Name: Yuyan Lai
Year of Graduation: 2020
Country of Residence: Spain
Current Employer: TwinCo Capital
Please tell us about yourself and where you are working now.
I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business English in China. In terms of my previous work experience, I had interned at Audi China’s Business Innovation unit, which involved scouting for new opportunities and devising rollout plans. Following that, I gained some legal experience from working in an intellectual property law firm, handling a portfolio of 10+ MNEs across sectors.
Currently, I am working at Twinco Capital, a fast-growing FinTech revolutionizing conventional supply chain finance. My responsibilities are centered around the commercial activities of the company, with a focus on the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. I have also taken on projects in the research and risk analytics fields and am looking into exploring more exciting topics.
My main interest lies in the intersection of innovation and business for good. I would like to go further in this adventure by starting my own business one day.
What inspired you to pursue a MiM, and why did you choose IESE?
I’ve always had a strong interest in business. The entrepreneurship projects I’ve seen and done taught me that business is a powerful force to steer progress. So, after two years of practicing in the legal field, it wasn’t hard to decide to jump back into business. A MiM program with a touch of various disciplines was exactly what I needed, considering the career shift I had in mind and that I wasn’t sure which business domain I would like to deep dive into.
I set a list of criteria while searching for business schools – academic rigor, diversity, career support, reputation. IESE not only excels in many but surprises me with more.
Its flagship case method is, without doubt, an essential differentiator – nothing can sharpen thinking more than a deep analysis and debate on real-world business cases.
Through my many interactions with different schools, I also realized IESE is among the few that genuinely cultivates development and cares about every individual student. This gave me confidence in entrusting it with my master’s education.
There were only two things I found missing at that time, specialization and internship during the program, but I concluded that they could be negligible and easily compensated by post-MiM endeavors, especially given all other outstanding attributes of IESE. So, in the summer of 2019, I embarked on the exciting journey to Madrid.
What were some of your highlights and favourite memories from the MiM?
I had so many! Keeping in mind that we were the first cohort, there was COVID halfway through the program, and many other events happening in the world, the journey was extra unique. To me, for instance, the Career Bootcamp was striking. It was a one-week workshop where we had to reflect on ourselves and share our beliefs, interests, goals and more. I was amazed by the level of enthusiasm and commitment my classmates showed. Regardless of whether we are on track to accomplish those goals we’ve said, to me it was a great exercise to slow down and think about our purpose in life.
I’m glad you got a lot out of the Career Bootcamp. What was your job search process like? What resources at IESE did you find most useful?
I started job-hunting in late 2019 and confirmed the offer in June 2020. Being an international student aiming for a career shift and relocation amid COVID times, I must admit, it was tough (but possible).
IESE’s Career Development Center (CDC) was very helpful. My prominent problem then was a gap between my profile and the sector I’d like to work in (finance). CDC counselors helped me identify the factual connections that could help me to bridge this gap and articulate them confidently. They also gave me valuable insights in career planning. From my experience, CDC is always ready to help. The secret here is to reach out proactively.
The IESE community, from staff to alumni and classmates, is another resource to highlight. Their support was my source of strength to keep going.
Congratulations on achieving your career goal! How do you think the MiM helps you in your day-to-day work currently?
As time goes by, I’ve come to appreciate different aspects of the MiM’s takeaway. In the beginning, the technical skills and problem-solving methodology trained repeatedly at IESE assisted me to crack many problems, especially in circumstances where information can be broad and overarching. Later comes the “people skills” as I face increasing complexity in the workspace. For example, in the lending business our company engages in, very often there are divergent opinions between commercial and risk departments. At these moments, I must defend my position firmly and rebut the other side. This process becomes less overwhelming thanks to the countless class debates we had, and some far more “hostile” situations we analyzed in cases.
In what other ways has your MiM experience transformed you?
Like other important life events, I think the MiM experience has driven me to review my mindset, challenging the old and introducing some new perspectives. On a personal note, after 11 months of being immersed in the Spanish culture, I’ve embraced some “Spanish traits” for example living life to the fullest, but not in a hurried way. Frankly speaking, it is fantastic!
Finally, any advice for prospective applicants?
Have fun and stick together with the class! You’ve come so far to be here, make the most out of it. I am sure the MiM will be an unforgettable experience for you too.
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