Yi Mon wants to make a social impact in her career. Born and raised in Myanmar, she sees an MBA as the perfect way to give something back.
The ambitious young professional currently works there as a marketing executive for global skin care company Beiersdorf AG; the firm behind the Nivea skin care brand.
As Myanmar transitions into a new era under a democratically elected government, Yi Mon too hopes to start afresh and transition into a career in management consulting focusing on emerging markets before, one day, founding her own Myanmar-based social enterprise.
She studied in the US at undergraduate level and plans to move back there for her MBA. She's currently applying for full-time programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler and business schools at Boston University, Indiana University, Ohio State, Arizona State and the University of Notre Dame.
What do you hope to gain from an MBA?
I’m looking to gain global experience and a more in-depth understanding of business functions, strategies and market dynamics in developing markets especially.
An MBA will provide valuable networking opportunities and will definitely be a helpful door-opener in an increasingly competitive field.
What are your future career plans?
I want to focus on business management consulting in emerging markets.
I’m drawn to Southeast Asia in particular because I see great potential there with improved political and economic stability. In the long-term, I would like to found a social enterprise in my home country, Myanmar.
Why is making a social impact important to you?
It’s difficult to grow up in Myanmar and not be moved to make a difference.
I myself was able to get a great education in the US because of people who were moved to improve the social conditions in the country. I would like to extend the same opportunity to others.
What opportunities for new business do you think will emerge under Myanmar's newly-elected democratic government?
There are opportunities in every sector because the market is still essentially untapped. The main issue is that for a lot of new businesses the barriers to entry are quite high with inadequate infrastructure, high start-up costs and inefficient regulations.
With the new democratic government, I think these issues will be addressed and there will be better policies and trade relationships with other countries.
What are the most important factors to you when choosing a business school?
Ranking, class size, global experience, leadership development, career services, diversity and cultural fit are all important factors. I graduated from a small liberal arts college and the learning environment was fantastic. For my MBA, I want to be in a bigger city but I still would like to have an intimate and collaborative learning experience.
What has been the biggest challenge in the application process so far?
The GMAT was the biggest challenge because of the limited resources available in my country. I had anticipated the application essays to be the most challenging but they turned out to be a very enjoyable part of the process.
How did you prepare for the GMAT?
I took a GMAT review course. I focused mainly on the quant section because its structure was relatively new to me. I also downloaded the Prep4GMAT app on my mobile so I could study whenever I had free time. It was also a great way to assess my strengths and weaknesses.
How do you plan to fund your MBA?
With my own savings, scholarships and loans.
What advice do you have for others considering an MBA?
Have sound reasons for why an MBA is the right investment. Know specifically what you are looking to gain from the program and give yourself, and your recommenders, plenty of time to fine-tune the applications.