Yueran Zhao was only 9 years old when she discovered an interest in business through her family’s semiannual garage sales.
Well before she would lean in to her passion for marketing as a Business Badger, Yueran was practicing key principles like getting to know her customers and matching them with a product.
“It really interested me,” says Yueran. “I was in charge of selling junk from our house and I would sit in the garage for hours, talk to people, and encourage them to buy things that I didn’t value—at all. But other people thought that it was something of value.”
Born in China, Yueran moved to Ube, Japan, a small coastal city outside of Hiroshima, as an infant. She and her parents made the cross-continental move to Lincoln, Nebraska, when Yueran was in grade school. A few years later, her family relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, where—aside from a study abroad experience in France—she stayed.
Fluent in four languages, Yueran prides herself on being a deeply respectful and inclusive leader, and credits her leadership approach to her exposure to different cultures and diverse experiences.
“Having that background of living in different countries and knowing people from different cultural backgrounds really made me realize how similar we are, especially when we’re working together.”
Encouraged by a personal finance class in high school, Yueran continued to discover her passion for marketing at the Wisconsin School of Business—where she was able to fully lean in to that collaborative spirit and real-world learning. As Yueran saw how real-world problems can be solved through business, she added additional majors: supply chain management and management and human resources.
“We were learning about marketing channels in the middle of the pandemic. Seeing that what we were learning in class was being applied in real life was really interesting to me and I think that was what pushed me to get the supply chain double major.”
Yueran honed her leadership skills through extensive involvement in UW–Madison student organizations like Delta Sigma Pi (the business fraternity), MKT (the marketing society), and the advertising club.
Yueran’s ambition and leadership extends well beyond the classroom. She has held vice president positions for Delta Sigma Pi, the business fraternity at UW–Madison. She was also vice president of the marketing society, MKT, and director of client relations for the advertising club in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Through the advertising club, she was able to create a successful marketing campaign for the downtown coffee shop Michaelangelo’s. In her future career, Yueran aspires to join a prestigious ad agency and work on a high-profile marketing campaign that would be a game changer for her client.
“I love the creative aspect of marketing. Just being able to know that there’s not one answer, but you can solve a problem in multiple different aspects, is really cool to me.”
What are you listening to?
I'm listening to a lot of Coin, which is a small band that plays indie pop music.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To live every day to your fullest, just because you never know what might happen.
What are your hobbies?
I paint for fun. I play a little bit of cello. I played piano for about 15 years. I also play a little bit of tennis.