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Fellows of the Month: Ada Wan

Ada WanHarvard College, Psychology, 2007
Yale School of Management, Class of 2014
Hometown: Carmel, Indiana / Hong Kong
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Google, New Sector Alliance, New Profit

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
After leaving Google for several years in full-time social impact work, I realized that I could be a more effective change agent by strengthening my quantitative and management skill set. Accordingly, I decided to pursue an MBA so that I can offer, as Dean Karlan would say, “more than (just) good intentions” in my work.

What advice do you have for women who are considering business school?
Business school requires a significant investment of not only your time and financial resources but also your social, mental and emotional capital in a way that, more often than not, necessitates adjustment on the part of your family and friends as well as yourself. In considering business school, then, I would recommend that you first carefully evaluate the pros and cons and then set realistic expectations with those closest to you once you have decided to go.

What’s the most surprising you learned about business school during the application process?
I was most surprised by the generosity of then-current students with their time and opinions as I sought more information about their programs and experiences. Coming from a non-traditional background, I certainly harbored stereotypes about MBA students that, thankfully, were quickly dismantled.

Do you feel prepared for business school?
As a former psychology major who had not studied calculus since AP classes in high school, I knew that I could never be as 100% prepared as I wanted to be, so yes, I felt as prepared as I could have been for business school. The required summer pre-work certainly helped.

What do you do in your free time?
In addition to writing for the Yale School of Management’s community blog, I enjoy photography, kayaking and karaoke. New Haven has a surprisingly robust karaoke scene!

Please share something about your experience with Forté.
My experience with Forté in the months prior to school was instrumental in helping me to connect with incoming MBAs from other schools and preparing me for the business school way of thinking. For example, I attended a case workshop at the 2012 conference that offered my first taste of the Socratic teaching method.

After more than nine years of New England winters, I am looking to transition to warmer weather in the Bay Area upon graduation in order to explore my interest in human capital within the technology and social enterprise sectors. Already, I can confirm that business school has proven to be a valuable asset in facilitating this transition, as my classmates can attest regarding other types of transitions (e.g., across sectors and industries). If you are looking to make a transition, the MBA program certainly can make for a wonderful resource!

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