Michelle Leyden Li JD 93 MBA 95
2019 GSM Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award

A Silicon Valley semiconductor industry marketing executive for more than 20 years, Michelle Leyden Li JD 93 MBA 95 shares how her UC Davis MBA prepared her for a successful career at Intel, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundaries and the growth in tech management opportunities for MBA graduates across every sector.

Michelle Leyden Li JD 93 MBA 95

How do you collaborate at work to make an impact?

Getting more people involved is always better, and that idea of being a team, and being fully engaged and fully motivated in anything that you decide to move forward with is really important and it’s impactful in business and it’s a skill that I learned very much so at the Graduate School of Management and it was great to have that basis going out into the business world.

What does being a collaborative leader mean to you?

Collaborative leadership is about being the tip of the spear for your team. Being someone who can rally the team to do the best that they can do, but also be there to drive through roadblocks that might arise or to drive consensus at the next level.

What are the highlights of your career in the last few years?

Rarely do you get to do one major brand that’s successful in the market I’ve actually gotten to do two: Centrino Mobile Technology at Intel and Snapdragon processors and platform at Qualcomm, and so I pinch myself constantly that I actually got to be involved in both those great brands.

What are the biggest challenges in your industry?

The pace of change, the pace of innovation and how do you motivate teams to drive in that pace, so I would see the challenge as a key opportunity and it’s one of the things that makes working in high tech so fun.

What professor had the biggest impact on you?

I love professor Tsai. He actually taught me a lot and I struggled through this class I will readily admit. I actually learned a lot. Statistics is relevant to everything that I do actually I very much appreciate the time that I spent in his class.

Any advice for future business school graduates?

Don’t limit yourself with a plan. Go out, find companies that you think are interesting to work for. If you do what you love, as the old adage goes, you never work a day in your life. It’s absolutely true. I haven’t moved just to move I’ve moved because I wanted to find a new challenge. I wanted to find something new to do and that can be scary sometimes, but it also opens up so much possibility.