Rebecca Wei was 27 when she decided to quit her job in Shanghai and change careers.
It was a bold move. It was the late 1990s, the Asian financial crisis was in full swing, and China was feeling the pinch: Quitting her job meant leaving secure employment and taking a gamble on the economic recovery.
Twenty years on, she's a top executive at one of the world's most recognized companies.
"I was the last class in China who was just given a job," Wei told CNBC Make It. Just years earlier, the country's jobs market had been buoyant, and Wei had secured a respectable job.
But, a few years in, she realized it wasn't enough and had to get out.
"I found it didn't fit and I just had to change," explained Wei.
"That was unheard of at that time and I suppose I was quite courageous: China was very closed back then," explained Wei, referring to the state's tight controls on private enterprise.
Though Wei described the move as "very painful," resulting in criticism from her family, her only regret is that she didn't take the plunge sooner.