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Real Humans of the London Business School MBA Class of 2022

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Wanmeng Zhang, LBS MBA Class of 2022

Age: 26
Hometown: Espoo, Finland
Undergraduate Institution and Major: New York University L. Stern School of Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 3.5 years, management consulting at Bain

Why business school? Why now? 
I wanted to do a career transition and explore the intersection of tech, design, and entrepreneurship. After a few exciting years in consulting, which took me around industries and the world, I wanted to get my hands dirty again and work on creating something new. I have always been a ‘doer’ and ‘maker’. During my spare time, I love to photograph, make travel videos, bake desserts for my friends and family as well as create ‘Dutch pour’ acrylic art. I wanted to use my time in business school to rediscover that within the business & tech fields.

Why LBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I had already studied in the USA, so I was leaning towards getting a European MBA degree. An ex-colleague and friend of mine was an LBS alum and his excitement and experience really inspired me to look into LBS. LBS’s renewed commitment to entrepreneurship and tech, as well as being in the middle of a key European tech hub, really solidified my choice of coming here.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
Beyond being among the only Finns here, I think my drone videography will make all Class of 2022 treks Condé Nast Traveller approved!

Jokes aside, I think the biggest contribution I can bring is the amalgamation of different schools of thought: having that design angle in a business plan, bringing commercial realization to art.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I don’t get brain freezes. Ever.

Post-MBA career interests? 
I want to explore a career in a field where I get to exert my creative energy, business mindset, and have an opportunity to work in a diverse team environment. While I am still exploring what that means in practice, I am experimenting with areas of product management at growing technology companies.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be very targeted. I know a lot of people who apply to a lot of schools, but I knew that strategy was not going to work for me. I have carried the same philosophy of “not spreading myself too thin” now that I started an MBA. If I join a challenge or apply for a leadership position, I put my 100% in it and I am very focused. Only then, I feel genuine and I feel a sense of ownership – and seems like success has followed (most of the time).

–One thing you would change or do differently?             
Talk to more alumni. Not just for networking or a referral. But to test the energy level and personality of the school. Especially to the alumni in the fields where you would like to transition to after MBA. I really believe that fit is crucial in making sure you get the most out of your experience.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Not going to lie – I would have loved to skip the GMAT. Sheer determination and push from my accountability partner (my boyfriend) helped me get through it. Have someone who is close to you to check on you on the things you find hard and unpleasant. Some external pressure always works well in these situations.

What is your initial impression of LBS’s students/culture/community?
Buzzing. Always buzzing with life and things to do. I got out of consulting hoping to get a ‘break’ – not sure if I succeeded on that end, to be honest.

One thing you have learned about LBS that has surprised you? 
Everyone knows LBS is among the most diverse programs in terms of the students and their backgrounds. Yet I was still caught off-guard on the diversity here and let me explain why: I studied in New York City and worked at Bain and still have I never had such a diverse study group and working environment. What makes it different here compared to my experience at NYU is that people here don’t seek out familiarity. Cliques don’t exist here. Everyone here seeks out the different, the eye-opening, the more culturally colorful experience. I knew the LBS community was going to be diverse. I assumed that people seek out the familiar and comfortable in diverse situations. , but I was very wrong. And I am very happy about being wrong about that.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
Being able to keep myself focused on what I want. I talked about not spreading myself too thin and I have to say that the first few months here have really put that to test.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Rediscovering my passions, making friendships to last a lifetime, eating all the delicious food of London, international treks … so many, impossible to choose just one!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.