Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Arrives

For earning every certification

Yingjin Liu has been a man on a mission. “I’ve built four brand new factories in the past 14 years in the health food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries and worked on more than 100 smaller projects,” he says. 

He also found time to learn. Liu already had earned his Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification a while back. So when he decided to add to his repertoire, he went all in: targeting seven additional certifications—every single one PMI has to offer. And he earned them all in less than 18 months.

For Liu, it’s been like unlocking new territory in a videogame. “For me, the journey of building up knowledge is like removing the black fog on the map for the new world you are going to explore, which is really fun and exciting,” he explains.

Liu sees certifications as a way to build his stature with sponsors, senior leaders and team members. “Certifications prove credibility,” he says. “They prove experience and knowledge, and are good evidence of self-discipline and time management skills.”

Achieving them in such a tight time frame became a project in and of itself. His advice? “Just take the first step out of your comfort zone.”

Now, with his certification blitz in the bag, Liu is looking ahead. “I believe my most influential project is still to come.”

Q&A: Yingjin Liu on continuous learning, predicting the future and Apollo

What project has most influenced you personally?

The Apollo mission. It was a dream of mine to travel across stars when I was a child.

What’s the one must-have skill to succeed The Project Economy of tomorrow?

A learning mindset. The world is changing rapidly—with new technology, tools, challenges and risks popping up all the time. Only continuous learning will help us not get lost.

What’s your mantra for leading projects?

I love business legend Peter Ferdinand Drucker’s mantra: The best way to predict the future is to create it.

What’s one way managing projects will have changed by 2030?

The barriers from different cultures and distances will slowly weaken, so people will be better able to work together to face global challenges as one community.