My Journey from China to Tuck - Part I

Guest Student Contributor, August 07, 2013 | 0 comments
Tags: admissions, global, advice

Originally from Beijing, Sylvia is excited to spend the next two years in Hanover, NH as a member of Tuck’s Class of 2015. She’s also looking forward to sharing her experiences with you through the Admissions Blog! Look for the second part of Sylvia’s ‘"Journey to Tuck’" tomorrow.

Ever since college, I knew that I wanted to do an MBA. However, I had no idea that I would fall in love with Tuck and eventually come here. Exactly at the same time last year, I was doing research on my notebook about schools and decided that Tuck might be where I wanted to be. Now, on the same notebook, I am writing about my journey to Tuck and the so far limited yet exciting Tuck experience. How surreal!

Although a Beijing-native, I went to The Hong Kong University of Science& Technology (HKUST) and majored in industrial engineering because Hong Kong is far away from home and I wanted to go along a different path from my parents who were business majors. My three years at HKUST was extremely happy (the beautiful campus spreads on a hill overlooking the South China Sea and scattered small islands where we play beach volleyball or wakeboard during a boat trip. Tuck has an exchange program with HKUST, FYI). As industrial engineering students, we had both courses in technical topics and in management, economics, etc. I found myself leaning more towards the business-related courses and realized that my real interests lie in business. Thus, the idea of getting an MBA emerged.

After spending a summer interning for a bank in Singapore, I knew that banking is not my thing and secured a consulting offer in Shanghai and offers with Big 4s in Hong Kong upon graduation. I chose to stay in Hong Kong for the broader international exposure and spent two years working on IPOs and then another two years advising private equity clients on M&A deals, banking giant on resolution planning and insurer on divestments across Asia.

Towards the end of my forth year working full time, the time to realize my MBA dream came, but I hesitated. I loved my job, there were exciting projects coming in the pipeline and my MD promised a milestone promotion. Deep inside, I knew the ultimate reasons –the fears that I’m not good enough, that I don’t have a life story involving fighting disability, winning Olympics or starting an up-and-coming business, and that I might fail to realize my dream. My then boyfriend now husband told me: ‘Your dream will never be realized if you don’t ever try and you have nothing to lose pursuing your dreams.’ He’s right. I realized that, ten years down the road, I will be regretting what I have not done instead of what I have done.

So I hit it off and Tuck became my top choice for its strongly supportive alumni, intimate residence program experience (very important for an international student), and a strong presence in banking, consulting, PE and general management considering its size. Coming from China, one more factor chipped in: It’s an Ivy League school. To me, Tuck is the best place for a foreigner to experience the Ivy tradition with its legacy of 113 years and a close-knit community to immerse myself in.

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