Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Danning Gu, Yale SOM

Danning Gu       

Yale School of Management

“I keep trying even if I fail – like me with tennis.”

Hometown: Tangshan, China; Singapore

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have weirdly short pinkies, shaped somewhat like bowling pins

Undergraduate School and Major: National University of Singapore, Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Consulting, Consultant

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? My hometown in China is a highly industrialized city whose economy has suffered in recent years due to the increasing emphasis on ESG. As difficult as it may sound, my goal is to find a way to balance economic development and environmental conservation; Yale SOM’s mission to educate leaders for business & society is exactly what I was looking for.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Definitely the International Experience piece! I believe it’s extremely important for a business leader to have international exposure to be able to adapt to the cultural and geopolitical environment of potential business locations; and this is especially true in the field of sustainability and clean energy.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? Non-academic and non-career related – but probably wine tasting classes.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Prior to Deloitte, I spent 3 years in ExxonMobil. I was working in marine shipping and inventory management in 2021 when the global supply chain was in turmoil. Navigating through that (relatively) unscathed was a very significant achievement to me personally.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My college education was in Chemical Engineering, which gave me a broad technical understanding of the industry I want to be in. However, throughout the years at the commercial side of things, I experienced how business decisions can significantly impact an organization, an industry, and the society. An MBA will give me the tools to be part of that decision-making process.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? If anyone has not read Bill Gates’s How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, I highly recommend it. You don’t have to agree with everything in the book, but the datasets are clear and solid enough to paint an overall picture of the dire situation we are in.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT Sloan and Berkeley Haas

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program? Yale SOM’s application process will guide you to reflect and rediscover yourself. So just relax and try to enjoy the process!


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