Throughout the month of May, the Tuck and Dartmouth communities will offer a number of events and programs to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. AAPIHM 2022’s theme, Constellations, explores the ways in which each member of the AAPI community creates connections with each other and with other marginalized communities. Each constellation represents the solidarities formed across time and space, symbolizing transnational and transcultural strength.
In celebration of AAPIHM, we asked members of our AAPI community to reflect on their goals, accomplishments, inspirations, and passions.
How would you describe your life philosophy?
My life’s philosophy is to focus on the process rather than the outcome. As a high school student, I always found myself stressing out about exams and the results. After an exam, my father would always ask me if I did my best, to which I would always say yes. He would casually go on to say, “Do your best and if your best is not enough, so be it.” I have carried this learning throughout my life, and I focus more on giving 100% to what I do rather than worrying about the result.
Describe a challenge you encountered in your life and/or career, how you were able to overcome it, and what you learned.
The biggest challenge I have encountered in my life is coping with the loss of my mother six years ago. Initially, I chose to ignore my grief and kept myself as busy as I could. Over time, I have come to learn that emotions are a big part of being human. I have learned to acknowledge, process, and release difficult emotions instead of ignoring and invalidating them.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud of initiating, designing, and leading a project to diversify the business model of a company to bolster its revenue and create income for 200 tourism-dependent households during COVID-19.
Before Tuck, I was leading the Impact and Sustainability Department for a group of companies in the tourism and hospitality sector in Nepal. One of my responsibilities was to find ways to incorporate social impact into the business model. I identified an opportunity, designed a project, sourced appropriate funding, identified synergies between the company and the project, and developed a team to work on project implementation. The project helped the company generate revenue at a time when tourism was at a standstill and helped communities recover and exceed their average monthly tourism income.
Prior to Tuck, Aadyaa worked in consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers before transitioning to a leadership role in the tourism and hospitality sector in her native Nepal. With a focus on sustainability and social impact, Aadyaa helped assess, measure, and improve performance. She enjoys hiking, yoga, reflective writing, reading biographies, and listening to music. At Tuck, Aadyaa is part of the Consulting Club, International Club, and Net Impact Club.
What keeps you busy? How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I’m passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. I constantly look for ways to learn more about how innovation is changing the world we live in and explore new venture ideas from the lens of an investor. Outside of work, I am actively engaged in my communities. Having been born and raised in China but lived in the States for the past decade, I recognize the cultural challenges Asian international students often face and am active in trying to find solutions. I have led a few student organizations where we focus on mentorship and community, and I’m currently one of the co-chairs of Asia Business Club, with a goal to foster a strong sense of belonging for our Asian students, celebrate the diverse countries and cultures they represent, and facilitate collaborations with the larger Tuck community.
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean for you today, and in your words, why is it so critical?
To me, diversity, equity, and inclusion means always having a genuine interest in learning from our differences and presenting equal opportunities to all with no presumption. Through diversity, equity, and inclusion, we can ensure fresh insights and perspectives are incorporated, and a greater degree of collaboration always helps nurture innovation and change. We live in a fast-paced environment and are surrounded by an endless amount of information. Admittedly, sometimes people’s minds and opinions are easily swayed by what they see and hear, and the world becomes divided.
For the Asian, Asian American, and other Pan Asian communities, we are living through a very challenging time right now. During the pandemic, I’ve witnessed many counts of anti-Asian hate speech and racial attacks, and it saddens me that some have decided to take a bystander approach because, in their minds, Asian Americans have always been the “Model Minority” and their struggles don’t amount to a level that calls for allyship. But I’ve also been blessed to have the support of so many that recognize the importance of diversity and celebrate the Asian identity and heritage with me.
Recently at Tuck, the Asia Business Club and International Club co-hosted a karaoke night, where students came together to perform their favorite songs. The event had a great turnout, and most importantly, everyone was able to share and showcase their cultures. Afterward, several classmates came to me and said that it was one of the most inclusive nights they have ever spent at Tuck, and truly it was a highlight of my first year in Hanover. These are the very reasons why I believe that only by embracing DEI at the core, we can become the wise, decisive leaders that Tuck teaches us to be.
In your opinion, what makes a good leader?
To me, a good leader must learn to empathize. As Oprah has put it, “It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” In my professional career, I’ve benefitted from numerous mentors who have shown me great empathy, supporting me to achieve my goals in any way possible, and I try to reciprocate whenever I lead, too. I believe that being empathetic will help leaders identify with their people, understand their point of view, and act upon it. It also helps teams form stronger trust and establish a deeper personal relationship with each other. While I’m fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented individuals at business school, I find empathy extremely important to further motivate collaboration and build camaraderie as well.
Jason Dai is a first-year MBA student at the Tuck School of Business. He has four years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies and financial sponsors in mergers and acquisitions at EY and is interested in continuing to pursue a career in finance. At Tuck, Jason is a co-chair of Asia Business Club and the Finance Club, a director of the Tuck ESG Fund, and a regional captain for Tuck Ambassador. He is adventurous and loves exploring new things, and his most recent hobbies are golfing and snowboarding. Jason received a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Environmental Economics & Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He grew up in Guangzhou, China, and spent the last eight years living in San Francisco.
Many Voices, One Tuck celebrates the stories of our vibrant and diverse community. What's your story? Email DEI at Tuck if you'd like to contribute to the MVOT project.
Note: MVOT is open to members of the Tuck community, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, TEE and Tuck Bridge participants, and MHCDS graduates.