Alumni Spotlight: Johann Lau ’07


Johann Lau ’07 leveraged his MBA to transition from computer science into a marketing position at renowned software maker Autodesk. The move also took him to San Francisco, where he is firmly planted among a growing group of Bay Area alumni and, we hope, still enjoying his motorcycle.

Wire: How has Rady impacted your job function and success?
Lau: Transitioning from software development to marketing, I’m obviously performing different day to day tasks, but the Rady MBA has really changed the way that I think about solving problems. I think that overall, it’s helped balance my perspective…from an engineering point of view as well as from a business standpoint.
W: What class (or classes) do you retrospectively view as most valuable?
JL: Biotech strategy. Aside from the fact that it was a very engaging class, it was useful for me because it introduced me to a lot of concepts and techniques that would be later refined in other classes (P&Ls, negotiation, primary research techniques) and it did so while covering a topic that I knew nothing about — forcing me to learn quickly and to think on my feet during lecture.

W: How have your goals changed since graduation?
JL: In the short-term, I’m focusing on learning and experiencing as much as I can in the business environment. Down the line, I have aspirations of starting my own company, so that’s something that I’m going to start preparing myself for once I get a grip on my current job.

W:. Tell me about your transition to the Bay Area.
JL: Luckily, I already had a bit of a ‘home base’ up here comprised of other Rady alumni, friends from undergrad, and family. So far, I’ve been spending my weekends refamiliarizing myself with the the area and exploring different areas of the city. I’m going to be moving into a studio in the city in mid-August, so I’m looking forward to getting situated in a new area. I’m also pretty excited about now being able to snowboard more often and go to Cal football games again.

W:What are you reading these days?
JL: Honestly, other than various research papers and industry reports, I haven’t done much reading since the final weeks of spring quarter. I have, however, finally caught up watching episodes of Entourage. Next on my reading list might be the Harry Potter books. I haven’t read any of them and I’m not really big on fantasy novels, but after all the hype with the release of the latest book, I’m kind of curious to see what the fuss is all about.


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