Meet Wharton’s MBA Class Of 2020

Sylvie Shi

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“May work in finance but always an artist at heart – painting and sketching are my H2O.”

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: In my time living in Africa this past year, I traveled extensively to over seven different countries on the continent. During my travels, I was once charged at by a wild mountain gorilla when I was doing gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park in DRC (Congo). I survived and later self-invited to his home under a large tree to hang out with 11 other gorilla family members.

Undergraduate School and Major: Schulich School of Business, York University; iBBA

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: iFLY Ventures (pre-MBA intern); BlackIvy Group (Senior Investment Analyst); RBC (Investment Banking Analyst); EY (Associate)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: While living in Africa and working in private equity there, I met many bright entrepreneurs and was fascinated by their ideas to transform the continent. However, I realized that financial education, which is an integral part of the success equation, was lacking. With a local Ghanaian co-founder and through partnerships with local incubators, I started a non-profit which aims at improving the financial literacy in Accra, Ghana.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Be authentic—your experience is unique and defines who you are. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and never compare your experience and yourself with others when you go through this process. Start the process early so you have ample time to reflect, think,  and construct a representative picture of yourself. Try to identify your recommenders early so you can give them enough time and send them reminders throughout the process.

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’ve always wanted to hone my financial skillsets and fill my knowledge gaps in other areas to be a well-rounded leader. Wharton not only offers an extensive and high-quality network for my future professional development, but will also give me a set of tools to elevate my professional skillsets. I am also extremely excited for the Lauder program, which will help me to become a better global leader, especially in today’s fast changing global context. Through meeting other outstanding and like-minded individuals, I look forward to knowledge sharing and relationship building in the next two years.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? Having made a group of diversified, interesting and intelligent friends and colleagues; having a good understanding of future global trends and the ability to utilize data in predicting future directions; gaining a heightened sense of cultural and international awareness from peers and professors; and finally, hopefully having learned something more about myself. It’s always a self-learning and improvement process.     

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