Yuqi Wang, MBA/MPP’20: Fostering equity in Kendall Square’s business sector

February 06, 2023

Yuqi Wang, MPP/MBA'20, illustration by Tal Friedlander
Illustration by Tal Friedlander

For Yuqi Wang, MBA/MPP’20, programming and policy go hand in hand.

Wang is the director of programming for the Kendall Square Association (KSA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a business development organization that aims to build a strong, vibrant community in Kendall Square.

KSA’s members range from life science and tech firms to restaurants, retail, and hospitality companies, as well as nonprofit organizations — all working together to build a collective where everyone can benefit from shared resources and programming.

“Kendall Square is not just about science, tech, innovation; it’s how art and science intersect,” Wang says.

As the director of programming, Wang leads programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as well as corporate responsibility and community impact. One of the flagship programs is Inclusion Drives Innovation, which focuses on helping participants develop the tools and skills to improve intersectionality and fight against white supremacy.

Wang says her experience as an MPP student helped her develop a holistic awareness of how policy is created and how systems are interconnected.

“Even though I’m not in a policy role per se, [I see how] a lot of institutional structures created in a racist society still play out,” she says. “I now have a more nuanced understanding of how these racist structures work and how we can be a key part of removing them.”

Wang adds that the Social Impact MBA program increased her emotional intelligence, helping her understand different management styles and how to be flexible when working with different people and companies. She says class participation requirements pushed her to assert her opinions quickly and confidently.

“Being a manager can’t be a one-size-fits-all kind of thing,” she says. “Working with community stakeholders, you need to continue to have strong emotional intelligence and be comfortable enough to communicate your ideas.”

Wang says her work at KSA has opened her eyes to the many ways programming can make a difference in the community. As she continues to enhance the programming in Kendall Square, Wang looks forward to improving DEI work and encouraging people to be better allies.

“It all comes down to power at the end of the day, and programming and policy are two sides of the same coin,” Wang says. “When you’re trying to think of how [you] can be a change agent on an individual level, there is a lot of potential in programs to push people and companies forward to change policies.

“I find that very fulfilling and very cool.”