2015 Best MBAs: Bering Tsang

Bering Tsang - Duke-PoetsAndQuants

Bering Tsang


Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

If you polled Fuqua School of Business Class of 2015 about Bering Tsang, you’d hear terms like “humble,” “grateful,” and “moral.” Those are three reasons why his peers elected the former Marine Corps captain to be the recipient of the Team Fuqua Award for “uncompromising integrity.” And it’s also why he will be this year’s student commencement speaker at Fuqua. A marine and a mentor, Tsang served as president of the Duke Armed Forces Association and an admissions fellow. In his spare time, Tsang is a triathlete and marathon runner.

Age: 32

Hometown: Rohnert Park, California

Undergraduate School: Duke University

Undergraduate Degree: BSe, Electrical Engineering, Minor Political Science

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Marine Corps, Captain, Marine Corps Officer from 2005 – 2013.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Goldman Sachs & Co., New York, New York

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs & Co., Associate, Investment Banking Division

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew it was time for me to leave the Marine Corps and start being an impactful citizen on another path in life—and realizing that although I possessed experiences in leadership that translated into maturity and judgment—there were many things I did not understand about a life outside the military in the private sector. Specifically, I didn’t know about the breadth of opportunities available or possess the hard skills to enter new industries. Business school—both inside and outside the classroom—would bridge that gap.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…probably back in public service. I did a stint as I previously mentioned in finance in New York. Without a business school education I am not convinced I would be making the type of impact I would want, so it’s likely I would have returned to something where I knew I could make a difference. That’s the great thing about business school—it’s equipped me with tools and experiences to make me a more impactful citizen.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I’m focused on learning and making an impact in a substantive way at Goldman Sachs & Co. to prepare me for ever-increasing roles of leadership and responsibility within the firm. My goal is to connect my previous experiences as a military officer and the lessons I learned in business school to make an impact in a socially conscience, ethical, and compassionate way through leadership at work and beyond.

Favorite Courses: Corporate Restructuring, Corporate Financial Reporting, Corporate Finance, Managerial Accounting, Leading & Managing Human Assets & Organizational Change, Supply Chain Management

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I’m most proud of the instances where I have had the privilege of helping others achieve their goals and become leaders. My academic journey is closely tied to our “Leaders of Consequence” journey at Fuqua. As a COLE Fellow, I have the honor and responsibility of guiding first-year MBA students through their academic, professional, and extracurricular engagements at Fuqua. Every first-year learning team has a COLE Fellow and this program bridges the transition of institutional values between the first and second-year class. I believe mentoring and leading those that will become stewards of Fuqua is an obligation of the second-year class. I am most proud that more than half of my mentees chose to rise to the challenge of becoming a COLE Fellow and embraced this sense of obligation and duty to Fuqua. Similarly, as a Marine Officer, I’m most proud of second-in-command of my first deployment earning his commission as a Marine Officer. To think that I had a chance to be a part of his career success in a small meaningful way is what I’m most proud of.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There is a small army of people I would thank for my lot in life because I wouldn’t be graduating from Fuqua without the ripple effect of dozens of acts by peers, mentors, family, and friends to support my goals. However, Professor of Finance John Buley is who I’m most indebted to for his blind faith in me and for his enduring professional and personal counsel throughout my transition from the military to a private sector career. All my life, I have had the luck to meet people like John to remind me and give me a small push toward what I know in my heart is the right choice—and for that I will always be thankful.

Why did you choose this business school? Simply put, it was Fuqua’s emphasis on values-based business education were consistent with what I look for in any institution or organization I want to be a part of in my personal or professional life. The paired value system provided a framework for the growth of our community, the pride in our collective identity, and with the aim for a better future not only for ourselves but in the communities we will live. Fuqua emphasized not just developing business savvy, but business leadership. [And let’s not forget] the chance to witness a NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed most the deep connections I was fortunate enough to develop between my peers, my professors, and the administrators—many of whom I will call friends long after my time as a student. I’d never been in a setting where authority and senior leaders were as accessible as Fuqua. Faculty and administrators alike were genuinely interested in how students are impacted by their decisions and teaching and sought to continually enhance the learning and developmental journey Fuqua offers.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Knowing that my classmate Christine McEnery will be honored by our class for helping myself and others elevate our developmental and academic experience at Fuqua to heights we could never achieve on our own. She will never know how deeply she impacted her classmates both inside and outside of the classroom because she is humble and utterly selfless. It’s for that reason that my class honored her with the Alan D. Schwartz Award for Mentorship—one of our three peer nominated second-year awards.

Fun fact about yourself: In December of 2014, I embarked on a week long, 1,200 mile motorcycle adventure up the coast of Chile, through the dirt roads of the Andes Mountains to Argentina, and back through the vineyards of Mendoza to Santiago. Only thing is, I’d never ridden a motorcycle before this trip and went from struggling with the clutch at noon on day one to 80 mph on a Chilean highway four hours later. My propensity for adventure once again conquered practical sensibility. And I was rewarded with breath-taking South American vistas to last a lifetime.

I also went to every 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game of Duke Men’s Basketball Team, culminating in a National Championship.

Favorite book: The Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

Favorite movie: Sideways

Favorite musical performer: Zac Brown Band

Favorite television show: No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere in the U.S. National Park System

What are your hobbies? I spend a lot of my free time seeking out and eating at restaurants in Durham and exploring North Carolina’s best BBQ. Durham happens to be a fantastic place to live in 2015—tons of chefs discovering classic southern cooking styles—and a far cry from the dining scene in 2005 when I first graduated from Duke. I also happen to enjoy the nuances of BBQ and appreciate the local versions of this great American art. I also run a lot—and that hobby virtuously supports my dining.

Twitter Handle: @beringtsang

What made Bering such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Occasionally we have a student who is immediately recognized as a strong ethical leader for a class. Others listen to him or her and this person can set the tone for the direction the class will take. Bering Tsang is that student for the Class of 2015 at Fuqua.

Bering’s military background has been evident in the approach he takes to everything he does at Fuqua. He upholds the ideals of integrity, honor, and respect, and importantly, sets an example that encourages others to follow.  Bering quickly set an example for the class and was elected to be one of two judicial representatives for his class. The respect and appreciation he commands has continued throughout his time at Fuqua and his classmates selected him to be their graduation speaker.

Bering’s time at Fuqua has been characterized by service – judicial representative, leadership fellow, teaching assistant, club president, admissions advocate for veterans, liaison to the military for leadership development activities at Fuqua, and for me, a trusted friend with which to discuss anything from student issues to Duke basketball. I’m including below an excerpt from a nomination that a fellow student in Bering’s class provided in support of Bering for a different recognition award, which Bering received.

“Bering is unlike anyone I’ve ever met in that his moral compass and set of values are so deeply ingrained in everything that he does and everyone he interacts with. Those well-ingrained principles point Bering towards being a helper, one who looks out for struggling classmates and seeks out injustices in and out of the classroom.…it makes him one of the most trustworthy people I know at Fuqua. What I believe makes Bering worthy of this award is that he not only clings tightly to these principles for his own guidance, but he openly promotes acting in an honorable fashion and, in the process, influences others to act as such. This makes the broader Team Fuqua atmosphere a better and more trusting place, and therefore allows for a richer and more valuable business school experience.” 

In a world that has far too few role models among business leaders, Bering stands out.”

– Russ Morgan, associate dean

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