The Most Important Thing I Learned from Business School

Bessie Chu
3 min readSep 17, 2023

I wrote candidly about my experience in the program this time last year. A year out, it’s great to reflect on how life-changing the program has been for us.

First, I’ve never seen so much growth condensed in a short amount of time. Many of us have switched careers and countries, including myself. For those contemplating a program like this, the ROI is real if you put in the work. I can’t recommend the UCLA-NUS Executive MBA enough.

My key takeaway is to spend time with people who make you better, a better colleague and a better person. We started as professional peers who became real friends during a particularly trying moment in history.

As we reflected in our reunion, in this life phase we’re in, the majority of the program are 40-somethings with people ranging from early-30s into their 50s, it’s hard forge real connections.

Especially in our careers in competitive cities, we don’t talk enough about how you will meet people who will not only not support you, but actively undermine you, gaslight you, and shoot at your identities.

You’ll work with people that behave in ways contradictory to good business and good behavior. People will try to say things like “this is just the way it is in New York, in tech, the way the world is, etc.”

Don’t believe them. Don’t believe you need to engage and make nice with people like that to get ahead. Not every room deserves you, even if you deserve to be in that room. Be careful of whom you chose your peers to be.

Invest in people who don’t just hype you up when they have something to gain from you or when you’re at your best. Cultivate real relationships with people who call you out when you’re at your worst and pick you up when you fall and vice versa because we want to grow together, genuinely care for each other, and want to make a difference.

Lastly, I want to thank our families, friends, and employers for supporting us through this journey. While this program wasn’t easy for us, it was also extraordinarily difficult for those who had to contend with our absences. Thank you.

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Bessie Chu

Taiwanese-American working as a Platform Product Director in Taipei, Taiwan. New Yorker. 626-raised. Optimist at heart in a realist’s clothing.