Tawanda Michael Mahere
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: The future is already here —I strive to distribute it more evenly around the world.
Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
Fun Fact About Yourself: I moved to China at 19, learnt Mandarin, and stayed there for 8 years before coming to business school!
Undergraduate School and Major: Beihang University, Electronic Engineering; Tianjin University, Advanced Mandarin Chinese
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Beijing Tech Hive (startup accelerator), Jide Technology
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led global growth in a Beijing-based startup that was acquired by Google in early 2017. We were making personal computing affordable and accessible to people around the world through our $40 Android desktop computer that we sold in 140+ countries. I spent a lot of time travelling to different countries to get our hardware and software in the hands of people who could use it for education, business and entertainment. Hearing moving stories about how they used this new technology made this the most fulfilling work I have ever done.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? If you find yourself enjoying the essay writing and application process for some schools more than others, that’s a sign of which school’s values and culture resonates most strongly with your values! After you write your essay, only share it with people who thoroughly know and your deepest motivations, hopes, fears and ambition. These friends and family will be best suited to let you know how authentic your representation of yourself will be for the different essays.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I had spent several years in Beijing’s startup ecosystem, where I set up two entrepreneurial ventures as an engineering student. As I taught myself about startups and did early-stage venture capital, I realized how Stanford University has been at the center of tech innovation and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley for the last several decades. So I decided I had to move here and then explored which programs Stanford offered that I could be interested in. The GSB’s focus on leadership that makes a meaningful positive difference in society resonated with me so I applied to the MBA!
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I would like to develop a deep sense of the future of technology trends in Silicon Valley and have clear hypotheses on the implications of that technology for the rest of the world. I believe that innovative internet startups will transform the lives of people in emerging markets and want to empower myself with the knowledge to accelerate that process.