Main Content

MBA grad shines in insurance industry's digital frontier

January 18, 2024

“I wanted to fill a missing piece in my knowledge.”

Before the Rotman School, Iris Yang (MBA ’22) worked near Shanghai, China, as an insurance underwriter. She began her career in the fields of accident and health insurance, and then moved to travel insurance.

Iris Yang (MBA ’22)

She understood the profession well, enjoyed the work, and knew that she wanted to continue in the field.

“I accumulated a lot of technical knowledge and skills from the industry: things like understanding how insurance works, what kind of coverage to offer to customers, figuring out what kinds of life events could happen, and the likelihood of those events. I really wanted to build upon that.”

Through her earlier experience in claims, Yang also found she enjoyed helping people through stressful circumstances. “People get sick or have an accident, and it’s a very difficult time. Insurance products can really help ease all of that. I found it to be meaningful work.”

Yang came to understand that to advance in her insurance career, she would need to delve into a deeper understanding of business strategy. In addition to deciding to get a business degree, she believed a move to Canada could help in this process. “I thought coming here could help expose me to better and more exciting career opportunities within the industry,” she says.

Yang chose Rotman for its reputation and location, as well as the strength of its support services, like Career Services. She began the Full-Time MBA in the fall of 2020, and - after a brief delay due to the pandemic - moved with her family from China.

Rotman career coach Rob Woon-Fat says it’s far less common for students coming into Rotman’s Full-time MBA program to want to stay in their industry. “Most of the time, students want to do a 180-degree career switch,” he says.

Woon-Fat says that Rotman’s rich resources can help students build upon the skillsets they already have - “whether that’s by using our personal connections with people we’ve coached in the past, or using databases of former internships that students have completed in related industries, where we can ask for referrals. We also draw from an extensive alumni network.”  

Woon-Fat explains that while an industry like insurance that may not be as common a career choice for Rotman students, this can also offer a unique advantage. “If the student isn’t trying to work in banking or professional services, there may be less competition,” he says.

“In part, I believe my employers are comfortable expanding my role because of my experience from my MBA.”

—Iris Yang (MBA ’22)

In addition to her close work with Woon-Fat and Career Services, Yang took advantage of Rotman’s many extracurricular offerings. She and her husband joined Rotman’s Life Partner’s Club – where fellow student families organize social events and provide resources to students who are new to Canada. She was awarded a Forte Fellowship, and was also a member of the Business Design Club.

Along with Marketing Research, Rotman’s Business Design class was among those that Yang found most inspiring in helping her better understand how to implement user-centric design. “Among other things, these classes taught me great approaches to thinking from the user’s angle, and then drawing from that information to improve stakeholder experience in daily work.”

Yang credits Rotman for teaching her about strategy and finance more generally, whether that’s developing a stronger business acumen, solving a business problem, or honing the ability to understand a business product or financial report.

Currently, Yang works for Chubb Insurance, as a senior digital project analyst. In previous roles, Yang dealt more with the financials of an insurance product. She describes her work at Chubb as more project-based, and with a broader scope. “I work with different stakeholders across Chubb – IT, finance, and others. Because of the digital aspect, the work is much more multifaceted.”

At Chubb, she has also taken on a side project in data analytics - analyzing data trends in her department. “I’m grateful to Chubb for the expanding scope and depth of my work.”

“In part, I believe they trust me with this role because of my experience from my MBA.”

Written by Meaghan MacSween | More Student Stories »