2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Daniel Yin, ESADE Business School    

Daniel Yin    

ESADE Business School – Hybrid Executive MBA

Age: 32

“I am a passionate and mission-driven entrepreneur based in Africa.”

Hometown: Currently based in Kampala, Uganda. Born and raised in the United States.

Family Members: Mom, Dad and brother based in the United States

Fun fact about yourself: I love to box and stay active. I will be doing the half Ironman in Rubavu, Rwanda in August – an event my company will be sponsoring.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Double Major in Finance and Accounting at Miami University of Ohio

Where are you currently working? I am the CEO of SPOUTS International in East Africa. I am currently based in Uganda, but travel often to Rwanda, Kenya and other countries we plan to expand to.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I love to box. I actively participate, together my colleagues, in field work at my social enterprise to ensure we are providing long-term access to safe drinking water and clean energy sustainably. Going to the field and working directly with our customers help us stay true to our mission and impact as an organization.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Bonding and learning with the rest of the Hybrid EMBA class. We are the first cohort of the Hybrid EMBA at Esade and we have over 20 different countries represented in our class. We are all incredibly close with one another and I couldn’t ask for a better class to share this experience with.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am so proud of my team at SPOUTS International. I joined the SPOUTS team when were around 30 employees in a small office in Uganda. Since then, we have three offices and one factory across Uganda and Rwanda with over 500 employees. We are scaling our operations rapidly and our products will soon be used across Sub-Saharan Africa.

In my six years on the ground, I have been most impressed with the team that I have the privilege to work with – I’ve seen incredible growth from so many colleagues, both professionally and personally, and it’s just amazing to be a part of it.

Currently we have a leadership team with over 100 years of experience in working in Africa and I am looking forward to what the future brings!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Katharine D’amico. Her class helped all of my colleagues open up to one another. We had a team debate in which everyone participated and I never felt so much energy in a classroom. It was a truly great experience and we got to learn from one another and break that ice. Not only did she give me confidence in the way that I communicated, but she also gave me confidence in how I ran SPOUTS, including the way I communicated with key stakeholders.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose ESADE’s Hybrid EMBA program because of their dedication to “Do Good Do Better”. I strongly believe the school believes in this message and this is evident in their day-to-day operations and communication. 

The Hybrid program is especially attractive because it gives the flexibility I need to still run my social enterprise in East Africa. The curriculum also gave me the skills and confidence needed to help me reach my potential as the CEO of a scaling social enterprise – we are currently raising our Series B that we expect to close in Q3 2023.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? I learned to enter everything with an open mind and to actively listen. At school, I am surrounded by so many talented and experienced people and it really helped me bring those skills to the workplace and be a more effective leader for SPOUTS.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? SPOUTS is scaling rapidly throughout East Africa and this requires me to travel quite often. My family is based in the United States and my wife is attending the full-time MBA program at Esade. My work group in the Hybrid EMBA group is also spread across four different time zones. Every day almost has its own story in which I have to juggle work, family and education. The Hybrid MBA program has really provided the flexibility to help make this a reality.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Go into the program with an open mind. You’re going to be surrounded by so many talented and experienced colleagues and professors. Try to share your experiences and learn more about everyone else’s as well. The benefit of the Esade Hybrid EMBA program is that we have an extremely diverse cohort that has representation from all around the globe.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret is not making time to enjoy the city of Barcelona when I was in the city with my colleagues. In our next visit, we made ample time to enjoy the city with one another.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate I admire most is Sneha Radhakrishnan. She is a natural leader. I am not only fortunate enough to have her on my team, but also as a class representative. She puts in the extra time and effort to make sure everyone is getting the most of the program.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? I chose the executive MBA program to learn from my colleagues. Everyone in our cohort brings something valuable to the table and everyone is happy to share their experiences to help everyone develop and reach their potential.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to do my best to help make a difference in the World. SPOUTS’ mission as an organization is very much in line with my own and that is to “provide long-term access to safe drinking water and clean energy to all Africans”. By 2030, our goal is to reach 35 million people and reduce Carbon emissions by over 100 million times. We are on track to achieve this and I am looking forward to what we can accomplish in the future!

What made Daniel Yin such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Daniel embodies Esade’s values completely. He is an entrepreneur who is committed to creating a more diverse and improved world. Despite being in his comfort zone in the US, he took a leap of faith and started a new project that has now grown into a thriving company that is also positively impacting the lives of many individuals in Africa. At Esade, we want to inspire leaders like Daniel, who possess the ability to utilize their talents in order to create a better world. Daniel brought this mindset to class, with a wide perspective, and all of his questions and comments brought concepts into a new light, which everyone benefitted from. Daniel is extremely proactive, and demonstrated an exceptional fund of knowledge. Daniel was well-prepared. Daniel also has a sensitive ear for elements that don’t fit into the accepted narrative and digs in to uncover the truth when needed. He initiated literature searches to supplement his understanding and to address questions raised in sessions. Daniel has a high level of emotional intelligence and this helps him connect effectively with fellow students and faculty, and also to function as an outstanding team member. Daniel is both efficient and thoughtful and proved himself to be an eager learner.”

Katharine D´Amico
PhD Academic Director of Hybrid Global Excellence


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