One Albers MBA’s Journey From China To Seattle
What happens when you begin an MBA program? You grow, you change and you learn. For many, it’s an evolutionary journey that changes your entire life, and that’s exactly what happened to Yan Tang, an MBA student at Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics.
In a recent blog post, Tang shared about her MBA experience as an international candidate from China. In January 2016, Tang was thrilled when she first received her acceptance letter to Albers School. Now, almost halfway through her program, that excitement hasn’t abated, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been a few surprises.
“After one year, I remain excited of living and studying in a different country…[but] so many things have changed: lifestyle, networking, expectations, etc.,” Tang shared in the blog. “However, fundamentally, it is the change of the way I think that really makes a big difference in both my life and career pursuit. I call it independent thinking.”
Growing up in China, Tang had a different experience with education. She was used to being told how to complete a particular task and then asked to follow instructions and authority without question and with no creative and independent thinking.
Her experience as an MBA has been widely different. “Our MBA students usually are assigned to do a lot reading before classes, and to write reflections or summaries based on the reading,” she explained. “Then students need to prepare ideas or thoughts for open discussions during classes.”
From there, she described the discussions as “furious” with no right or wrong answers; as long as you have evidence for your arguments, you’re allowed your opinion. It has been a way of learning that has opened Tang’s eyes to the process of forming her own opinions instead of depending on others.
In fact, the journey has been so transformative, that if she could go back and change some of her prior experiences she would. She remembered one time in college where she was a project coordinator, but she “did not think independently or strategically as a leader is supposed to do. I did not think about what was my expectations to myself and to the whole team, what was the goal we should achieve, and how was that job linked to my future career.”
Now, if she were in that same situation, she would take advantage of her chance to act as an independent thinker “to understand different backgrounds and perspectives bring different ideas and solutions.” And the good news is that Albers has given her a chance to make those changes both inside and outside the classroom.
“Having developed the ability of independent thinking, I feel confident when facing complex situations in life as I know I will keep calm and find solutions for problems,” she explained. “It is the same when it comes to pursuing my career. I will no long expect to be told what job I should take, instead, I would think independently to analyze my strengthens when applying for positions and to seize the opportunities.”
Still, Tang knows that she has a lot more to learn throughout the remainder of her MBA program and looks forward to the journey ahead.