2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Teddy Shih, Wharton School

Teddy Shih

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Energetic and dependable team player who wants to make this world a better place.”

Hometown: Vancouver, Canada

Fun fact about yourself: I once memorized and recited 200 digits of pi in a high school competition. I spent 3 days preparing for it. All that work for a $10 gift card!

Undergraduate School and Degree: UCLA, BA in Business-Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Consulting, LA – Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? ZX Ventures, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, NY – Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Student Life Fellow
  • Board Member, WAAAM (Wharton’s Asian-American Club)
  • Member, Venture Foragers
  • Recipient, Lauder Fellowship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a part of Venture Foragers, my team and I did a deep dive on quantum computing and presented our findings to top VC firms in Silicon Valley. Coming from a non-technical background, I had to ‘get smart’ on the physics behind superposition and entanglement. I was then able to leverage the Wharton brand to interview several experts in the field, ranging from startup founders to professors. I definitely felt this sense of imposter syndrome during the interviews, but doing this legwork ultimately led to a data-driven thesis on future industry opportunities that the funds found compelling and insightful.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My second project at Deloitte was focused on improving the working capital of a healthcare provider. Namely by standing up a support center and processing outstanding claims, we were able to recover an 8-figure sum and exceed client expectations by 3X. Apart from the financials, I was a 22-year-old helping to manage a team of experienced healthcare claim processors who were twice my age. I built up a mental image of who I needed to be in order to garner respect from the group; in reality, it’s more of a two-way street. Once I stopped pretending to be someone I was not, and instead focused on how I could enable their success, the trust came more naturally and productivity improved as a result. I am proud of our overall outcome and my personal development in the process.

Why did you choose this business school? I came to Wharton for the diversity of its students and the strength of its network. Having a class of 850+ has allowed me to meet so many interesting classmates from various countries, industries, and walks of life. Most people are new to Philadelphia when they come to Wharton, and I think this has really helped build community. A small group dinner here, a pitch competition there, and maybe a weekend trip squeezed in between. Everyone is driven yet selfless, confident yet humble. I smile everyday knowing I’ll graduate from this place with 300+ unbelievably inspiring people who I get to call my really close friends.

What is the biggest myth about your school? People love to think of Wharton as this cut-throat finance school. This simply couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s true – the finance curriculum is top-notch, but other programs in tech, entrepreneurship, and marketing are equally exciting. The school has put in a ton of effort over the past few years building out pitch competitions and speaker series on leadership that often get overlooked.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an       advantage at the school you chose? Talking to current students really helped me understand the school. I didn’t want to join Wharton for the sheer pedigree; rather, I wanted to be a part of the community at large for its culture, diversity, and appetite for shared success. Knowing the specifics of the Wharton culture really gave me a leg up. Moreover, the current students I spoke to graciously offered to read my application essay. Their insights were often more valuable than those of admissions consultants and that, I believe, made a difference in the outcome.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Without a doubt it’d have to be my classmate/roommate, Brandon Pang. We knew each other from our Deloitte days. Two consulting projects, two years of living together, and several reviews of each other’s business school essays later, I’ve gotten to know him as a friend/colleague/classmate. Brandon is the most genuine, caring, and thoughtful person I’ve ever met. He always has a smile on his face and strikes a phenomenal balance between excelling at school, advancing his hobbies, and staying in touch with his family. He’s willing to drop everything just to help a friend out, be it prepping for interviews, leading others on outdoor stretch experiences, or just being a dependable shoulder to cry on about personal struggles. In a world where many are looking out for their own self-interests, Brandon is a constant embodiment of optimism and selflessness, and I look up to him every day for that.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The hybrid environment has its ups and downs. On one hand, it has made some classes more efficient and accessible. For instance, Negotiations with Gus Cooney took advantage of the Zoom recording function and allowed the class to review memorable negotiation clips that an in-person class would not be able to replicate. On the other hand, losing the in-person element has dampened classroom participation and limited organic hallway conversations with my classmates. Outside of the classroom, it has been unfortunate to lose certain Wharton traditions, particularly those in the spring that we will never be able to experience.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents influenced me the most. Because they started a family business in IT services in Taiwan in the late 90s, I often saw their office as my daycare and their colleagues my extended aunts and uncles. Being in this ecosystem exposed me to the world of business and made me want to pursue a degree in this field.

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

* Live and work internationally. I’m hoping to put my French minor from my UCLA days and the Lauder degree here at Penn to use one day.

* Help my parents scale their business. I hope to apply the skills I learned over the last two years, be it qualitative or quantitative, to help them think through next steps in their ever-changing world of tech.

What made Teddy such an invaluable member of the Class of 2022?

“As the program manager for the Student Life Fellows (SLF) Program, I get to witness the peer-to-peer support and community building that makes Wharton unique first-hand. In my role as SLF program manager in addition to the 4 years I’ve worked on the Office of Student Life team, I’ve met a lot of SLFs. Teddy Shih is unlike any SLF we’ve had. Candidly, Teddy is unlike many people I’ve met. He is incredibly thoughtful, generous, kind, and one of the most driven students I’ve worked with. The contribution he has made to this community and his peers is so valuable and deserves recognition.

As a dual citizen of Canada and Taiwan, Teddy has a unique background that showcases what the vibrant Wharton community is all about. Prior to Wharton, Teddy served as a strategy and operations consultant for Deloitte in Los Angeles, CA and has plans to work in VC/start-ups after Wharton. Teddy is also a Lauder Institute student with a focus in east Asia. With additional leadership roles in multiple WGA clubs (WAAAM, PE/VC, Venture Forager) I sometimes ask myself when he sleeps. Each commitment that Teddy signs on for, he follows through and overachieves.

Above and beyond efforts include proactively connecting with my team to ask if he can support us through Welcome Weekends; hosting one-on-one sessions with his entire SLFam (many of those consist of regular check-ins) in addition to meetings with folks who are not in his SLFam; hosting many more events for his SLFam than is the required amount; and finally one of my favorite anecdotes because I think it truly speaks to who Teddy is as a person, giving an incoming international student his credit card information so that they will be able to have internet access once they arrived in the US.

There is no doubt that Teddy is going to be changing the world after he graduates this spring – in the business world and beyond. Teddy is the reason why Wharton is so special and why I feel so fortunate to work here. Not only has he been an incredible student to work with and get to know, but he is also truly a special person who I am so grateful to have in my life.”

Eddie Banks-Crosson
Director of Student Life


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