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Getting the Right Prescription

Pharmacy major makes his move into financial services

Yang Zhang
Senior Associate Intern, PwC

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

Yang Zhang came to the U.S. from his native China to earn a Master’s degree in pharmaceutics. After graduation, he stayed to work as a research technologist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Three years later, he decided it was time for a course correction.

“My role was in R&D and very technical, which was not what I see myself doing in the long term,” Yang says. “I decided to transition to a more business-oriented and client-facing role. I’m very passionate about financial services and aim at pivoting to this industry.”

Vanderbilt’s proximity to Memphis led Yang to begin his search for the right MBA program at Owen. Though he later visited several others schools, he says, “None of them exceeded my experience at Owen. I really enjoyed my interactions with staff, current students and prospective students. A smaller program and tight-knit community were what I was looking for.”

And when Owen offered him a Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) fellowship, Yang’s decision was cinched.

With help from Owen’s Career Management Center, Yang prepared for and complete interviews with financial firms and connected with Owen alumni in the financial industry even before he formally enrolled. Once classes began, he also received help from second-year MBA students who guided him through the recruiting process.

Meanwhile, Yang has been involved with the LGBTQ community at the school. As a ROMBA fellow and incoming co-president of Owen Out&Allied, he says, “I had a few new initiatives to strengthen the diversity community presence at Owen. I also worked with other affinity clubs to host a breakout session during Welcome Weekend to help admitted diversity students prepare for recruiting.” In addition, Yang attended ROMBA’s Finance Week in New York, where he networked with practitioners from major financial firms prior to attending Owen.



Fun Fact: Thanks to his mother, says Yang, he is actually seven months younger than what his IDs show.

“I had a few new initiatives to strengthen the diversity community presence at Owen.”