2021 MBAs To Watch: Angela Wan, UC San Diego (Rady)

Angela Wan

Rady School of Management at UC San Diego

“I’m happiest when there’s a view, a cup of tea in my hand and complete silence.”

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a huge dog lover and got to raise and train a service dog! He’s now a medical alert dog for a girl with epilepsy.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Pittsburgh, Bachelors of Science in Nursing

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a Professional Staff Nurse

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? I was supposed to intern as a Summer Associate with Gartner Consulting in the San Diego office, but the program fell through due to the pandemic. Since there was a shortage of healthcare workers and hospitals were being inundated with patients, I decided to put my scrubs back on for the summer and provide COVID nursing relief.

Where will you be working after graduation? I am putting my MBA to work and leveraging my background in nursing to work as a Healthcare Advisory Associate at KPMG.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I regularly donate to and volunteer at the San Diego Food Bank on the weekends. I also act as the club liaison between Rady and UC San Diego’s Advanced Professional Degree Consulting Club.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of placing first in the IXL Consulting Competition back in Fall 2020. It was my first quarter in the MBA program and I was already facing a steep learning curve transitioning from healthcare to business. I had entered the case competition to familiarize myself with consulting, and my team was matched with perhaps the hardest case: a client who needed an entire business plan and market entry strategy. I put in an immense amount of late nights and grueling work. I’m proud of myself for not only learning and contributing a lot to my team, but also delivering the best recommendation possible. I never imagined I would get first place in my first competition ever!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It was the number of lives I have been able to save during my time as a nurse. From kids who had transfusion reactions, to babies who suffered brain herniations, these code blue situations will always remind me of the impact I can make on the lives of so many as long as I’m not afraid to act.

Why did you choose this business school? The admissions team at Rady was by my side throughout the whole application process and were very transparent in their answers about the program. They genuinely cared about my career goals and how an education at Rady could help me achieve them. They even sat with me on a call to help me map out what I was looking for in a program and my career steps. I felt immensely supported by them and knew that I wanted to attend a business school with this kind of supportive culture.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Michael Berthelot . I took his course on corporate governance and was amazed at the wealth of industry knowledge that he brought to the class. Having been CEO of a huge firm and serving on several boards, he was able to bring a whole new perspective to the course and teach from personal experience rather than just a textbook. I always looked forward to his class; they were always very candid and we were able to discuss current events and issues. His passion for the subject was evident in his teaching and I have never absorbed material as fast as I did in his class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I loved that Rady hosted a networking dinner during orientation week so that MBA students from all cohorts, faculty, and alumni could mingle and get to know each other. We had a lovely dinner with a spectacular view of the sunset over the Pacific and it was the perfect setting to start a new school year. It was a great introduction to the school and helped make the Rady community feel stronger by emphasizing the interconnectedness of the Rady network.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have wanted to make more friends in other cohorts and the other Masters programs (MFin, MPAC, MSBA). I thought there would be more time and opportunities to get to know each other, but that became much more difficult once the pandemic hit and classes/networking events moved online.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think a big myth was that being a relatively younger business school, Rady did not have the same resources as other schools. While there wasn’t as much in terms of variety and number of clubs, Rady was able to tap into the larger UC San Diego network and gain resources there. The large alumni network also helped us make vital connections for projects and job searching. I never felt disadvantaged or unsupported in what Rady was able to offer me.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me most was the support and camaraderie I received from peers. I was nervous that business school would be extremely competitive and peers would be more self-serving, making it difficult to find good friends. Instead, everyone was more than willing to help each other and I quickly found a close group of friends. It was easy to connect with those in my cohort and those in the flex-evening/flex-weekend as well.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose?  It is not common for nurses to pursue an MBA over a MSN or MHA, so I think that was already eye-catching on my application. In addition, being able to speak to the unique experience I had as a healthcare professional and describing how certain situations led me to want to pursue a career in business really showcased my passion for my career goals and helped me stand out from the crowd.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Teigan Macdonald. Not only does she have an impressive resume, but all throughout the full-time program she continued to work part-time and then later on full-time, at a pharmaceutical firm in a demanding role. She has an incredible work ethic and is the first to have her assignments and project responsibilities done, sometimes more than a week in advance. Teigan advocates for everyone in our program and will go out of her way to help others in any capacity she can. She is truly an amazing peer and friend to have.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Initially, it was a large adjustment since it was a rather abrupt shift to online learning. All events were suddenly cancelled, the course materials had not been redesigned for online learning, and I had to figure out how to convert my apartment into a more learning-friendly environment. Once I adopted a more set routine and the courses had been reformatted, it was a much smoother transition in the Fall 2020 and Winter 2020 quarters.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad really loved finance and the stock market. He would always bring up current events, stock prices, and the state of the economy at the dinner table, so I grew up with an interest in business. It continued even as I pursued a degree and career in healthcare, and I eventually decided to find a way to merge the two.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? As a consultant, I want to lead a project that will have a huge impact on the healthcare field, such as increasing access to care by building a series of new hospitals or bringing a medical device to market that will change the standard of treatment. I also want to sit on the board of trustees for a large healthcare system.

What made Angela such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?
“My class is very interactive and participative. Angela’s interest in the subject matter and excitement about learning new concepts while undertaking her own research and sharing it through presentations with her classmates was infectious. Her written and verbal work was excellent.  Her leadership abilities and true interest in how companies work, and how people work in them, made the class more valuable to all of her colleagues.  I enjoyed spending time with Angela, and if the opportunity presented itself in the future, I would be more than happy to work with her or assist her in achieving her career goals.”

Michael J. Berthelot
Lecturer at the UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management

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