Global Business School for Health


Spotlight on MBA student Yizhen Han

8 March 2024

YiZhen Han leverages her Big 4 audit experience and passion for marathons into a strategic pivot towards healthcare finance through GBSH's MBA Health. Aiming for CFO roles in global healthcare, she's mastering the blend of finance and strategy to make a worldwide impact.

Yizhen Han

Student Name: YiZhen Han

Programme: MBA Health
Nationality:  Chinese

Work Experience: 7 years of audit work in Big 4 accounting firms

Tell me more about your background – It would be great to find out more about your education, work experience and current job role.
I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and initially worked in audit at KPMG for two years. After that, I spent five years in the Financial Services Organisation at EY, where my clients were mainly insurance and fund companies. After seven years of work, I was promoted to audit manager and primarily responsible for annual audits and due diligence projects for listed companies.
After study and work, I also took professional exams and now have a full membership of both ACCA and CICPA. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, running, and swimming. I have participated in two full marathons and multiple half marathons.

What was your main motivation for enrolling in the MBA Health Programme at GBSH? 
My main motivation for enrolling in the MBA Health Programme at GBSH was to pivot my career towards the intersection of finance and healthcare. Recognising the growing importance of the healthcare sector globally and the need for professionals with finance and healthcare management expertise, I sought to equip myself with the necessary skills and knowledge through this specialised MBA programme.

The MBA Health programme offers a diverse curriculum covering strategy, human resources, marketing, and data-driven management, providing us with multidimensional knowledge to become future leaders in the healthcare field. Here, we gain cutting-edge industry insights and professional career guidance while benefiting from the diverse work experiences shared by classmates from over 10 countries. Understanding and exchanging perspectives on healthcare policies from different nations greatly broadens my horizons.

How did your MBA degree from GBSH give you an edge in the competitive job market?
My MBA from GBSH gave me an edge in the competitive job market by equipping me with specialised knowledge and skills tailored to the intersection of finance and healthcare, a niche area with growing demand for qualified professionals. 
Personal tutors guide us in revising our resumes, helping us to uncover and showcase our strengths in the workplace and improving our presentation skills.

Additionally, the prestige and reputation of GBSH opened doors to networking opportunities and facilitated access to top-tier companies in the healthcare industry. GBSH invites experts from NHS, NGOs or pharma to share and discuss hot topics with us in class every week. The Global Healthcare Challenge and Health Consultant Project allow us to engage and learn from frontline professionals. The enriching curriculum and extracurricular activities have immensely benefited my future career.

What are your long-term career goals? How do your MBA from GBSH and your current work align with these goals?
My long-term career goal revolves around advancing into leadership roles within the finance department of international healthcare companies, where I can contribute strategically to the organisation's growth and success while positively impacting healthcare delivery and outcomes. 

My MBA at GBSH and my current work align closely with these goals by providing me with the necessary expertise, experience, and network to thrive in the healthcare finance industry. My studies covered strategy development, implementation, and evaluation. Understanding the big picture and aligning financial decisions with the overall strategy is vital for CFOs to contribute to a company's long-term success. The programme honed my leadership and communication skills, which are essential for CFOs to lead finance teams effectively, collaborate with other departments, and communicate financial information clearly and concisely. 

Overall, my MBA from UCL GBSH and my previous work as an auditor, while not a direct path to becoming a CFO, can provide valuable skills and knowledge that can contribute to your overall development and future career aspirations.

How has studying in the UK influenced your career perspective, especially considering the business landscape and opportunities back in China?
Studying in the UK has exposed me to a different business environment, fostering a more global perspective. This includes understanding diverse business practices, cultural nuances, and economic models. This broader understanding is crucial in today's interconnected world, where companies increasingly operate across borders.

Knowledge gained from my studies and my understanding of the Chinese market due to my background positions me well to bridge the gap between international and domestic business practices. This can be particularly valuable in consulting, international trade, or managing multinational corporations in China.

UCL provides access to world-class educational resources, libraries, and research facilities. Leveraging these resources, I am able to deepen my knowledge in areas relevant to my career interests and stay updated on the latest industry trends and developments.

Balancing a demanding MBA with a personal life can be challenging. How do you manage this balance, and what advice would you give to prospective female students?

Firstly, I would identify my priorities both in your MBA programme and personal life and then set boundaries to ensure my allocate time for important activities such as coursework, friends, and self-care. Secondly, I make a structured schedule that allocates specific time blocks for MBA-related tasks, personal activities, and relaxation. Breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

After class, I prioritise self-care to maintain your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. For example, I usually jog twice weekly in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or Victoria Park. Sometimes, I take part in UCL Project Active Swim sessions at the iconic London Aquatics Centre or go hiking with the UCL hiking club on weekends to recharge myself.

For prospective female students, it would be better to connect with other female students, alumni, and mentors within your MBA programme or industry for support, guidance, and networking opportunities. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed is okay, but don't hesitate to seek help from professors, counsellors, or mental health professionals when needed.

Based on your experience, what specific advice would you give to future Chinese female students considering an MBA at GBSH or in the UK in general?

As a Chinese female student who has pursued an MBA in the UK, we should learn to be open-minded and embrace cultural differences between China and the UK. We should take advantage of the diverse perspectives and experiences offered by our classmates, professors, and the broader community and use this opportunity to broaden our cultural understanding and enhance our cross-cultural communication skills. Additionally, networking is crucial for career success during and after your MBA. There are networking events, alumni connections, and industry conferences to expand our professional network in the UK and beyond.    
London is a vibrant city with a diverse cultural scene, where we can immerse ourselves in the city's culture, explore different neighbourhoods, and utilise the city's resources for learning and personal growth. UCL also provides extracurricular activities, a great way to develop new skills, network with professionals, and gain valuable experiences.