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Just Five Questions: Fay Chen ’08

Just Five Questions posed to leaders in business and society.

Fay Chen '08

Fay Chen 08 is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and a member of the Yale SOM Alumni Advisory Board, Chair of the Nominating Committee, and 15th Reunion Gift Co-Chair.

What is an example of how SOM's mission has informed your career and professional life?

Yale SOM permanently instilled in me a mission of leading in both business and society. In business, in my role at Morgan Stanley as an Executive Director in the Private Credit & Private Equity division, leading private investments in companies, the lessons I learned at Yale SOM are lessons I apply every day, as I evaluate investments and have dialogue with the CEOs, CFOs, and Management teams of our investments. SOM's mission has also informed my interest in corporate social responsibility and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives both in my personal and professional life, including recently adding to my professional responsibilities leading ESG strategy. Having the opportunity to wear dual hats of both investing and ESG in my professional life really is in many ways "very SOM" as it related to the dual focus on both business and society, and I'm grateful to be able to apply the lessons I learned at SOM every day.

What is a global trend you are following where you see an opportunity or bright spot in this challenging macro environment?

The startup economy and entrepreneurial wave are megatrends that I follow closely. The technological innovation that we have seen in the past decade-plus has transformed the way that we all live and work, and it remains a long-term bright spot. Bringing the topic closer to home, the entrepreneurial wave is definitely present at SOM, where there has been a notable shift towards entrepreneurism by students, including several interesting startups launched at SOM or by SOM students and alumni.

What is an SOM experience that helped shape the way you understand business and society?

One of my fondest SOM memories was the Global Financial Centers class led by former Dean Jeffrey Garten, which examined four major global financial centers: New York, London, Hong Kong, and Dubai, and culminated in a class trip to all four cities. Across the different cities, we had discussions with senior leadership across both private and public sector entities, including banks, stock exchanges, and companies. Highlights included a session at the Federal Reserve hosted by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as well as events that were hosted by SOM alumni across the different countries and cities who made us feel welcomed and at home. On top of it all was the camaraderie of traveling around the world with classmates, making life-long memories, and forging lasting friendships.

What's one of your favorite things about SOM?

My favorite things about SOM are that it truly feels like a community and a family, and everyone is mission-driven and purposeful, not just there to get a credential, and not at all like the stereotypical image of a business school might be. The class is so wide-ranging and diverse in every possible aspect, across professions, locations, interests, etc. When I look at my fellow classmates and the incredible things they have accomplished both professionally and personally since graduation, I feel truly inspired.

What are you excited about for the year ahead (as it relates to SOM)?

I recently attended my 15th SOM Reunion, and it was so wonderful to see my fellow classmates travel from near and far to reconnect on campus in New Haven. The reunion was especially meaningful since it was one of the first on-campus reunions after the pandemic, so I think everyone really appreciated being able to see one another face-to-face again. As I look forward to the year ahead, SOM and the Alumni Advisory Board are working on a number of initiatives and events around the world to help alumni connect with each other and with the school, so I look forward to connecting with fellow alumni in the year ahead.

Just Five Questions is an initiative led by the SOM Alumni Advisory Board. Want to learn more? Contact Lee Race 93 with feedback, thoughts, and/or questions.