Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Cecilia Liu, Harvard Business School

Cecilia Liu

Harvard Business School

“I’m an engineer with entrepreneurial drive, dedicated to lifelong learning and building valuable products.”

Hometown: Shanghai, China

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a proud mother of identical twin boys!

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgia Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Computer Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amazon, Software Engineer

What has been your first impression of the Harvard Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far?

I joined HBS in mid-June and was soon introduced to numerous Elective Curriculum (EC, or first year) students, who, like me, brought their families along. One of the first MBA students I met was also a parent and our children were born only 10 days apart! Fellow students quickly guided me to off-campus childcare resources and events. In no time, I found myself embraced by a warm and supportive community. When I started the design theory and practice class in early August, I was excited to find out that I was not only among an extraordinarily gifted group of classmates, but also a group marked by remarkable diversity. My peers come from various cultural backgrounds and sectors. I consider myself truly lucky to have the opportunity to share the next two years with them.

What makes the case method so effective in learning how to lead and manage? One of the key skills in managerial leadership is communication. My initial impression of HBS MBA students is they have a remarkable capacity to articulate ideas succinctly. This ability likely stems from extensive practice in case study class discussions with peers. What adds to the allure of the case method is the opportunity for students to question each other’s assumptions, as they all hail from diverse backgrounds. Developing the skill to be an attentive listener and consequently formulate informed opinions is undoubtedly another crucial skill for effective management.

Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key part of Harvard Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? My goal is to launch my own business—the entrepreneurship programs at HBS deeply resonated with me. Beyond the outstanding networking opportunities and a curriculum tailored for entrepreneurship, the MS/MBA program was particularly captivating.

Starting with the design theory and practice class, I was not only encouraged to think differently from an engineering perspective, but I was also guided through the process from design to prototyping. Moreover, the program introduced me to a wealth of entrepreneurship resources available at Harvard including the REEF Makerspace at the nearby School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Harvard i-lab.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Harvard Business School, and why? I am most excited about the entrepreneurship courses. As someone who aspires to start my own business, these courses provide a unique opportunity to learn the practical aspects of entrepreneurship and ideate and design from an engineer’s standpoint. Additionally, the resources that HBS offers for aspiring entrepreneurs are invaluable. The opportunity to access these resources and learn from some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the world is what makes the entrepreneurship courses at HBS so appealing to me.

When you think of Harvard Business School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Limitless. Harvard Business School represents limitless learning opportunities, limitless networking possibilities, and limitless career potential.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As one of the initial engineers at Diligent Robotics, my most significant accomplishment in my career to date has been visiting more than 10 major hospitals throughout Texas and developing robots that provided crucial assistance to the overburdened clinical staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are your plans after graduation? My aspiration is to establish a company prior to graduating and, ideally, continue to nurture and grow it after I complete my studies.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, Stanford

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Harvard Business School’s MBA program? Stay authentic and embrace your uniqueness! Remain dedicated to your personal journey, hone your skills within your chosen field, and acquire profound knowledge and understanding along the way. Reach out to a Harvard alumnus to learn how the program can bolster your success and how your individual strengths can enhance the learning experience for others.


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