Alumni / October 15, 2020

A Global Journey That Opens Doors

Iris Lan, MBA ’20

Iris Lan, MBA ’20

Sometimes, it’s a journey halfway around the world that opens doors all the way back home.

Iris Lan, MBA ’20, says that’s what happened for her when she left China to pursue an MBA at Maryland Smith.

“Before attending the Smith School, I was a supply chain manager at Baxter,” Lan says. She had over 10 years’ experience in supply chain in the healthcare industry, but she wanted to shift her career into general management. The Smith curriculum gave her the tools and business acumen to help make the transition.

“Smith helped me to pivot my career from supply chain to my current role at Danaher,” says Lan, now in the General Manager Development Program at Danaher Corporation

At Smith, she says she gained much more than just a solid business foundation. The diversity of the Smith community gave her the opportunity to interact and work alongside classmates from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. It’s an experience that has helped drive her success in the leadership role she now holds at Danaher.

After graduation, Lan moved from Maryland to Shanghai to pursue her current role at Danaher. “I am impressed with the Danaher Business system; it drives the culture and performance at Danaher,” she says.

Lan recalls visiting the College Park campus prior to attending Maryland Smith. “Interactions with faculty and alum made me feel so warm and I found that they helped me a lot. I really appreciate such a collaborative environment and culture,” she says. “Smith is a data-driven program and I wanted to learn how to leverage data to make better decisions.”

Lan adjusted well to the rigors and the culture of the Smith MBA program, where just 9% of students are international. She says she felt supported by classmates, professors and her career coach, Dori Jamison, who encouraged her to keep moving forward and to nurture her positive energy.

Now back in Shanghai, Lan says she stays busy – working, running, swimming and playing a traditional Chinese instrument called the guzheng. And she embraces her memories of her days at Smith – the challenging classwork, the friends, professors, and international night, which she describes as one of the most exciting events at Smith, with its fashion shows, performances, food, and fun.

–By Frances Ampah. Ampah is a 2022 MBA Candidate, Forté Fellow, and a Smith Fellow. Ampah was born and raised in Accra, Ghana, lived in Virginia, and worked for four years as a film producer and content creator in Los Angeles before coming to Maryland Smith.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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