Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2019

Hiro Tien

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: An adversity-junkie who thrives in difficult situations. Rebels at stagnation too.

Hometown: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was once a fishmonger, cinema usher, milkshake maker, supermarket attendant, tuition teacher, and a college drop out.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Brunei Darussalam, Accounting & Finance

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Founder – Escape Square (the largest escape room company in Brunei)
Founder – SocialBuzz (the parent company of Groupon-equivalent of Brunei) 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I take pride in founding the first group buying website (Groupon-like) in Brunei and leading a team of 15 to revolutionize the online shopping space of a country that had virtually no online shopping activities. We helped over 450 local businesses sell their services and products online, many of them for the first time ever. I then started over half a dozen local businesses in sectors of retail, entertainment and e-commerce. I believe the best has yet to come; I’ve just decided to spend the summer at Google’s new artificial intelligence focused venture capital fund, Gradient Ventures.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Really sit down and reflect on what you are looking for in life. Find out what is truly important to you and be true to yourself. These will show up in your essays and interviews, so they better be authentic and coming from deep down. Get the GMAT out of the way as soon as you can too and leave ample time for the rest of the application, don’t underestimate how much time goes into the essays and recommendation letters. As for the interview, just be yourself, that’s the best thing you can do going in.

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? Stanford’s overall reputation in tech and entrepreneurship drew me here. I wanted to spend my two years at the epicenter of innovation and as such, it was a natural choice for me. The proximity to VCs, leading tech firms, and hyper-growth startups only helped make it easier for me to decide to come to the GSB.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I came to Stanford GSB with an open mind and decided to soak up as much as I can. My long-term goal is to help my home country, Brunei, diversify its economy away from the oil and gas sector and I see multiple pathways going forward. Success out of business school to me means that I’m progressively working towards my long-term goal, be it through venture capital or starting of my own company.