Tian “Tiger” Yang
“A Hongkonger with infinite curiosity to life and the world.”
Hometown: Hong Kong, China
Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak Mandarin (native tongue), Cantonese, Japanese, and English. I learned my English from The Beatles when I was a kid. Later in high school, I loved The Lord of the Rings so much that I could recite the scripts of the three movies, including those lines in Elvish and Orcish languages (Quenya and Black Speech, in case you are wondering) – as a result, I wrote a 400,000-word Lord of the Rings fanfiction during my high school years.
Undergraduate School and Major:
BA in English, Dalian University of Foreign Languages;
MA in Translating and Interpreting, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Co-founder, Fleur Hong Kong, a brunch restaurant located in The Mills, Hong Kong
Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Alumni and current students. When I was deciding which offer to accept, I talked to a second-year from the McCombs MBA program. He was super patient and friendly in explaining and introducing the program – in a detailed and well-organized way. We share some similarity in our background, so he painted a very clear picture of what I would encounter in McCombs and how I could achieve my goals.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? Marketing Fellows. It provides intense marketing case challenges in real-world scenarios. It sounds really challenging, and challenges are always fun to me.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2017, when I was working for a PR company focused on contemporary art, my team helped a client – an LGTBQ art foundation – to promote the first LGBTQ-themed art exhibition in Asia. The exhibition took place in Taipei, right after The Constitutional Court of Taiwan ruled same-sex marriage constitutional. The show became part of a historical discourse, creating heated public discussion, and was celebrated worldwide. I have been an ally to the LGBTQ community and an enthusiast of Taiwan politics for many years, so the exhibition was both professional and personal to me, and it was my honor to be part of that history.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The more time I spent in managing my own restaurant, the more I realized that I needed to be a better leader to take my team with me. As a believer of marketing and an owner of a small business who has used marketing strategy to grow business, I want to have an academic experience that enables me to learn more skills and a broader horizon to open more possibilities in my career.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Mendoza, Stern, Tuck
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Tell me about yourself.”
I understand that this was an expected and routine question, but if learned anything from my application process, the most difficult thing was to fully understand myself. I needed to dig deep into the past, thinking about everything I have achieved, failed, and cared about. Eventually I had to condense 30 years of my life into a short verse of self-introduction.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? Though there were many things I cared about (e.g. career service, alumni), diversity has always been my top priority. I had many years of experience working in cross-cultural environments, so I know the importance and nuance of it. I also know that it is not an easy thing to do. I was looking for a school that respects difference and embraces diversity, where I would be most comfortable in.
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? Apart from the regular application process, I also talked with MBA candidates who had similar cultural backgrounds or experiences – the more details about what I would be dealing with in business school, the better. Knowing that I don’t have much experience in quantitative areas, I have also started learning statistics, finance, and coding since this summer.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I was born in a small town in mid-China. My life was completely changed when I first heard The Beatles at the age of 14. It opened a door to the outside world for the infinite curiosity of a small-town boy who barely spoke any English. So far, everything I have known about the world, everything I have believed in and fought for, and everything I have achieved so far all originate from my passion and love to The Beatles many years ago. If I am anything of a person who has an international view and an inclusive mind, and ready to take on business school, it all began from The Beatles.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Google. I love it because they respect innovation and creativity, embrace diversity, and celebrate arts and culture from around the world. As a business student, I want to become a person like that and to work in such a company.
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