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In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, we’re highlighting bold members of Booth who are making a big impact in their communities.

Check back weekly to explore new stories from students and alumni on the MBA experience, their career journeys, and the importance of embracing all aspects of your identity.  

George Wang, Executive MBA Student

George Wang

“Advice I would give to my younger self: if you go into any place and believe that you belong, you will project a different aura. Don’t worry about how others react to you. Calm down, don’t be anxious, and trust your gut. Be confident. Don’t be afraid to do something uncomfortable. Be innovative and different.

“You might fail. Fear of failure is something we all experience, especially as an Asian immigrant, and we may be more self-conscious about it. You must embrace it and not be afraid of it. Failure is part of the journey. Learn from the experience, pick yourself back up, and do better next time. That’s how you grow as a person.”

ManYee Yu, Full-Time MBA Student

ManYee Yu

“May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and I want to take this opportunity to honor the previous generations who have paved a path for us and future generations in immeasurable ways. Today, more than ever, I am proud to be Asian and to celebrate my cultural heritage—even as tragedies and hate in recent years have attempted to silence our voices. 

“I grew up with a multicultural background that combined both Asian and American educations, and I used to grapple with feeling like I could belong anywhere while simultaneously feeling out of place. However, celebrating AAPI Heritage Month invites all of us to highlight our shared experiences—the joy and the challenges—within the diverse cultures we have. I feel very empowered to fully embrace both of my backgrounds through the strength of our AAPI community. Moving forward, I would also like to commit myself to create an inclusive and authentic community.

“Last but not least, I want to end this post with a quote from the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once: ‘The only thing I do know is that we have to be kind. Please, be kind. Especially when we don’t know what’s going on.’”

Zoe Chan, Executive MBA Student

Zoe Chan

“Everyone has to be aware of their mental well-being, especially in this harsh time,” says Executive MBA student Zoe (Tsz Man) Chan. As the service supervisor for New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association in Hong Kong, Chan has been working to get high-quality health services to people struggling with mental illness.

Studies have shown that anxiety, depression, and stress levels rose significantly during the pandemic for Hong Kong residents. Chan and New Life are working with more than 130 companies to create new mental wellness routines for their staff—creating enriching workshops, providing places where employees can blow off steam, and encouraging people to take microbreaks every day.

“Making it work requires buy-in from top management so it can filter down to everyone,” says Chan. “One way to start is by having an open and inclusive corporate culture to reduce the stigma of talking about mental illness.”

James Jung, Full-Time MBA Student

James Jung

“As a seven-year-old immigrant from Korea, I embarked on my journey to become Asian American by first learning about bizarre holidays. One brisk October morning, I saw my classmates wearing bloody masks and bumblebee costumes. Was this some silly joke? After stuffing my face with Halloween treats, I decided that it was not.

“In November, our English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, and cranberries meshed well with the colorful cuisines that my friends and I brought to celebrate our cultures. My mom’s bulgogi was a hit. In December, it was Christmas time. I thought I already knew about this one. I was wrong. Santa Claus could be white, Black, or Korean. 

“AAPI Month is a chance for us to reflect on moments such as these. It’s also an opportunity for us not only to celebrate our strong community and heritage, but also to promote cross-cultural dialogue and diversity. It’s a reminder to pay homage to all the immigrants who came before us to pave the path. I’ve taken this month to appreciate the fantastic people who have molded me into a proud Asian American, such as my ESL teacher in second grade who taught me English, and of course, my parents for all the sacrifices they’ve made for me and my brother.”

Yuxi He, Executive MBA Student

Yuxi He

“As a first-generation immigrant who was born and raised in China and moved to the States as a young adult, my identity has been shaped by both Eastern and Western cultures. I grew up learning ancient Chinese stories and was always fascinated by the old Eastern philosophies of kindness, family orientation, and the relationship between humans and nature.

“When I moved to the States, my journey of exploration continued. I have met more people from varying backgrounds and have a deeper understanding of diversity, equality, and liberty. The challenges of being a first-generation immigrant can be overwhelming sometimes. However, I feel very fortunate to be immersed in these two cultures and to see them mingled together in me. I’m better prepared for the life and career demands that are required in a more globalized society.”

JP Gan, ’99, Cofounder of INCE Capital

JP Gan

JP Gan is one of the most successful venture capitalists on the planet. Dubbed “the unicorn hunter” and ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ “Midas List” of top tech investors in 2019, Gan’s attention and funding are in high-demand. His team at INCE Capital meets up to 1,000 early-stage consumer-technology companies a year. Only 1 percent get funded.

For Gan, conversations are crucial—trying to judge which entrepreneurs have the drive and stamina to succeed. He always asks founders, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Gan wants a founder to bring as much passion to building a business as he brings to investing in it.

“You don’t come to work to make an extra dollar,” he says. “You come to work because you love the game, you love to compete, and you have this fear of missing out. That’s what gets me up early in the morning and going to the office and meeting with a hundred new companies every year.”


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