Alan Man is a MBA candidate at the University of California – Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Born in China, he was raised in New Zealand where he received his Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (double major in accounting and management) from the top University in the country.
After graduating, Alan worked for six years in M&A and international tax at Deloitte New Zealand and EY Australia. As a tax professional, he assisted multinational companies with navigating the international tax landscape and regularly delivered complex tax advice on cross-border projects. Alan is also a chartered accountant (CPA equivalent) and admitted lawyer in both Australia and New Zealand.
While at EY, Alan founded and was the chairperson of EY’s Western Australia LGBTQ affinity group. Through his leadership, Alan fostered a more inclusive working environment for the 650+ employees in the state. Because of the significant impact made, Alan was selected from over 6,000 nominations worldwide as the Oceania winner and Global finalist of EY’s 2016 'Better Begins with You' awards.
Outside of work, Alan is board member of Living Proud, a non-profit that has supported the Western Australia LGBTQ community for almost 40 years. He also founded Perth’s Interfirm committee, a network of LGBTQ champions from 25+ professional services firms who work together to drive LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace.
What made you consider business school?
After six years gaining accounting and legal skills in the world of tax, I came to appreciate how passionate I am about helping my clients solve problems and succeed commercially (and not just from a tax perspective). For me, business school represents a transformative two-years of study which will allow me to pivot to a different industry and function while still utilizing my existing skillset.
On a personal note – after a year of being in a long-distance relationship, business school also enables me to be in the same place as my husband, who started his MBA at Stanford GSB last year.
What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?
Getting to know all my amazing classmates! I believe that every person has a story to tell and we can all learn from these stories. Through meaningful conversations with my peers, my job is to find out what that story is – and then learn from it.
Separately, I am also excited by the ability to continue my LGBTQ advocacy among my classmates and get involved in gender equality initiatives: an area I am also passionate about.
Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?
There are so many famous leaders that inspire me but I can only think of my parents as being the most inspirational.
My family story was/is very much the typical Chinese immigrant story. My parents (educated middle-class professionals) gave it all up to come to New Zealand with no English language skills, the clothes on their back, and just a few thousand dollars. Through grueling hard work and overcoming adversity, my parents finally ‘made it’. From a young age, I experienced the sacrifices my parents made and they inspire me every day to work hard and be resilient in the face of challenge.
What's one thing everyone should know about you?
My dream is to one day establish a foundation focused on driving LGBTQ advocacy in emerging economies like China. I believe there is still so much progress to be made in LGBTQ equality worldwide, especially in many of the developing countries.