Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Wangda Lu, UC Riverside

Wangda Lu

“Ideologist, wonderful, traveler, reader, writer, athlete, curious, hardworking, gastronome, explorer, listener, leader, entrepreneur, family, love.”

Hometown: Xi’an, Shaanxi, China

Fun Fact About Yourself:
I prioritize filling my life with adventure and trying new things. I have traveled to almost 100 countries in the world. I go to the gym every day to stay fit and gain muscle. I collaborate with some really cool and famous TikTok bloggers, and we make videos together. I was bitten by a raccoon one time in Mexico, and I had to stay there for a whole month to abide by the necessary vaccine schedule.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Pittsburgh, philosophy and anthropology double major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Morgan Stanley, full-time internship with Chairman’s Club private wealth management team

What word best describes the UC Riverside MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far?
I would say the word is authentic. When I first met students and alumni, they were genuine, which is motivating. I think business school is not just about cold numbers and a lot of tables; it is more about human communication and interaction. I can feel everyone’s enthusiasm, and they communicate well.

Aside from classmates, what was the key part of UC Riverside’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?
I would say the environment, which includes faculty, staff, the dean, and others here at UCR. The staff helped me a lot and treated me kindly when I was still choosing schools. They gave me the feeling that I was like family. I think this pleasant and welcoming atmosphere is important because it makes me feel comfortable. As an international student, it is essential to feel confident and welcomed in a new environment, and that is exactly what UCR Business provides me. Location is another part of the environment: UCR is near Los Angeles, which is one of the biggest international cities in the world with lots of opportunities in business. I am looking forward to the opportunities the region offers during study and after graduation.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at UC Riverside?
First, I really enjoyed the graduate business student orientation. The whole day was filled with comprehensive activity to prepare us with all we need to start the school year and be successful. I gained some understanding about the professional world and had the chance to interact and network with others, engage in lively activities, and we ended the day with a nice time at the Barn, a beautiful on-campus restaurant and bar.

Second, I like all my courses this semester, especially MGT 402 Business Career Professional Development Workshop. In the class, there are many opportunities for assessments, discussions, and activities that help us identify career paths that most clearly align with our interests and strengths.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:
The biggest accomplishments of my career so far have been funding my own business back in Pittsburgh and landing an internship with Morgan Stanley. My business Drama Goblin Entertainment became the first board game studio in the Pittsburgh area with more than 1,000 customers. The studio was especially popular among the Chinese community in the Pittsburgh-area; they liked to come and play some board games, including Avalon and Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.

My experience at Morgan Stanley was more about understanding how a large company works and digging into the private wealth management industry. l went through a highly competitive recruiting process and was chosen by the Chairman’s Club’s private wealth management team. I was mentored by the head advisor, a managing director and Forbes-ranked wealth advisor. I was in charge of four different parts of our team: collecting statistics and writing a Chinese economic newsletter sent to the entire wealth management department in Morgan Stanley; governing the team’s research on Tesla, which is one of the most important securities in the client’s portfolio; leading the team’s research on the stocks focus lists, which help clients to protect and improve their capital; and managing and building relationships among customers with a net worth at least $5 million.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far:
I’ve made a lot of new friends here at the business school, and they all have different backgrounds from different cultures. It has also been an honor to be selected for the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Student Ambassador program and represent UCR. As an ambassador, I’m looking forward to attending different events and conferences. I’m also pleased to be selected for the Poets & Quants UCR Meet the MBA Class of 2025 feature. It’s a great opportunity for me to showcase myself as a student leader in these ways.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there?
My classmates and I often arrange an after-class group meeting either at the campus library or over Zoom. I really like this because we can sit down and talk about what happened in class, do some review, and create some new ideas. Also, I often get together with classmates to grab dinner and find time to study together. We are not just people in the same class, we are becoming friends and building strong networks.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?
I have been interested in business since I was a child and watched my parents grow businesses as entrepreneurs. I have a good understanding of the stock market, company management, and company bidding. I am looking forward to building critical skills in these areas, especially the management aspects of business.

I also aimed to transition into a different career path. Compared to my undergraduate major, an MBA degree is comprehensive, diverse, and emphasizes practical business strategies. My undergraduate major laid the theoretical foundation for pursuing an MBA, much like the utilitarian principles of Adam Smith and John Mill, which I can readily apply to my graduate studies.

After graduation, I hope to stay in wealth management or explore sports management. With a master’s in business, I’ll gain a new way of thinking about how to construct my career, enhance my skills, establish valuable relationships, and access resources that will expand my chances of professional success. Details influence the results, and looking to the future, I want to develop my own business style with professionalism and integrity and thoughtfulness. I anticipate considering my UCR Business lessons in my daily work throughout my career and consider the impact of my business decisions on various stakeholders.

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