Meet The MBA Class Of 2022: Nancy Wenjia Yu, Stanford GSB

Nancy Wenjia Yu

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“China root, Global heart; always ready for new experiences; 1st generation college student.” 

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I managed to live in Berlin for 1 year with kindergarten-level of German

Undergraduate School and Major:  B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tsinghua University

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Consultant, Boston Consulting Group

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Growing up in a traditional Asian culture, I was trained to be hard-working and achieve “the best” route defined by society. After 4 years of professional service life across Asia and Europe, I wanted to pursue an MBA program that can help me calibrate long-term goals that fit with my own values and happiness – not just in my career but also broader in my personal life.

I think what differentiates Stanford GSB from other MBA programs is that it provides such a “touchy-feely” environment for students to fully explore and understand themselves better as a person, charter their own career, and develop emotional intelligence skills (leadership, communication, interpersonal skills) accordingly to achieve long-term success.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Though having heard about it up front, I am still very surprised by the authentic culture of GSB.

We have weekly GSB TALK where two students in our class share their own personal stories in front of the entire class. I can’t tell you how surprised, inspired, and grateful I am hearing about such deep and vulnerable life-story sharing from each individual. It takes a great amount of courage and goodwill intention to fully open and disclose yourself to 400 classmates you have just met, but because of the culture of GSB it happens as a tradition every week.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? “Growth mindset”. My classmates are extremely humble about their past achievements, yet very open minded to learn new things from each other, proactively asking and giving feedback to help each other’s growth in this community.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: With a holistic knowledge of healthcare ecosystems across markets, I produced a pharma policy proposal with an Industry Association, which resulted in the Chinese government reshaping pharmaceutical distribution regulations to mitigate drug safety risk.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I have lived most of my life in China and had never studied or lived in the United States before coming to the GSB. My biggest accomplishment as an MBA1 student is being able to integrate into GSB life and make meaningful friendships with my classmates across countries and cultures. I felt included in social activities such as small group dinners and weekend trips. I also felt comfortable expressing my perspectives in different conversations; my voice is always respected by my classmates.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I also applied to HBS and MIT Sloan.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I have built up more self-awareness for my own leadership style and identified improvement areas moving forward. While my strengths are “structured and logic thinking”, and “creating affiliation and connection among the group”, previously I was afraid of using power – which I thought would make me look like a bad person. After taking classes such as “Leadership Lab” and “Acting with Power”, I realized power up does not mean acting like a jerk, but is more about the following: 1) Building up prestige and assertiveness from my knowledge and expertise; 2) Standing up in front of a team to navigate complexity when faced with uncertainty; and 3) Gaining influence by sharing different perspectives, which I am willing to practice in future classes.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2023? Don’t set up boundaries for yourself; instead of wasting efforts guessing at what Stanford GSB wants from candidates, just focus on telling your own story. Think about the things that happened in life that drove you to this point, what are the critical decisions you have made in the past and why, and what is your North Star in life.