As the days grow sunnier, it means many graduate students will begin the long march to the convocation stage later this year. Each year different students take on a number of leadership roles in the Schulich community that have a direct impact on the quality of experience each grad student has during their time here.

This interview series will provide insight about students’ extracurricular leadership, professional achievements, and personal reflections.

– Frank Paul, Graduate Business Council President, MBA candidate, 2017

Class of 2017 Profile: Meet Dizhen Li, MBA Candidate

Part 1: Quick Stats

Age: 28

Hometown: Henan Province, China

Undergraduate School and Degree: Western University- Economics

Community Work and Leadership Roles: President, Southeast Asian Business Association

Fun Fact: I’m a marathon runner

Part 2: Business Education & Achievements

Q: Where did you work before coming to Schulich?
Teaching Economics in Vancouver to college students.

Q: Which achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
I worked with a non-profit that offered career workshops to new immigrants seeking careers in banking. I oversaw revisions to the curriculum and helped to organize events for new graduates who had barriers in culture and language.

Q: Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during your MBA?
Completing the Global Leadership Program and working with students in Tel Aviv on a project related to the solar energy industry. It was challenging overcoming different time zones, but a unique opportunity that gave me valuable international experience.

Q: What did you enjoy most about Schulich? 
A: Meeting different people. At Schulich, you’re put into diverse groups and you learn just as much from your teammates, their backgrounds and their experiences as you do from your professor or the curriculum.

Q: What was the most surprising thing about your MBA? 
A: How much I learned from a failed team experience. Failure and team conflicts force reflection on your part about what went wrong, and ultimately you learn more about yourself and how to foster a better team. The results in my subsequent team projects have been positive.

Q: What was the hardest part of your MBA?
Managing expectations, whether those of my professors, my colleagues, my friends, or my family.

Q: Who would you most want to thank for your success?
A: Many people. Mostly my teammates at Schulich who demonstrated a lot of personality, tolerance and flexibility. Their honesty and feedback has helped in my personal development.

Part 3: Fill in the Blank…

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…”
Dizhen: …
I hit a threshold in my career and I knew I needed to learn some additional information or perspective to take that next step further.

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would…”
…still be teaching and doing more community activities.

Part 4: Fast Favourites

  • Book: The Emperor of Maladies: a Biography of Cancer (by Siddhartha Mukherjee), a book on the types and treatment of cancer. It includes inspiring stories about patients, lobbyists and scientists; a full history of perspectives. You see people surviving over centuries, fighting the same war but never giving up.

  • Movie: Pulp Fiction

  • Hobbies: Running, reading and watching movies

  • Schulich Professor: Kevin Tasa

  • Schulich courses: Brand Management and Corporate Finance

Stay tuned for more profiles of the Schulich class of 2017!