucidated that a meaningful life is fulfilled not only by achieving personal goals but also by helping others out; moreover, by sharing passion and jointly pursuing ideological emancipation. He emphasized that social resources have become highly important in this increasingly complex society. Young people should always bear in mind their sense of responsibility to human society, and be able to use various resources to solve all the current issues with people from different backgrounds.
He posed the same question to the guest Bai Xiaoqing. She believes that hard work, adherence to passion and real contribution to society are important factors for success. On a personal level, her definition of “success” is to achieve work-life balance.
During the talk
Bai Xiaoqing then asked Robert Smith, as a leader in the field of science and technology, about how to use advanced technology for the betterment of society. Mr. Smith pointed out that it is extremely important for leaders to have problem-solving skills in a constantly changing society, and innovation is exactly the pathway to solve problems. Leaders should focus on technological innovation in their own fields, and think about how to create sustainable products and services for consumers in a changing environment to deal with their life issues. Great leaders must concentrate on areas of their expertise and exploit their talents’ potential to keep the organization motivated. At the same time, they should also observe others and help them realize their dreams. He encouraged everyone to keep learning different skills, try to do creative and unprecedented things, and not to forget to enjoy this fun process.
Students asking questions
Subsequently, Mr. Smith and Ms. Bai answered students' questions on the status quo and the development of Chinese enterprises, student loan issues, profitability of sustainable business models, requirements of leadership in public sector, and the influence of higher education and parents on young people, as well as other questions.
In the end, Mr. Smith urged young people to master as many skills as possible, travel to different parts of the world, and try to create a better world with their peers. And most importantly, live a happy life.
David Pan delivering a welcome speech
Pan Qingzhong, Executive Dean of Schwarzman College of Tsinghua University, hosted the event and delivered a welcome speech. Schwarzman Scholars Class of 2019-2020 and some alumni representatives attended the talk.