Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Aileen Lu, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

Aileen Lu

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

I enjoy building things from the ground up!

Hometown: Taicang, Jiangsu, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I secretly fall in love with food that I never thought I would like.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California Berkeley, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-founder, Domi Coding Inc.

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which pillar resonates most with you and why? Students Always. Curiosity and an aptitude for tackling difficult problems have never been more important now that the world is undergoing serious changes. Before school even started, Haasies started modeling the Students Always principle. I had the pleasure of working with nine other Haasies on an Instagram AR filters project to promote social distancing and spread school spirit in a digital, innovative way. Although most of us come from non-technical backgrounds, we watched tons of tutorials to create fun filters for Haas and Berkeley students. I believe that being a “Student Always” will carry me a long way at Haas and beyond.

Aside from the four pillars and your classmates, what was the key part of the schools MBA programming that led you to choose Haas and why was it so important to you? I chose Haas because it is the place where I will receive the support I need to be my true self. I will never be held back from starting a project or promoting a cause because I know that both the school and other Haasies are extremely supportive of where I come from and where I want to go next. On top of that, the flexibility of the curriculum makes it easy to carve my own path and pursue what I’m genuinely passionate about – professionally and personally.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates youve met so far and why? The classmates I’ve met so far have impressed me most with their open-mindedness. For example, I’ve enjoyed exchanging opinions on some of the most heatedly discussed topics affecting the Berkeley community and American society through student-run dialogues. Everyone did a superb job of putting things into context and recognizing that people from different backgrounds have very different takes on the same issue. I’m grateful to have learned from dialogue participants and how to be more unassuming and respectful.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My team developed a fun and innovative product to teach computer programming. I’m so proud of how this product has sparked curiosity in my students, none of whom had prior exposure to computer programming. When I first gave a presentation about the immersive Domi World experience, all of my students’ eyes lit up! I felt completely overjoyed when they gave me thank you notes at the end of the course. Although coding was a new concept for them, they never gave up. At that moment, I knew that I made a difference. They became more confident, curious, and remained positive about “failures”.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? When I was running my own startup, I found it challenging to remain empathetic and supportive of the people around me because I was under a lot of pressure. At that time, a lot of questions ran through my mind: How do I better cope with stress? How do I to get the most out of scarce resources? How can I communicate more effectively to convince others to follow my lead when I’m not 100% sure about where to head? With all of these questions in mind, I came to Haas with a clear goal of improving my leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UCLA Anderson, Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan, Oxford Said, and Cambridge Judge

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? English is not my native language; therefore, I’d say completing the admissions application was a challenge in and of itself. As cliché as it might sound, I did a lot of soul searching during the application process. Eventually I was able to articulate how Haas would help me achieve my personal and professional goals.

What was the biggest factor in choosing a particular business school and why was it so important to you? The biggest factor in choosing a business school was understanding what each school was like and what it had to offer. Two years in an MBA program is not that long! Although I went to Berkeley as an undergrad (Yes! I’m a Double Bear!), I made sure to research everything Haas had to offer me that would contribute to my growth.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? At the beginning of my undergraduate career at Berkeley, I found it a bit difficult to adjust to my new life in the U.S. Up until that point, I had never traveled or lived in the U.S. before. Consequently, I coiled into my own little shell – sort of as a protective/defensive mechanism – only to find I had left holes big enough to let fear in, but too small to let myself out. With the help of my friends, I ultimately overcame the fear. This experience helped me define the type of impact I would like to make in my career and clarified my goals for business school.

What is your favorite company and why? Uniqlo. I love it for two reasons. First, as a fashion brand, Uniqlo strives to weave technology into its fabrics. It has partnered with cutting edge technology companies to deliver products that benefit people on a daily basis. Second, it has collaborated with several artists, making its clothes stylish, yet affordable for average consumers. Although it is in a relatively traditional industry, Uniqlo is generating impact in a powerful way.

Look ahead two years and picture graduation. How will you know that your business school experience has been successful? I will know that my business school experience has been successful if I’ve made meaningful connections, strengthened my leadership and professional skills, and contributed to the Haas and local communities. I look forward to embarking on this two-year journey with my amazing peers!


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