Lida Zhang, MBAn '23
Lida Zhang is more than goal-oriented: she’s on a mission to create a challenging and meaningful career for herself.
Lida grew up in Shanghai, China with a passion for business and math. It felt natural for her to attend Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, where she studied mathematical economics for her undergraduate degree.
“I think mathematics is a good primary major for many other things, like how it’s applied here in the business world,” Lida said. “In undergrad and through internships with real companies, I developed an idea for what I really wanted to specialize in in the future.”
Finding a Passion for Data
Lida interned with multiple large, global companies during her time as an undergraduate student, including eBay, L'Oréal, and Meituan, China's biggest delivery platform. One thing she noticed during each internship was that she was consistently curious about the ways companies utilized data to improve their business and develop new insights.
“When I worked as a data analyst intern at L'Oréal, I started to feel more and more interested in this area. So, rather than finance or accounting, I decided I wanted to learn more about data,” Lida explained.
Choosing Michigan Ross
Once Lida discovered her love for the intersection of business and coding, she decided that she wanted to pursue a career with a focus on data analytics. She also made another big decision: she wanted to launch that career in the U.S. To do that, she decided she would pursue a master’s degree in business analytics at an American university. After some research, she ended up choosing the Ross School of Business and its new MBAn program.
“The most important reason behind me choosing Michigan Ross was the reputation, I think. I had little knowledge about business schools here in the U.S., but I searched through different websites and looked at some rankings lists,” Lida said.
Ross was really impressive because I found that it has a strong reputation for business school.
“I had also taken a Coursera coding class offered through U-M, so I came in with a good impression about this school,” Lida explained.
Excited to be a part of the first cohort of Michigan Ross Master of Business Analytics students, Lida moved across the world to Ann Arbor to learn.
When she started the MBAn program, Lida felt immediately welcomed at Michigan Ross. The classes were engaging and she liked that there was a big focus on networking within the school.
“The courses here are like half business, half coding, which I liked,” Lida said. “I also liked that I got a chance to meet many students from different countries and backgrounds here at Ross. It is challenging, but a very valuable experience overall.”
Lida’s favorite courses were the ones that tapped into her love for data, such as Data Exploration and Visualization (MBAN 554). She says she was excited to utilize the data visualization skills she learned in class during her capstone, the MBAn Consulting Studio Project.
“Our consulting studio project was to help the University of Michigan with fundraising concerns. We helped build a predictive model, and also some data visualizations of the school’s historical fundraising to help us see the whole picture. We were able to provide them with ideas for potential donors they may want to target,” Lida explained. “This program was very meaningful to me because we were able to get valuable work experience while also doing something for our school.”
Working Toward the Future
While she was learning and practicing her skills from the classroom in the MBAn program, Lida also utilized resources from the Career Development Office to help her find a job she knew she would love after graduation.
“The Career Development Office offered talks and events right when we first got into the program in June and July. It gave me time to start preparing early for the job market in October and November,” Lida said. “I was also able to prepare for interviews by asking for help from a peer coach.”
In the fall, Lida attended a Deloitte recruiting event on campus and was able to network with recruiters. She decided to apply for a job that she learned about there as an audit analyst, and after two interviews, she got the job and will be headed to the Deloitte Chicago office in August to start her career.
I know I will continue to utilize what I have learned here at Ross in my job and in my future career.
“I want to develop myself into even more of a business and data specialist. Nowadays, there are many new challenges arising every day, especially with new AI models like ChatGPT. So we really have to learn new things every day,” Lida said. “Becoming a specialist in my career is my goal for the future right now. I also hope to be a good Ross alumni to students who come after me, like the second cohort for our MBAn program.”