2017 MBAs To Watch: Yuxin (Livia) Liu, Cornell (Johnson)

Yuxin Liu (Livia)

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

“I stay positive and always try to help others, no matter how tough the circumstance.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Beijing, China

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a horseback rider and dog trainer. I’ve traveled 80 percent of China’s provinces, 30 states in the U.S., and 15 countries in the world.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Fudan University (Shanghai, China), Bachelor of Public Administration, minor in journalism.

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

  • The Nature Conservancy, marketing officer
  • Amway, corporate social responsibility director (Northern China Regional)
  • China Central Television, journalist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, N.J.

Where will you be working after graduation? Johnson & Johnson, Marketing Leadership Development Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President of Greater China Business Club
  • Vice president of Media, Entertainment & Sports Club
  • Ki Kon Chai MBA ’57 Graduate Merit Scholarship
  • First place, Battle of Brands Competition
  • Finalist, Citi Integrative Case Competition
  • Finalist, Johnson & Johnson Case Competition
  • Teaching assistant for Principled Leadership

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Winning first Place in the Battle of the Brands Competition. As the only international student on my team, I successfully led the team to market cat food over seven days and sell out of all 200 cans to B-school students — even when most of the students are not cat owners.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Persuaded 30+ members of the National People’s Congress to support China’s first legislation on the shark fin trade, contributing to a 70% drop in its consumption. Successfully managed and led a team of senior colleagues.

Discovered the root cause of a previous failure and proposed an innovative idea that played an important role in facilitating the first shark fin trade legislation.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Risa Mish, who is very passionate and open-minded. She has experience working in different industries and successfully brought these valuable assets to class. She is very skilled at encouraging students to formulate their own ideas, rather than just listening to her lectures.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Principled Leadership. Certain financial and accounting skills may help you right away in securing a job, but leadership skills will serve you your entire life — both personally and professionally. Being a leader is not about yourself, it’s about helping your teams and colleagues unleash their potential.

Why did you choose this business school?

  • It’s the perfect size — not too many students and not too few, to maintain cultural identity and diversity.
  • Strong support for international students. Faculty and staff truly care about international students’ needs and are always willing to help by listening to them and providing helpful guidance (career networking events, tours of Ithaca and an introduction to American football).
  • Vast network of Cornell connections. I took advantage of enrolling in an MBA/MILR dual-degree program, and I think the immersion program helped prepare me for my summer internship. The Cornell Tech campus, new business college, and partnership with Tsinghua University, all provide unlimited resources for students who are willing to explore new fields.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed working with my semester-long core team. It mimics the real world. However, it is more challenging. In the real world, you cannot select your co-workers, you usually have leaders or a boss with authority. In the core team, no single person has authority to lead the team, and everyone has to find an effective way to work together in a dynamic setting.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? As a person who has not had a lot of exposure to finance and accounting, I only had seven weeks to master these skills.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Come visit the campus. Talk to current students and alumni. Make sure you really love the culture, as well understanding the employment data.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had learned some basic accounting and finance before enrolling, which would have allowed me more time to participate in community activities.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Dax Howard. He never shied away from different opinions or difficulties and is open-minded and curious about different cultures and new fields.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was 27 years old.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would never know how much potential I have.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Prepare students better for job hunting.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Being an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry to create a lasting impact for those fighting diseases and help them enjoy a better life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? The admissions office of Johnson, faculty, and staff. My MBA experience at Johnson literally changed my life and opened thousands of doors for me. As I near the completion of the two-year MBA program, I feel confident I will succeed and achieve my long-term professional goals.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Always shine through difficult and challenging situations.

Favorite book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Favorite movie or television show: The Shawshank Redemption

Favorite musical performer: None

Favorite vacation spot: Maldives

Hobbies? Food, skiing, and equestrian

What made Yuxin such an invaluable member of the Class of 2017?

Yuxin (Livia) is a great asset to the Class of 2017 given her strong work ethic, unique personality, and willingness to help others. Livia successfully managed to maintain great grades on top of participating in many extra-curricular activities and having to do two internships as part of her dual degree program with both Johnson and the ILR school. She brought value to the Johnson community through her contributions on various professional club boards, as a teaching assistant, and through case competitions. In my interactions with her, what also stood out to me was her positive attitude despite whatever situation she was facing – she has a great sense of humor which makes her memorable. I was also impressed by her willingness to help others – when she told me that she was planning to join Johnson and Johnson’s MLDP program after graduation, she instantly followed the update with an offer to help other international students who might be interested in the program, making her a great example of Johnson’s collaborative spirit.”

Debbie Luk Graves

Associate Director, Marketing and General Management

Career Management Center



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