Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Sophia Lo, Cornell University (Johnson)

Sophia Lo

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“A laughing girl who can laugh for up to 10 minutes and loves to spread optimism and a positive attitude.”

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once waited in a long line for an entire night to purchase tickets to a baseball championship game. It was a Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan and I travelled two-and-a- half hours by bus to get to the game.

Undergraduate School and Major: National Taiwan University, Business Administration in Tech Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Prudential, Product Manager

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Cornell’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Fintech courses in New York City at the Cornell Tech campus were a big draw because it will allow me to take cutting edge courses, interact with fintech experts, and network with tech students at a state-of-the-art campus.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Cornell?

The Investment Banking Immersion: I attended an IB course to learn about the different industries and I believe the coursework and discussions with professors and my fellow students will help me further my skills and potentially help me land a job in the IB industry.

Big Red Venture Fund: I’m looking forward to researching and deciding on what funds to invest in and working with others to learn as much as I can about investing and banking.

What excites you the most about living in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region? Ithaca is a college town surrounded by gorgeous nature, hiking trails, and forests. It will be very convenient for me to go hiking or just walk along different trails near campus. I’m looking forward to taking breaks and enjoying the picturesque scenes of waterfalls and beautiful views.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I helped develop and establish a tracking system for personal loans. It was a digital tool embedded in emails, text, website, and any software system with the goal to achieve a response rate. For this initiative, I led a small group with four people from different departments, such as engineers, marketing team, sales team, and support team. One of the big challenges was helping to motivate our teams. I also needed to build the end-to-end process, from searching the available parameters to fit our systems to checking the data.

I spent most of my time communicating with different teams to understand the workflow and testing it to ensure everything was up and running. Meanwhile, I had to convince my managers and stakeholders that my approach and strategy brought benefit to the company. Once we achieved good results and better team cohesion, my managers were willing to provide a larger budget. The new tracking system was applied to more areas than I expected and proved to be a win-win for many departments.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? The pandemic has reminded me that the most important thing in my life is bonding with friends, colleagues, and my loved ones. I enjoy getting to know others and developing networks in a diverse environment. My goal is to meet as many people as possible while pursuing my MBA at Johnson.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? During my work in the financial industry, I realized I had a passion to invent more convenient financial products to directly benefit customers. Over time, I found that I needed more practical experience and leadership ability in order to lead in the industry. It’s hard to gain expertise in these two areas in my home country, so I chose to study my MBA in America to strengthen my soft skills and then work to gain more exposure in the fintech industry. My goal is to work in a fintech company or fintech position in a tech company to help me realize my dream job.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Ross, Fuqua, Kellogg and Yale

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Cornell’s MBA program? Talk to as many alumni and current students as possible. Understand and research Cornell’s MBA program first. The attractive location and supportive environment are unique attributes and are something you should take note of.