This MBA’s Got Game

Following the euphoria of gaining admittance to a top MBA programme, candidates typically spend the intervening months preparing themselves mentally for the demanding journey that lies ahead. For MBA 2019 Krizanne Ty, a fixed income trader turned non-profit entrepreneur from the Philippines, this included confronting her fear of heights by jumping from a ten-story building. 

As Krizanne is nearing the end of her second term at CEIBS, she sat down with MBA Admissions to discuss returning to her family roots in China, her role as president of the MBA Women’s Leadership Network, and what China’s $800 billion sports industry means for her start-up.

As the daughter of two sports-minded Chinese parents, Krizanne was brought up with values, discipline and an emotional toughness that has since been honed on the basketball courts of Manila. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without sports,” reflects Krizanne. “Trading is still very much a male-dominated industry; you can lose millions of dollars overnight and you have to bury it and bounce back the next day. There is a perception that women lack the mental toughness to deal with that pressure, but sports really helped me to break in and then excel as a trader.”

Given the effect that playing sports has had on shaping Krizanne’s own career and personal development, she decided to ‘pay it forward’ and in 2013 her start-up, Girls Got Game, was born. “I was lucky in that my parents introduced me to sports at a young age, but given the poverty and social structure of the Philippines, not everyone is afforded the same opportunities. The goal of Girls Got Game is to empower young women through sports, by hosting a series of summer camps that teach basketball, football, volleyball and rugby for free. To date we have hosted 10 camps across the Philippines, reaching more than 1,000 girls aged 10-12,” she said.

Now in Shanghai doing a full-time MBA, Krizanne leaves the organization running under her passionate and motivated team. Her twin focus now is to pursue long-term financially sustainability for Girls Got Game while catching the wave of China’s expanding sports industry.  “China’s plan is to invest heavily in sports, to turn it into an $800 billion dollar industry by 2025. We are eight years away from that deadline and China isn’t even half way towards the proposed level of investment. In the Philippines, there is a perception that there is no money in sports, so I am keen to learn from China’s example and witness firsthand the anticipated explosion of growth in the industry,” she said. 

Aside from learning about China’s evolving economy and the best business practices for her start-up, Krizanne has also been focusing her energies on developing her network in Shanghai. “I informed the MBA office early on of my intention to dive deeper into the sports and fitness industry.  My consultant in the MBA’s Career Development Centre (CDC) was able to introduce me to some great contacts, and before I knew it, I was already working on projects and even had tickets for the Shanghai Rolex Masters Tennis Championship,” she said. “I have also expanded my network through my role as president of the MBA Women’s Leadership Network. The highlight so far was hosting a round table networking session with senior leaders from IESE’s Global CEO programme. I really enjoyed hanging out with the CEO of Julius Baer, Carolina Martinez. Her advice was to be bold, speak up and keep pushing forward,” she said. “CEIBS also runs an established mentoring programme that pairs current students with alumni from the EMBA, GEMBA and MBA programmes. My mentor works for Nike in Shanghai which has provided a great window into the changing nature of sports in China.”

The mentorship programme also provided Krizanne with an opportunity to reconnect to the company that helped her conquer her fears with the 10-story jump ahead of the start of her MBA journey. She explains that it was part of a promotion to advertise new pair of trainers, and Nike wanted to focus on ‘the air to move you forward’ by capturing images of real life heroes who have made a difference through sports. “It was a terrifying experience, but too good an opportunity to pass up to tell the world more about Girls Got Game through this Nike campaign,” she said.

Now with her feet firmly back on the ground, next up for Krizanne is planning a series of events for the Women’s Leadership Network including a forum featuring successful women in male-dominated industries. She will then be joining the overseas elective in ‘Start-Up’ nation, Israel. The final stop of 2017 is back to Manila to host a winter coffee chat with MBA prospects, where she will share some of the advantages of doing an MBA in a growing economy that is close to home.

Inspired by Krizanne’s story?  Here are a few ways to help you to further explore the CEIBS MBA: