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  • Writer's pictureEric Wo

Shirley Chen (MBA 07) and Chicken Wings


My 4th stop. Visiting my Emory classmate, Shirley Chen (MBA 07) and eating chicken wings.

I think I first met Shirley and most of the Chinese MBA 07 students at Stone Mountain, Georgia where my MBA 06 classmates organized a picnic to meet the new 07 students. Interestingly enough, I got the group to play an ice-breaker game called “King Elephant” where I learned in Chicago at a church retreat many years ago.

“King Elephant” is a game where all the participants sit in a circle, make animal sounds, and act out the animal. The slow poke who could not complete the sound and action sequence would get whacked by the person in the middle by a paper roll and trade places with the last loser (at least that’s the King Elephant game I was taught).

Moreover, I discovered in the game that the Chinese sound for dog is NOT “woof”. It’s “wang wang”. Yeah. I still don’t get it. The animal sounds that I was taught in the United States are Oink, Meow, and Moo. But apparently, animals speak different dialects in different countries.

Back to Shirley: Shirley moved to Chicago in 2017. Previously, she lived in Atlanta while working at Ernst & Young as a consultant. Her brother, also a graduate of Emory, lived in Atlanta. When her brother moved, she decided it was time for change and took a transfer to the Ernst & Young office in Chicago.

Shirley likes Chicago: found a boyfriend and bought a home. She also started a new job with Oracle 5 months ago … still doing consulting, but for Oracle’s customers.

I asked Shirley what did she learn in the Emory MBA program that was most valuable for her post-MBA career. She said the Emory MBA program provided her with exceptional problem solving skills. Many times, her clients were stuck in the proverbial “deer in the headlights”, not knowing what to do when faced with a complex business problem. The Emory MBA provided her with frameworks to break down complex problem and structure actionable plans that the client can start implementing … or I like to interpret that as … bullshit her way out.

PS: The chicken wings were fantastic.

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