Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Eunjee Koh, Yale SOM

Eunjee Koh          

Yale School of Management

“Sprinkling in business education at the intersection of sustainability and health.”

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia 

Fun Fact About Yourself: I had the opportunity to ask a question to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during my summer study abroad in Dharamshala and he interrupted me to compliment my name.

Undergraduate School and Major: Emory University, Anthropology and Human Biology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Budget Execution Program Analyst, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation

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 mission is to convince private, public, and nonprofit sectors to prioritize sustainability and health with an equitable lens. There are three ways that I envision my SOM career furthering my mission over the next two years. The first is to understand what motivates major players in each of the sectors and how organizations and individuals can work together effectively. The second is to attend workshops and events led by Yale Center for Business and Environment such as Power and Race in Community, Business, and Environment to learn with and from my peers across other graduate schools. Third is to use practicum-based classes such as Social Entrepreneurship Lab and Sustainable Business Capstone Consulting to deep dive into concrete examples of sustainable business and gain perspective on how the private sector approaches sustainability and health.

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? A key draw of Yale SOM’s MBA curriculum was the flexibility to take elective courses across Yale’s various academic programs. This is especially true for someone like me, who is interested in exploring the intersection of sustainability and well-being. The ability to attend classes at Yale School of Environment, Yale School of Public Health, and Yale Center on Climate Change and Health will broaden my understanding of the health impacts of sustainability. Classes at these schools in addition to my MBA education will also allow me to naturally expand my network across Yale’s other graduate schools and hear the thoughts of my peers at the respective schools on how the private sector can support and advance public health and climate justice efforts.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Yale SOM? I am most excited for the Economic Development Symposium, which usually takes place in the Fall at Yale SOM. I am interested to hear discussions between a wide range of thought leaders from academia, nonprofit, government, and private sectors on inclusive economic development. Spring 2022’s symposium was on Financing Innovations for Equitable Development, which included actors from traditional finance roles to newer players in the field such as impact investors. Given the themed panel format of past symposiums, I am curious to identify the differences in each sector’s approach to inclusive economic development and the opportunities and barriers to cross-sector collaboration.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been my efforts to bridge divides and foster teamwork and cross-team collaboration as part of an intergenerational team at my most recent job. Through bridging knowledge and skills gaps, we were able to foster a spirit of collaboration and build a team that worked more effectively than the team had before I joined the organization.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I decided to pursue an MBA because working in the federal government across two politically different administrations highlighted the implausible nature of having long-term strategies within government. While searching to better understand how to make sustainable change possible, I noticed how some companies had stepped up during an unfavorable political climate to declare their net-zero goals. The more direct connection to consumer demand appealed to me and pushed me to try and better understand the role of the private sector in the U.S. economy and society. As consumers start demanding companies to create moral standards, I am interested in the blurred lines between nonprofit, private, and public sectors and how each can be better leveraged to advance a more sustainable and healthier society.

With this in mind, I have several ideas for my immediate next step after graduation. One option would be to enter consulting to better understand how different industries within the private sector approach sustainability and gain a stronger litmus test for the private sector’s appetite in this field. Another option would be to enter a clean tech company in an operations or strategy role, hopefully one that would have a health focus. Entering the start-up realm would help me answer questions I have about the role that innovation plays in addressing climate change and health concerns.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why?  Go watch Everything Everywhere All at Once! This is for multiple reasons: great film, entertainment during stressful application, school decision, and school times, and Asian American representation in Hollywood films. It was also a reminder that a feeling of “what if” will likely always exist and may cause you to stop yourself from pursuing new opportunities because of self-doubt, responsibilities, or the circumstances of that moment. You have to make the best decision for yourself for that moment, and that may mean you decide to do something relatively “wild.” This may effectively pull your into what could be considered an “alternate reality” version of yourself (i.e., apply to that unfamiliar but interesting program or try that new field, because why not?).

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to UC Berkeley Haas, University of Michigan Ross, MIT Sloan, Stanford GSB, Harvard, Duke university Fuqua, and University of Pennsylvania Wharton.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Yale SOM’s MBA program?  I would say definitely start working on your essays early. Initially, I put all of my effort into preparing for the standardized tests because I felt that those would take the longest for me to get up to speed. However, I found that crafting and refining my story to answer each essay prompt took a lot more drafts and brainstorming to get to the core of why I wanted to get an MBA. Also, being able to look back on my essays during the final decision-making process for schools helped me narrow down what I wanted to focus on for the next two years.


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