2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Joshua Yang, Stanford GSB

Joshua Yang

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“My life’s philosophy is to try everything at least once. Somehow, I’m still alive.”

Hometown: San Diego, California

Fun fact about yourself: My driver’s license officially says that I have white hair—a result of too much free time during quarantine.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • University of California San Diego, Bioengineering: Biotechnology B.S. & General Biology B.S. (’15)
  • University of California Berkeley and University of California San Francisco, Master of Translational Medicine (’16)
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD-PhD in Biomedical Engineering (candidate)
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business, MBA (’21)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Co-Founder of Nephrosant, a Series A biotech startup focused on kidney disease detection.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I continued at Nephrosant and also was a Venture Capital Fellow at SeaX Ventures. During the pandemic, I did this from the comfort of my apartment in Palo Alto.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be launching Glyphic Biotechnologies as Co-Founder and CEO. I raised $5M for our seed round during winter quarter of my 2nd year in preparation for hitting the ground running upon graduation.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Leadership Roles
    • Stanford GSB Diversity Committee, Chief Financial Officer
    • Stanford GSB Pride Club, President
  • Community Work
    • Stanford GSB GSBelonging Inclusion Ambassador
  • Awards and Honors
    • Siebel Scholar
    • Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m proud of Pride – the GSB Pride Club, that is. As one of the Presidents, I fostered a community that I’m so grateful to say that I can call my family. Knowing that others have also been able to do the same makes me so, so happy.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a co-founder of Nephrosant, a biotechnology startup focused on developing kidney disease diagnostics that has raised up through Series A funding. I am most proud that I was able to take a laboratory-developed technology that I invented to a stage where what remains to be done is commercial execution. I had always dreamed of being able to help and treat patients with tools that I developed conducting research. Although I had originally anticipated that I would be doing that as an academic professor someday, I didn’t realize just how soon I would be able to make those dreams a reality.

Why did you choose this business school? I had reached an inflection point in my entrepreneurial career and knew that I needed the resources and network that Stanford could provide to truly reach the next level. As a biotech entrepreneur, I knew there was no substitute for Stanford’s internal capacities in this domain as well as location in the biotech hub that is the SF Bay Area. Also, I wear tank tops and short shorts almost every single day and I couldn’t imagine that going over well at Harvard or Wharton.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Amit Seru – Not even counting how amazing of a teacher he is, he truly cares about his students, so much so that he made sure to get coffee with every single student in his finance class. I was one of those students and I cannot thank him enough for his personal investment in my success. I count a large part of my success in and direction after business school to his guidance. There’s little that Amit does that doesn’t have the Midas touch.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Vegas FOAM (70s-themed overnight costume party). Or maybe Colombia. Or actually, maybe Tahoe. Or Hawaii? It’s so difficult to choose!

What is the biggest myth about your school?

Myth: Everyone wants to do entrepreneurship at the GSB.

Reality: Not going to lie, honestly, this seemed pretty true. Even my consultant classmates I knew were all trying to figure out whether there was a startup they could launch that would sway them towards not taking the sponsorship and go back to their pre-MBA firm.

What surprised you the most about business school? For the “Meet Stanford GSB’s MBA Class Of 2021” article, I wrote that the most surprising thing was that I expected more people to know exactly what they planned to do after business school and use their time at the GSB strategically to help them reach those specific goals.

Now about to finish up the degree in a couple of months, the thing that surprises me most about business school is just how much I’m going to miss these two years here at the GSB. Sometimes, I tear up thinking about just how few months my friends and I have left together. I never found myself feeling this way after attending and leaving the four other, different undergraduate and graduate schools prior to the GSB. It truly is a reflection of just how special and formative the GSB is and was.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Hot take—I did the complete opposite of what people tell you to do. I didn’t have anyone read or edit my essays. I didn’t speak with anyone at the Stanford GSB about what they wrote or for admissions advice (I didn’t even know any current students when I applied). Instead of trying to figure out what the GSB “wanted” from me as an applicant, I spent most of my time reflecting on where I was in life, what I needed from the GSB, and how the GSB would take me where I would go next; that’s what ended up in my essays. What I submitted was my truth, my authentic self, and I believe that was the biggest edge I had.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Lorenz Pallhuber – Lorenz is one of my close friends at the GSB, a classmate with whom I’ve traveled to far too many Airbnbs and music festivals and with whom I’ve stayed up far too late into the night having the most meaningless and meaningful conversations. Although I wish I were special, what I’ve realized though is that literally everyone at the GSB views Lorenz as their close friend. That’s because Lorenz is truly one of the most friendly, sociable, and caring people I’ve met. I wish I were as proactive as he is in cultivating friendships and relationships with the people in my life.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Disruptive, yes. As an entrepreneur would say, not all disruption is bad. Another hot take: In many ways I prefer online classes (but not with regards to partying and socializing). No longer limited by having to be physically present on campus for classes, I’ve been able to take advantage of the silver linings that being able to have location freedom provides.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Ann Lee-Karlon, PhD MBA, Senior VP at Genentech – Both Ann and I are UCSD Bioengineering and Stanford GSB MBA alumni. Ann has mentored me over the years, wrote my recommendation letter for the GSB, and in many ways laid out a vision for paths I could take in my career. She gave me the confidence to take a non-traditional career path, to take leave from medical school to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations, and to always pursue the paths where your passions lie – no matter how serpentine or meandering they may be.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Take public a company that I founded.
  • Win a Nobel prize.

What made Joshua such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Josh was a standout student in my Corporate Finance and Governance class in the winter quarter of 2020. I cover a wide range of topics covering valuation, financing strategy, governance, control, and societal issues related to corporate finance. These build on the foundational material in finance that students cover in the fall quarter. Josh does not have a finance background but it was quickly apparent to me that he was going to be an exceptional student since he made strong and insightful connections to concepts students learn in the fall quarter. He was thoroughly prepared and ready to discuss the materials that I challenge students on in every class. But what set him apart was his insightful comments on materials being discussed. Josh is also exceptionally constructive in how he engages on various issues — an aspect that really benefited his colleagues and the dynamics in the class. It came as no surprise to me that he finished in the top three students whose final exam was close to perfect.

Josh has been one of the course development associates for my class this quarter and it has been a joy to interact with him. He continues to contribute positively in both helping the students taking the class with the materials as well as suggesting various improvements that have helped me deliver the class better. It has been an absolute pleasure to have taught and interacted with Josh and I wish him the absolute best for his future endeavors.”

Amit Seru
The Steven and Roberta Denning Professor of Finance



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