2023 MBA To Watch: Yang “Jason” Yang, USC (Marshall)

Yang “Jason” Yang

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“A collaborative leader with confidence in others and always with a sharing mindset.”

Hometown: Shenzhen, China

Fun fact about yourself: My legal first and last names are both Yang, but they are written in different Chinese characters and have unique meanings.

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.S. in Business and M.S. in Information Systems from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before joining business school, I headed a product solutions team at ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok. My primary responsibility involved building a cloud-based data analytics platform that emphasized product analytics and experimentation for enterprise customers worldwide.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I interned at Google Search in Mountain View, California.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning to Google as a Product Strategy & Operation Lead after graduation.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-Director, Marshall Business Competition Program
  • VP of Career Development, Graduate Asian Business Society
  • Fellow and President Coach, Marshall Leadership Fellow Program
  • Dean’s List

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As an MBA student, I served as Vice President for the Marshall Business Competition Program, where we organized the Marshall Signature case competition. It was a unique opportunity to bring together global minds to solve complex business problems. Despite challenges posed by the Omicron variant, we successfully hosted the first in-person case competition after the pandemic with hard work and collaboration. This accomplishment was particularly rewarding as it was one of the few held in early 2022.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Although I have worked on numerous projects in recent years, the achievement I am most proud of is leading a project during my second year of my career at an F500 company. My team was tasked with supporting the finance department in evaluating vendors for a forecasting system replacement. Most vendors required software customization that would cost over $1 million, and there was no off-the-shelf product available. Drawing on my expertise in the forecasting process, I took the initiative to design and build a working prototype in-house, which we eventually scaled up to a production system. This saved the company over $1 million in implementation and maintenance contract costs.

Why did you choose this business school? I was drawn to USC Marshall chiefly due to the robust Trojan Network. During my research on various schools, I was deeply impressed by the genuine warmth and hospitality extended to me by USC alumni. As an individual with aspirations of settling down in LA and ultimately founding my own enterprise, the collaborative community and active alumni network at USC Marshall, especially in the West Coast and APAC region, hold immense value for me. I am confident that this nurturing atmosphere will foster the development of my leadership abilities and enable me to establish a comprehensive business network in LA, thereby setting the stage for my future entrepreneurial endeavors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Sivaramakrishnan Siddarth was my favorite MBA professor. His passion for the subject he taught was infectious, and his engaging teaching style made it easy to fall in love with the topic. Moreover, Professor Siddarth genuinely cared for each of his students, remembering everyone’s name, where they sat, and who they were, not just for the current semester, but throughout his entire teaching career.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Out of all the courses I took during my MBA program, “Alliances and Cooperative Strategy,” taught by Professor Kyle J. Mayer, was my favorite. I found the subject matter of strategic alliances and cooperation among firms to be fascinating and gained valuable insights from the course. One unique aspect was that most of the cases were written by past students, and we even had the opportunity to write our own case studies and facilitate class sessions like a professor. The engaging teaching style of Professor Mayer and the interesting class setup made for an enriching and enjoyable learning experience.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? What else can be better than watching USC football games with your lovely classmates? Fight on!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could turn back time, I would have gone on more trips with my friends in the program. The memories we made together are precious and will stay with us for the rest of our lives. It would have been wonderful to create even more memories that we could cherish forever.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Many people told me that Marshall was a school primarily focused on the entertainment industry, but this statement only tells half the truth. While Marshall does have a strong presence in the entertainment industry, its students also represent a wide range of other industries. During my time at Marshall, I had the opportunity to take classes in finance and business analytics and was impressed by the quality of professors and coursework. The curriculum offers a lot of flexibility, with a vast offering in various industries and functions.

What surprised you the most about business school? I have been pleasantly surprised by the strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion at USC Marshall. The school is dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds and provides a range of resources and initiatives to support this mission. These include spotlighting diversity programs and student organizations, as well as organizing inclusive programming and events. USC Marshall’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in all aspects of campus life is truly commendable. I am proud to be part of a community that values and celebrates diversity, and I believe that this focus on inclusivity will ultimately help us all become better business leaders.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Along with my professional background, I believe that my involvement in various community services has given me a competitive edge. In my leisure time, I have devoted myself to various causes such as DEI, shelters, and career services. These activities align with the values and attributes that our school holds dear, and I believe they have played a crucial role in shaping my character and my ability to work effectively with diverse groups. Through these experiences, I have developed strong interpersonal and leadership skills that will serve me well both in my future career and in my personal life.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Of all my MBA classmates, I most admire Roger Xu. We bonded in a class working group. Roger is a pioneer to me, a responsible father, and a full-time MBA student.

Roger was an outstanding medical student who had an exceptional aptitude for learning and a deep understanding of knowledge and the world around him. Like many of his peers in the medical field, he possessed a remarkable sense of empathy, approaching his interactions with his peers as he would with his patients. With an unwavering commitment to understanding their pain points, he would explore different perspectives and approaches to help “heal” them. However, what impressed me most about Roger was his remarkable ability to handle conflicts. Despite being a father and having to juggle various responsibilities, he was able to successfully balance his academics, job search, and family life. His talent for conflict resolution is something that I truly admire.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Build my tech start-up company.
  • Mentor someone to become an executive.

What made Jason such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Jason Yang has excelled academically during his two years at Marshall. He has been on Dean’s List for all semesters to date. In addition, he served as co-director of USC Marshall’s MBCP (Marshall Business Competition Program) and as VP of Career Development of Graduate Asian Business Society. MBCP is the organization that oversees the Marshall students’ participation in various case competitions and ensures that the students are prepared to advance against other challenger MBA programs. Participation in this program helps students with recruiting opportunities and the opportunity to solve complex real-world problems.

Jason has been deeply committed to the Marshall community and his service has helped to build Marshall’s reputation as a business competition leader. MBCP includes a series of case competition workshops, a coaching program, access to top competitions as well as reimbursements and logistical support.”

Upon graduation, Jason will be returning to Google where he interned last summer in the product safety and operations group.”

Scott Abrams
Associate Professor of Clinical Finance and Business Economics, and FT MBA Academic Director


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