2022 MBA To Watch: Ivy Chen, Imperial College | Biden News


“I am a mother, critical thinker, and lifelong learner who loves challenges and adventures.”

hometown: Fuzhou, China

Interesting facts about yourself: I’ve missed flights from Vegas three times…I think I really want to live in fantasy land.

Undergraduate and Degree Schools: University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, BBA (Concentration: Strategy and Finance)

Where did you last work before enrolling in business school? Bank of Singapore, Asia’s global private bank

Where will you intern during the summer of 2021? I started my Empire Full Time MBA journey in September 2021, and I was a stay-at-home mom during the summer of 2021 with a strong desire to build my own business and become a “mompreneur”.

Where will you work after graduation? I will likely join a start-up/scale-up/technology, taking on a business development or project management role. Meanwhile, I will also be working on my own business idea with my team gathered at Imperial.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business Schools: I am a Student Ambassador for Imperial College Business School, supporting to recruit top talent for future MBA cohorts. I contribute to the Imperial student blog as a Student Content Creator, showing how I am pursuing a full-time MBA while balancing my family commitments as a new mother, aiming to encourage more female candidates and mothers to join the future group. I have also served as Head of Retail for Imperial College FMCG School of Business, Luxury, & Retail Club, with a focus on bringing retail industry insights and career opportunities to Imperial students.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement were you most proud of during business school? One of the important achievements for me was that my team (consisting of three women) won the Imperial Innovation Challenge among 19 brilliant teams, with a focus on deep technology commercialization plans. The Challenge is a full week dedicated to learning about cutting-edge biotech solutions from Imperial College London’s faculty of science. We proposed a practical yet creative commercial application, and successfully submitted a business plan to a panel of judges. Through this competition, I demonstrated my creativity, ability to learn quickly, curiosity to dive into this uncharted field, and strong interpersonal and communication skills in working across functions in diverse teams. Even though it was intense and full of hard work, it was a great learning experience for me.

Academically, I achieved an overall distinguishing mark for the taught modules in the first semester, which I also greatly appreciate for my excellent project team and excellent teaching from Imperial’s world-class faculty. For the two hardest modules, Corporate Finance and Business Economics, I managed to achieve an overall score of 93.7% and 81.73%, respectively.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your professional career? For me, it is difficult to name one achievement. Instead, I think it’s my overall career exposure across different regions, companies, and roles that makes me feel proud of my professional journey. I started my career with EY Consulting in New York, undertaking various performance enhancement and digital projects with banking, wealth management, credit card, fintech, and other financial services clients across North America. I took the opportunity to move with EY to Singapore, contributed to EY’s blockchain and digital value proposition development, and worked on a major M&A deal at APAC – and was then successfully recruited by my then client, joining Bank of Singapore. I further developed my business development, marketing and project management skills and gained an in-depth understanding of the problems and growth opportunities in the APAC financial services sector. My rich experience has allowed me to work well in diverse teams and I am always ready to raise my hand for new challenges and opportunities.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Imperial largely because it is an innovative institution, promoting an entrepreneurial mindset combined with science, logic and human-centered design. Innovation is deeply embedded in both the academic curriculum and extracurricular activities. The innovation ecosystem encourages everyone to have curiosity and courage to find better solutions to problems without feeling like they are being judged and criticized. There are also great opportunities to collaborate on projects with the wider Imperial College London community. I’m currently on the Entrepreneurship Journey elective, which is a flagship module for students to develop a startup business proposition, take ideas all the way to an in-depth business plan, guided by professional trainers and skills workshops.

Who is your favorite MBA professor? Dr Ileana taught us Design Thinking, which is a core module for solving some of the toughest and most difficult problems in society and companies. He encouraged us to dig deep into the problem and apply human-centered design to find emotional pain points before we brainstormed for potential solutions. I greatly appreciated his teaching, which provided me with a practical lens to tackle the complex issues that may arise with our future businesses, future employers, and society as a whole.

What is your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA tradition by far is the assignment given by the Imperial College Business School Careers team, called “Interviews with Leaders.” We are encouraged to connect with leaders and founders in the sectors we are interested in to learn from them about leadership, the latest industry developments, and career advice. I took this opportunity to successfully connect with several industry leaders and startup founders, based in London and Singapore, and holding senior positions at Google, LinkedIn, and sustainability startups. This is an extraordinary “task” that opens the door for us to explore career interests and potentially find our passion and career alignment.

Looking back on your MBA experience, what is one thing you would have done differently and why? I would probably start networking early, not only for career purposes but also for general learning. As Imperial Full-Time MBA candidates, we are driven by our Programs and Careers team to reach out to industry practitioners, start-up founders, leaders from diverse backgrounds, and students from other disciplines to broaden our learning horizons and develop a globally diverse network.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Even though Imperial is the world’s leading STEM institution, I think the student body will consist of more male students. However, this is not the case as Imperial has a strong focus on diversity and inclusivity. My group is very diverse with a balanced gender ratio and representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

What surprised you the most about business school? Imperial College Business School has a wide and strong network with other world-renowned institutions. Although our Full Time MBA program is only one year, it is so well structured that many of us have the opportunity to undertake exchange programs with other institutions or take electives at other colleges abroad.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at your chosen school? I participated in the Empire Fast Track MBA Admissions Day where I had the opportunity to attend workshops, panels and was offered an interview with the Admissions team in person. My appearance, as well as my diverse and international background, made me stand out during the day and I managed to land an offer shortly after Admission Day.

Which MBA classmate do you admire the most? I really admire Michelle Tang, who is a good friend of mine. Michelle is a true leader. He voluntarily took on the responsibilities of Career Leader for my group, served as President of Imperial FMCG, Luxury & Retail Career Club, and sat on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board to innovate with the School to provide a better learning experience for all students. He is also very good at his academic work, holds high standards and is not afraid of getting his hands dirty in solving complex problems.

Who influenced your decision to go into business in college the most? My father is a successful business professional who I have always respected and he encourages and supports me 100% for my pursuit in business. He once told me when I was young that business is of the essence in almost all aspects of our life and society, which has motivated me to pursue this subject.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to start my own business identifying problems that need to be solved to unlock more value for people. I’m currently exploring potential ideas for addressing issues in the mother and baby room using AI technology with my team at Imperial. In addition, professionally, I would like to further develop my sales and negotiation skills and be able to apply these skills in my organization and personal life in the future.

How has the pandemic changed your outlook on careers? I became a new mother during a pandemic in a foreign land. Looking back, these two intertwined events changed my view of career completely. As a parent living in a world just coming out of a pandemic and facing the climate crisis, I want to make a positive impact in my future career, pursuing opportunities that promote sustainability and connectivity in our society. I now value a more flexible work environment for work and a better life balance so that I can be there for my son’s childhood as much as possible without compromising my personal professional pursuits.

What makes Ivy such a valuable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Ivy stands out in her MBA cohort for her intellectual curiosity and strong determination to co-create a satisfying learning experience with my classmates and I. She is a clear demonstration that being a new mother to a young baby living in a foreign country during the most challenging times can coexist by taking up the challenging but rewarding Full Time MBA program at Imperial. He made every effort to come to campus for the Design Thinking module and share his views with the group on how design thinking contributed to business transformation in his former organization. He is a strong team player who is not afraid to speak up, and he successfully led his team to tackle one of the most complex problems for the design thinking project “How to help people feel safe walking at night in London.” Throughout this project, she has demonstrated her creativity, ability to learn quickly, teamwork, and strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Outside of the classroom, Ivy also takes on leadership roles, such as being a Student Ambassador to help prospective students learn more about Imperial and sitting on the FMCG, Luxury & Retail Club core committee. One of his notable achievements was winning the Imperial Innovation Challenge among 19 brilliant teams, focused on the commercialization of deep technology. She and two other female students dedicate a whole week to learning about cutting-edge biotech solutions from the Imperial science team and propose thorough yet creative commercial applications for them.

Dr Ileana Stigliani (PhD)
Associate Professor of Design and Innovation



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