QS World Merit MBA Leadership Scholarship: 2022 winner | TopMBA.com

QS World Merit MBA Leadership Scholarship: 2022 winner

By Aisha K

Updated August 23, 2022 Updated August 23, 2022

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 QS World Merit MBA Leadership Scholarship is Hannah Zhang.  

The scholarship awards up to US$10,000 to one student starting their first year of an MBA or EMBA degree, and is designed for students who demonstrate an exceptionally strong level of leadership and innovative thinking.  

We caught up with Hannah to learn more about her MBA study plans and her views on what makes someone a great leader. 

Where do you plan to study and why? 

I will be matriculating at The Wharton School this fall. I chose Wharton for the large and global alumni network, as well as its strong outcomes in tech and entrepreneurship - two industries I am interested in pursuing post-MBA.  

How will the scholarship help you achieve your objective of promoting gender inclusivity within organisations? 

Wharton is one of the most diversity-focused business schools globally, with a number of organisations and initiatives focused on increasing gender inclusivity in business. As this scholarship will help towards my Wharton tuition, it will give me the opportunity to engage with the school’s efforts, including the Wharton Women in Business club, which actively seeks to promote gender inclusivity in business. 

How would you describe your experience of leading six women at DiDi, and what makes someone a great leader in your opinion? 

At the time I left DiDi, I was Head of Strategy for new launches of the food delivery business in South America. In addition, I volunteered as the lead for our Women’s Employee Resource Group. These positions gave me the opportunity to both lead and learn from other cross-functional leaders.  

To me, a good leader is someone with empathy, strategic vision combined with execution ability, and a growth mindset. These key traits allow a good leader to put themselves in their team’s shoes and lead by example, while continuously learning from others. 

What advice would you give to female students who are looking to work in industries that are typically dominated by men?  

I started my career on the trading floor of an investment bank in Hong Kong, where most of our desk heads were male. Later on at DiDi in Latin America, less than 40 percent of operations staff were women. My advice for women in male-dominated environments is to recognise and hone their unique strengths. For example, women are often better able to seek consensus.  

Starting in DiDi as the only female Product Operations Manager leading feature ideation for our food delivery driver app in Latin America, I found that I was more effective than many male peers in obtaining the cross-functional support needed from product, engineering, and operations teams to roll out new features. 

What advice would you give to students who are thinking of applying for the Leadership Scholarship? 

Write about a genuine experience that showcases your connection to the SDG or cause you selected. Brainstorm by yourself or even with colleagues and partners you’ve worked with. I think students who try to force a connection will have a hard time approaching this scholarship, as the essay has a tough prompt that makes you think about your impact and how it truly contributes to SDGs. 

This article was originally published in August 2022 .

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