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Real Humans of the IESE Business School MBA Class of 2025

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iese business school 2025Yanmin Zhang, IESE Business School MBA Class of 2025

Age: 32
Hometown: Wuhu, China
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Ulster, BSc in Finance and Investment Analysis
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Senior Associate, Huashan Capital, 5 years

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I have decided to attend business school because I am deeply passionate about the business world and believe in the inexorable nature of globalization, with China’s pivotal role in it. Witnessing the transformation of my country over the past two decades has reinforced my conviction in this belief. My long-term goal is to make an impact in the global business world, and to do that, I need to develop a comprehensive understanding of business, global strategy, and cultivate a wide network of connections.

Why did you choose IESE? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The IESE MBA program aligns perfectly with my aspirations, offering the knowledge and connections I seek. In the short term, I plan to work in management consulting to gain deeper insights into global industries. The 19-month duration and case-based learning approach at IESE will provide me with a practical and well-rounded education, setting the stage for my journey towards becoming an international business leader.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the IESE Business School Class of 2025?
My most valuable contribution to the Class of 2025 is my unique perspective and experience in the field of venture capital. Growing up in China, I have witnessed the rapid transformation of an underdeveloped nation into a global powerhouse. This perspective, coupled with my deep passion for business and my hands-on experience in venture capital, brings a distinct international outlook to the class. I have worked on identifying, evaluating, and investing in promising startups, gaining insights into the entrepreneurial landscape. I believe my experiences and determination to become an international business leader, informed by my venture capital background, will enrich class discussions and foster a diverse learning environment, enhancing the collective knowledge and understanding of global business dynamics.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
One fun fact about me is that I’m a board game enthusiast. I love collecting and playing a wide variety of board games, from strategy games to cooperative adventures. It’s a fantastic way to unwind and bond with friends and family, and I often find that board games bring out everyone’s competitive spirit and sense of camaraderie. My collection keeps growing, and I’m always on the lookout for the latest and most exciting additions to our game nights.

Post-MBA career interests:
My post-MBA career interests involve exploring opportunities in the fields of international business, strategy, and innovation. I’m open to roles in both established corporations and startups, with a focus on contributing to growth and global expansion. I look forward to gaining exposure to various industries and leveraging my MBA education to make a positive impact in dynamic and evolving business environments.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
One thing I would absolutely do again as part of my application process is the thorough research and reflection on my long-term goals and how the chosen program aligns with them. This process allowed me to tailor my application to the specific strengths and values of the institution, demonstrating a genuine and well-informed interest. It not only helped me present a compelling case for my admission but also ensured that I was choosing a program that genuinely suited my aspirations.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
One thing I would do differently in my application process is to seek out more diverse perspectives and feedback during the essay writing and application preparation stage. While I found it valuable to work with mentors and advisors, I believe I could have benefited even more by involving peers or colleagues who could offer fresh insights and alternative viewpoints. This broader feedback would have helped me create a more well-rounded and nuanced application that truly reflects my unique qualities and experiences.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
One part of the application process I would have preferred to skip, if possible, is the financial documentation and paperwork. Preparing financial statements and documents can be a tedious and time-consuming task. However, what helped me get through it was staying organized and seeking guidance from the admissions office. They provided valuable information and assistance in ensuring all the necessary financial documents were in order. Additionally, maintaining a clear checklist and being diligent in gathering the required paperwork helped streamline this part of the process, making it more manageable.

What is your initial impression of the IESE students/culture/community?
The culture at IESE often emphasizes teamwork and collaboration, with a focus on real-world application of business knowledge. The IESE community are very welcoming and supportive, with a shared commitment to making a positive impact in the world of business. The school often emphasizes ethical leadership and a global perspective, and these values seem to be reflected in the student body and the community as a whole.

What is one thing you have learned about IESE Business School that has surprised you?
One aspect of IESE that surprised me positively is the extent of the global reach and impact of its alumni network. IESE has a wide and influential alumni community, with graduates who have made significant contributions to various industries and regions worldwide. The strength and breadth of this network can provide valuable opportunities for current students and recent graduates, including access to mentors, job placements, and partnerships for entrepreneurial ventures. This extensive alumni network demonstrates the enduring value and reach of an IESE education, which extends well beyond the classroom and into the global business landscape.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
One thing I am most anxious about in my first year is the academic rigor and the adjustment to the fast-paced nature of the MBA program. I understand that MBA programs are intensive, and there’s a significant volume of coursework and assignments to manage. I want to ensure that I not only meet the academic challenges but also excel in my studies. To address this anxiety, I plan to stay organized, utilize time management techniques, and seek help or guidance from professors and classmates when needed. I’m excited about the learning opportunities, but I recognize that the workload may be demanding, so I’m determined to approach it with a proactive and balanced perspective.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
One thing I am most excited about in my first year is the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of classmates and to build a strong professional network. MBA programs like IESE typically bring together students from various backgrounds, industries, and countries. This diversity of perspectives and experiences is incredibly enriching, and I look forward to engaging in lively class discussions, collaborative group projects, and forming meaningful connections with my peers. I believe that the interactions and relationships I build during this year will not only enhance my academic experience but also contribute to my personal and professional growth in significant ways.

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.