Stella Liu

My Trajectory

General info
Open to speaking about:
Resources I used on my MBA application journey

MBA Mission start to finish package

One thing I wish I knew about the MBA application process

How long it took to conquer the GMAT.


Hi there, my name is Stella Liu and I’m excited to get to know you!

I have come from generations of underdogs. My grandparents fled China when they were young during the Maozedong era and started up new lives in Taiwan. In the process, they lost everything they owned. Through a series of failed and successful entrepreneurial ventures, they were able to save money and send their children to the United States. My parents arrived in the United States not being able to speak English and worked multiple jobs to get through university. This history is important because it’s what drives me today. I learned from my family how to be scrappy, resourceful, and to never take things for granted.

In college, I was an International Studies major and threw my efforts into building a startup venture. After winning business competitions and selling the product to customers, I took the leap to work on the business full time after I graduated. When it ultimately failed, I was mortified, unemployed, and lost on what to do next. I missed the standard recruiting cycle and did a spray and pray approach where I applied to as many jobs as I could. This did not work. I realized the importance of referrals and taking a more focused approach on a few companies at the time. It took months but I ended up at IBM’s associate product management program through a referral from one of the advisors from my startup.

It has not been a linear path and ultimately my path as a product manager led me to the question of “what's next" and it festered after the program launched. I felt that getting an MBA would help solidify my understanding of business fundamentals and grow as a leader. The GMAT turned out to be my greatest obstacle and I ended up taking the test 5 times! Once I got the score under my belt, I applied to Harvard and Stanford and got admitted to both. I decided to go to Stanford and I’m currently a first year there now on a gap year to focus on testing out different career paths.

For me, an underdog is someone who wasn’t given the rules of the game or the knowledge on how to play the game to be successful. It’s someone who had to develop the courage and humility to go figure out the rules and play to win. I hope that I can be helpful to you on your career journey and share the insights I learned along the way.

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