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Mengyu Li

Mengyu Li

Vanderbilt MBA Class of 2013

— Concentration in Operations

Operations Manager, Pathways Leadership Program, Amazon Cincinnati, OH


Launching the Venture

Would-be entrepreneur gains business-building tools


After graduating from Peking University, Mengyu Li made an impressive start in the corporate world. She worked in global operations for Nortel, leading supplier management in Asia. Then she joined HP as business marketing manager in charge of customer events in China.

Then she got a taste of entrepreneurship in an exporting company where she did it all. “I led products and company promotion, designed and set up the website, managed daily operations, pursued business opportunities, validated and quantified inquiries and negotiated all terms,” says the Beijing native.

The experience left Mengyu wanting to own and manage her own company—and to do that, she knew she needed more expertise. “While my skills to run a small company were adequate,” she says, “I knew an MBA program would train me in the art of rigorous analysis, equip me with the frameworks to solve business problems and provide me with a network of entrepreneurial students and alumni.”

Vanderbilt’s small class size and strong alumni network—and its emphasis on experiential learning—proved attractive. Mengyu, who practices Chinese calligraphy to relax, reflect and “create inspiration,” also was inspired by Professor Michael Burcham, a fellow entrepreneur who launched two companies and took them public. “His Launching the Venture class helped me to rethink practices and sharpen my skills in business and global networking,” Mengyu says. Now, she believes, she has a foundation she can build on to reach her goal of starting her own international company one day.