MBA Stories: Business Consulting

  • Anson Gu

    Long before he came to the Darden School, Yongqiang "Anson" Gu (Class of 2018) grew up in a rural village in central China. Then, as now, most of its residents were illiterate, and yet Gu said his parents instilled into him the value of education, presenting it as the ticket to the wider world.

    Gu pursued a career as a journalist, which gave him a front-row seat to a time of enormous economic and cultural change in China. He covered issues such as the international expansion of Chinese companies, unprecedented M&A activity and the boom in high-speed rail construction. After about two years at the New Yorker, Gu took a job with Time, where his investigative skills came to the fore.

    As Gu watched China's transformation, he also watched the flourishing of private companies and a rise in "world-class" technology companies such as Alibaba and Baidu. Gu decided he could make the greatest positive impact from within the Chinese business world and decided to seek out graduate business school. For a naturally curious thinker who wanted to know more about how all of the parts of the business world fit together, Darden and the case method seemed like a top choice.

    "The case method is helpful for international students because you're forced to speak frequently," Gu said. "And Darden is famous for general management, and I knew that after graduation I wanted to go back to China to join a business consulting firm."

    Gu said he was particularly taken with his first strategy class, with its implications for understanding how some companies thrive while others fade.

    "In the past, I had not considered why some companies are successful and why others are not," Gu said. "Strategy will give you some theories to better understand the businesses of the world."