2018 Best Online MBAs: Dolly Yuen, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Dolly Yuen

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

Loyal, hardworking and open minded. I’m an avid seeker of new experiences, places and knowledge.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Palm Harbor, Florida

Fun fact about yourself: For my first job out of college, I worked on a Forex sales desk for a Wall Street firm. My job got complicated as traders constantly shouted for dollar/yen rates because it sounded like my name – Dolly Yuen. It was weeks before others realized the similarity.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Florida, BSBA in Finance and BA in Economics

Where are you currently working? Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Assistant Vice President, Business Development

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’ll always remember the achievement in my first job out of college as a sales assistant on a Forex sales desk. What started as a menial task tracking revenue sharing among global booking centers led to much more. As I gathered the data, I ultimately found that booking centers often had discrepancies from the sharing agreements. Counterparties across various global locations had to manually enter the shared revenue per trade ticket. Revenue sharing amounts differed based on numerous factors – notional amount, currency pair and booking center – that made tracking very time-consuming and complicated. Although the disparities were small on each trade, every dollar and cent quickly added up after thousands of trades just in one day. The ramifications for my sales desk were understated regional revenue figures. Everyone quickly realized through this ordeal the need for enhanced efficiency in revenue allocation. It was truly a rewarding feeling to make even a small difference especially in a large organization.

I’m proud of this achievement for what I was able to contribute and what I’ve learned from this experience. Although small, my takeaway from this was even greater for my professional development.

  1. Learn from others and don’t assume you have all the answers (especially as the newbie).
  2. Make sure you have the right information to start. If not, research why.
  3. Be culturally aware of others. What and how you convey things might be construed differently than anticipated in other cultures.
  4. Don’t be afraid to seek help from the right person who can help influence a desired outcome.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I knew I wanted to pursue an MBA while juggling my career. I researched a number of MBA programs including executive, part-time, and online. In the end, the flexibility and convenience of course schedules along with an accredited yet prestigious program were the utmost important factors for me in selecting the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School’s MBA@UNC.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program was learning from my classmates who were experienced professionals in various industries. The online synchronous classroom experience provided for thought-provoking discussions relevant to today’s rapidly changing business environment. Moreover, group breakout sessions and projects were great means to share challenges and innovations we faced in our own industries. It led me to reconsider and approach problem-solving differently, which is essential for tomorrow’s business leaders. Learning from my classmates of experienced professionals gave me insight and knowledge that I otherwise would not have gained.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I had no doubt that the education I would be receiving from Kenan-Flagler Business School would be anything less than stellar when I enrolled. However, I never thought an online learning environment would fortify the kind of friendships that I’ve gained through MBA@UNC and I’m truly grateful for that. When you’re juggling a career, business school, major life events, family, and more, you realize immediately that you’re not alone after meeting others. Students, administrators and faculty members at MBA@UNC really come together to share experience and support of each other. They become more than just networks; they become life-long friends.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? As an undergraduate, some of the core pre-requisite classes like Economics 101 were available as in-the-class sessions, live streaming online, or online replay. Attending the streaming or online replay meant you wouldn’t have the live interaction for questions and answers. So the online MBA experience was not completely foreign to me.

On the other hand, the online MBA experience was much more dynamic in that professors led the synchronous sessions supplementing the asynchronous learning. The 15 students in an online MBA class differed dramatically from my undergraduate days of 30-50 students in electives and in some cases, hundreds of students in core pre-requisite classes. Students were afforded more attention in an intimate online MBA setting. The smaller class sizes were very conducive for open forum discussions and learning. For those reasons, I preferred the online experience over the in-the-class. I found it to be an invaluable learning platform for working professionals like myself.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? An online MBA is no less intense as a full-time, part-time or executive program just because it’s online. The best piece of advice I can give is to practice time management, if you haven’t already mastered it, and be prepared to put your personal life on slow-mo. Between a full-time career and business school, your personal life will likely take a toll. With that said, it doesn’t mean you won’t have any personal life or that you won’t see your significant other or family. It just means you’ll have to manage your time. If time management isn’t for you, then an online MBA will be an uphill struggle. Lastly, the pursuit of an online MBA will be anything but easy, but having support from your work, family and friends makes business school worth it.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The impact of my MBA@UNC journey has extended far beyond my job. It challenged me to explore beyond the world I had known, professionally and personally. The opportunity to learn with my classmates in Buenos Aires, Budapest, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Mumbai expanded my world and gave me the opportunity to bring that global mindset to my current role, my personal relationships, and my future goals.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Yes, without a doubt. I love to learn. I really enjoyed classes like Mergers and Acquisitions, Taxes and Business Strategy, Corporate Finance, and Leading in the Middle. I also had the opportunity to learn from some of the smartest and most charismatic people I’ve ever met – faculty and classmates alike.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to use my finance background and quantitative skills to make a difference in the world. One thing MBA@UNC brought about was the spirit of giving back. Wherever we were in the world for classes, we had the opportunity to learn about the community around us and help those in need to contribute to a common good. That spirit of giving back will stay with me forever.


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