2016 Best MBAs: Mei Young, Queen’s University

Mei Young Queens

Mei Young


Smith School of Business at Queen’s University

Age: 29

“Mei never backs down from a challenge – in fact, she looks for the opportunities in challenges.”

Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Undergraduate School and Degree: BASc. Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Option (First Class Honours) and MASc. Biomedical Engineering at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Biomedical Engineer, University of British Columbia/West Coast Retina Consultants Inc.; Medical IT/Device Consultant (self-employed), Chief Operations Officer, CORE Bioinformatics Corporation; Research Assistant at Simon Fraser University Biomedical Optics Research Group.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? N/A

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate at A.T.Kearney

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

Awards: Forte Foundation Scholarship, Elizabeth W. Hand Memorial Leadership Award

Leadership Roles: Chair, Queen’s Smith School of Business Innovation Summit (www.qsbis.com); Co-Founder/VP, MBA Business Analytics Club; Advisory Board, Queen’s Analytics Challenge and Innovation Summit.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The extracurricular achievement I was most proud of was organizing, planning and leading the Innovation Summit at Queen’s University. The Innovation Summit is a student-run event connecting curious and creative individuals with leading companies in innovation. The event brings over 250 attendees and 40 guest speakers to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

I enjoyed leading a team, building a brand and most especially getting out there and talking to industry leaders about their experiences and challenges in instilling a culture of innovation and (in other cases) continuing to innovate while maintaining successful and efficient operations. In less than a year, on top of school, I am proud to have built a strong foundation for the Innovation Summit from a branding and awareness perspective as well as establishing multi-year sponsorships. I am now part of the advisory board and happy that the next team is off to a great start and is planning to grow the event to make it even bigger and better.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I am most proud of was helping build a strong relationship between clinicians at the Eye Care Centre and academia at Simon Fraser University. As a research assistant, I setup the novel device I built during my master’s degree at the Eye Care Centre in Vancouver. My device was faster and had the ability to see more features than commercially available products. Having the device at the Eye Care Centre assisted the doctors in diagnosing tougher cases and gave them a tool for discovery as well. It also provided a great foundation for bridging the gap between R&D in academia and real use cases in clinics. Stakeholders continue to refine the product; they use the setup as a test ground in order to develop and refine solutions for clinical needs.

Favorite MBA Courses? Sales Management and Creating and Executing Market-Based Strategy. Both very practical courses taught by professors who were experienced industry professionals and excellent teachers bridging the knowledge and experience gap between academia and industry.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose this business school because of the competitive yet collaborative environment. I felt a strong family pride when I visited Queen’s University. You know that no matter what, they will have your back. In addition, the strong alumni network, team-based learning and experiential opportunities are also key decision criteria that made me choose this business school.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed meeting peers from different cultural, academic and industry backgrounds. Also, being at school allowed me to try new things, to get out of my comfort zone, to fail fast without the same risk as industry and to have a great excuse to meet executives from different industries. I enjoyed the freedom: the freedom to be curious and to question the status quo.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? The biggest lesson I gained in business school is the ability to quickly convert learning into action. The experiential learning setup at Queen’s University allowed me to validate my theoretical learnings. For example, in our first module, we all took a negotiations class. When I was pursuing sponsorship for the Innovation Summit, I was able to negotiate the sponsorship to a multi-year contract and request additional funds to support the prizes for the case competition. This is only one of many examples throughout the year; we were able to validate our learnings also through multiple consulting projects with businesses across Canada.

What was the hardest part of business school? There are so many opportunities and so many activities you can take part in. The ability to prioritize, select and pursue these was the biggest challenge I faced. I wanted to do so much and try to be part of as many events, activities, academic opportunities and leadership roles.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I found myself at a career cross roads. I had a strong academic and technical background but lacked the business fundamentals and experience. I also wanted time to reflect before my next move.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working at a hospital and striving to move up the career ladder to get to the executive level.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Elon Musk. His tenacity and drive for a bigger and greater cause is admirable.

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term professional goal is to become an executive at an innovative medical company, providing the best products and value to clients, be it patients, hospitals or medical institutions. In addition, I would like to also setup a non-profit organization/foundation to support medical research for rare diseases.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mentors, my peers and my family. First my mentors: I would like to thank my professor back in Simon Fraser University, Marinko Sarunic, who has really helped me establish a strong professional foundation and always pushed me to my limits. He was strict, supportive and kind, all at the same time. I would also like to thank my career coach, J.P. Shearer, who was always available, patient, a great listener and a great cheerleader. He really pushed and challenged me, allowing me to discover my potential; I wouldn’t have realized it without his help. Second, I would like to thank my peers at Queen’s who kept me focused and supported me through all my endeavors. Last but not the least, my family: I wouldn’t be me without them.

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy long bike rides; it is my way to relax, relieve stress and enjoy the outdoors

Favorite book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Favorite movie: The Matrix

Favorite musical performer: Michael Jackson

Favorite television show: Fringe

Favorite vacation spot: Palawan, Philippines

Hobbies? Road Biking, Hiking, Traveling, Wine Tasting

What made Mei such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Mei never backs down from a challenge – in fact, she looks for the opportunities in challenges. During the admissions process, Mei earned a Forté Fellowship which, in collaboration with the Forté Foundation, is dedicated to directing women towards business education and leadership roles.

She took on the student-run Innovation Summit and led the team that created and executed the strongest summit to date. As Chair, she thought long-term – beyond the year her class would run the event – and negotiated longer term contracts with sponsors for the good of the event and to support future classes.

Mei came into the program not wanting to miss out on experiences, and she didn’t. She found a way to do it all and maintain a healthy balance. She was academically strong; took on roles with the Innovation Summit, MBA Business Analytics Club and Queen’s Analtyics Challenge; and also found time participate in our Fit to Lead program, which offers a range of keep-fit activities such as running and boot camp. She even motivated her MBA teammates to keep fit. On top of all of this, Mei knew she wanted to be a consultant and she achieved her goal by landing a coveted job with A.T. Kearney.” — Shai Dubey, Director, Queen’s MBA and Distinguished Faculty Fellow of Business Law, Smith School of Business at Queen’s University


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