Brandon Tieu
Home Region

Union City, CA

Undergrad Education

University of Southern California

Previous Experience

Bain Capital, LP; Releaf; Bain & Company, Inc.

“hearing a range of stories and arguments expands our awareness of a much wider range of leadership styles”

Coming to HBS is like...

Arriving at HBS feels like parachuting into leadership camp where every day is a chapter from the best business book, but in an interactive format. The case discussions and conversations with peers allow you to codify some of your existing mental models and completely revamp others. Your days consist of learning from top CEOs, a vibrant community of 900+ classmates, and renowned professors.

What is your most memorable classroom moment?

One of my most memorable classroom moments came early in the year when we had a marketing case on HubSpot. The case grappled with HubSpot's impending decision of whether to focus on selling to larger enterprise customers or small-medium businesses. The former CEO came to class and explained their rationale to focus on larger customers. However, what struck me most was his candid acknowledgement that there isn't always one right answer or path forward, but not choosing a single path was even worse. While he emphasized the importance of meticulously weighing the known pros and cons, he noted you have to make a decision and live with the consequences. As leaders, we will be routinely stressed to make major decisions in the face of uncertainty.

What is one thing you brought with you to campus, and one thing you’ll be leaving with?

I'm sure most students would say they brought their own unique experiences with them to campus, and I am no exception. My experiences were shaped by my upbringing from immigrant parents in California, my own biases, and my prior lives in engineering, consulting, and investing. I'm sure my classmates in Section D would agree that I am never afraid to share my thoughts on cases, often by routinely sharing follow-up business articles and Youtube videos. I'll be leaving HBS with a profound sense of confidence in the network of close friendships I've cultivated. Knowing I can always reach out to someone with expertise, and reciprocate that support in return, gives me assurance in facing the myriad of challenges ahead. While I may not have all the answers, I'm certain I can always connect with someone who does.

How have diverse perspectives in your section contributed to your understanding of business concepts, leadership, and/or problem solving?

At HBS, diverse perspectives are integral to our learning journey, enriching our understanding across various business scenarios. While the case method does a standout job of producing the laundry list of pros and cons inherent in different business decisions, engaging with peers from diverse backgrounds challenges us to over-weigh or under-weigh these different factors to arrive at a well-reasoned conclusion. Interacting with those who hold opposing views prompts us to reassess our own biases and uncover our blind spots. Moreover, hearing a range of stories and arguments expands our awareness of a much wider range of leadership styles. By mapping our strengths to these styles, we can refine our own personal definition of leadership, equipping us to lead with authenticity and adaptability.

If you could give one piece of advice to prospective students, what would it be?

I believe one's mental framework should be a balance between pragmatism and removing self-limiting beliefs. With that in mind, I would implore prospective students to work backwards from their ideal life and thoughtfully plan the skills, experiences, and resources needed to achieve it. If you are at HBS, you may find that many of the traits you seek are already within you. Above all—enjoy the journey, that's where all the magic is!