Humans of Haas: Yong Tong Li
Yong Tong Li is a Berkeley Haas alumna currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at the London School of Economics. She has previously worked at both HSBC and UBS, and she plans on pursuing a career in private equity. In her free time, Li enjoys traveling, volunteering, and horse-riding.
What is your Berkeley Haas story?
I decided to pursue a business degree at Haas School of Business because I understood that Haas would grant me a solid educational background to enable me to successfully pursue my other dreams. Berkeley Haas prepared me to be competitive with its intense academic curriculum, and I gained a solid foundation in business principles. Just as importantly, Haas trained me to think critically, helped me differentiate between intelligent risks and foolhardy ventures, and gave me experience working effectively with diverse groups of people and interests.
Reflecting on Haas’s four Guiding Principles, “Question the Status Quo’’ is both the closest to my heart as well as the area in which I need to grow the most. It is one thing to dream about changing the world, but another thing to make that dream reality. Thankfully, Berkeley Haas has granted me a solid foundation to do so.
What are you passionate about and why?
I have been fascinated by how business affects every aspect of our life since I was very young. Alongside this strong interest, I have witnessed the effect economic marginality has on poor people’s lives. I hope education at both Berkeley Haas and LSE will help me understand what a viable business model looks like in which the private, political and social sector can tackle this undesired phenomenon in a more collaborative and efficient way.
Why did you decide to go to LSE? How is that experience different from Haas?
Currently, I am pursuing my degree of Master in Public Administration (MPA) at the London School of Economics. This degree is a complement to my Haas degree. The MPA degree focuses on applying theoretical frameworks to understand the fundamentals that drive us to make decisions with evident data. In the current global world where data is massively used for decision making, I find it essential to understand the empirical analysis of data in policy implications. This degree also helps me understand how politics and policies function to tackle social issues. This knowledge is critical for me to understand because I believe that our society can only become more prosperous with the collaboration among the private, political, and social sectors.
How do you connect with Berkeley Haas in London? Can you talk about your experiences with the London Berkeley Haas Alumni Network?
It was very lucky for me to become part of the board of the Haas Alumni Chapter in London to organize events and facilitate communication amongst alumni. I understand the importance of having a cohesive and regular Alumni Chapter because this is one of the best ways for every cohort to bond with each other. This is especially beneficial for the younger cohorts, such as my own, because they can connect with the experienced cohort to learn from their successes. Because of the alumni network, I got an opportunity to work for a private equity firm founded by one of the Cal alumni.
What are your future career/academic plans?
Berkeley Haas has equipped me with a very solid business foundation to explore opportunities in the financial industry. With three years in wealth management at both HSBC and UBS, I have identified that I want to pursue a career in private equity. I found private equity to be a very meaningful industry because of the impacts this industry has on the world. I believe that the right investments in the right businesses can bring prosperity for many people. In the meantime, I am very driven by the dynamics of the business operations and investment environments where private equity operates. I look forward to a career in private equity after my education at LSE so that I can practice what business models can optimize returns to the private and public sectors.