March 31, 2021 • By Sydney Charles
Brittany Ouyang MBA ’20 wanted to become a dancer. For the first 18 years of her life, Ouyang trained to be a professional ballet dancer in San Francisco. Between the many hours of training, sewing pointe shoes and rehearsing for The Nutcracker, Ouyang did not have much time to envision a college career.
“I was so deep in the ballet world that college was not on my radar,” explained Ouyang. “It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I started to think realistically about my future.”
Ouyang enrolled in Vassar College, where she studied psychology and French. The idea of studying business still seemed foreign to Ouyang, who loved fashion and style.
Ouyang dove straight into the workforce. After graduating from Vassar in 2011, she landed a fashion internship at Vogue.
“It was a memorable summer. I had a foot in the door at a publication that I really admired and that I’d read for forever. That experience solidified what I wanted to do in the industry.”
In the beginning of her career, Ouyang also worked on the Vera Wang account for PR Consulting and became marketing manager for the contemporary brand Tanya Taylor. During this time, she gained invaluable experience and her interest in marketing peaked; she wanted to learn more.
“I really loved the work, but I started to feel like I needed a formal business education if I wanted to take the next step in my career,” she said.
After spending a decade in New York, Ouyang was ready to return to California, and decided to apply exclusively to universities on the west coast. One of the reasons the Merage School interested Ouyang was the more intimate class sizes.
She said, “Ultimately, I really loved the Merage School because it was a more closely knit environment than many of the other schools I had looked at. That is the environment in which I learn best. I knew I wanted a program where I could have one-on-one attention from professors.”
Another thing that drew Ouyang into the program was the faculty, particularly the female presence in the business school.
“I was really impressed with the faculty, specifically the female faculty. I’ve continued to maintain relationships with a lot of those professors after I graduated,” she explained.
During her time at the Merage School, Ouyang was extremely active with student organizations. She became a student ambassador for the Full-Time MBA program after having positive interactions with the student ambassadors in the year above her, and she was co-president for Merage Women in Business (WIB).
“I believe in gender equality in business across the board,” she said. “My co-president and I did some programming around entrepreneurship, inviting alumni who have graduated from the Merage School and have gone off to start their own businesses to talk about their journeys.”
“Partnering with Brittany as my co-president for WIB allowed me to see firsthand her passion for others,” said Ellie Lee Hoekstra MBA ’20, senior supply chain analyst at E. & J. Gallo Winery. “She was a driving force in a lot of the programming that we developed and was a resource to not only the women in the group but to the wider Merage Program.”
Ouyang also interned at Mattel, Inc., while completing her master’s degree.
“The Merage School Career Center encouraged me to check out Mattel, knowing that toys have a tie to pop culture and entertainment,” she said. “I ended up having a great time through the recruiting process. I did the internship on the Barbie team, I got a full-time offer, and now I’m a brand manager at Hot Wheels.”
Currently, Ouyang leads the brand marketing strategy at Hot Wheels which includes communications priorities, positioning and supervising digital touchpoints.
She said: “I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had so far because they’ve led me to where I am now. I definitely took a roundabout and nontraditional path to business school.”