UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

UNB alum building a bridge to Asia for New Brunswick company

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Mar 23, 2022

Category: Inspiring Stories , Management , Young Alumni , UNB Fredericton

Jay Yang (BBA’16, MBA’18) is a prime example of why recruiting international students is a good growth strategy for New Brunswick.

After working in a plywood export company in China, Jay decided to study in Shanghai, where he ran into a teacher from Montreal who had spent time in Oromocto. He encouraged Jay to apply to UNB for a business degree program, and Jay ended up travelling around the world to a place he hadn't heard of before.

While studying for his BBA on the Fredericton campus, he made good friends, practiced his English and learned about Canadian culture. He says he loved it because the city and campus is “a relaxing, small-town environment with friendly people.”

He enjoyed UNB and Fredericton so much that he stuck around to complete an MBA after graduation. “Because of the good reputation of the MBA program and the experiential learning opportunities, I decided to go for it. I’d always wanted to do an MBA degree.”

Jay says the program was outstanding and classes were filled with students from around the globe, so it was a truly global learning experience. “The classes helped prepare me and get me to a level of comfort to do presentations, which is part of my everyday work now,” he states. “The strategy, communications and professional development courses and opportunities were really helpful.”

Jay took advantage of opportunities to become involved on campus by volunteering for the International Student Mentor Program and working as a student peer advisor and as an MBA teaching assistant. He also did an internship with a growing startup in Fredericton that needed sales and marketing help. “Learning on the job and getting that real-world experience here in Canada was a great complement to what I was learning in class and really helped me develop my skills.”

As he was wrapping up his studies, local pet food firm Corey Nutrition hired Jay as their international sales manager and export strategist focused on the Asia Pacific market. Founded and run by another UNB alumnus, CEO Lee Corey (BSc’77) has been growing the company significantly in the past years and was eyeing the Asian market as a next big move.

In an interview with Huddle, Corey stated, “I thought, what if we hired a genuine guy from Beijing to handle our negotiations with China. Because he’s culturally sensitive to what’s going on over there. Of course, his language knowledge is firsthand. And that worked really well.”

The move paid off. Less than a year into his position, Jay was key in negotiating a five-year partnership between Corey and publicly-traded Chinese company Dogness International Corporation that would effectively double Corey’s business, with distribution of the high-end Corey North Paw brand throughout China. Jay says they’re exploring opportunities in Taiwan, Korea and Japan as well. “Our company’s export business is growing because the pet industry is ballooning in developing countries as middle-class couples are opting for few kids but more cats and dogs.”

While some of his international classmates from UNB have either returned to their home countries or moved to Toronto or Vancouver, Jay says he plans on staying in Fredericton for the foreseeable future. “My family is still in Beijing, but Fredericton is a great town with no traffic, an excellent trail system and kind friends who invite me over for holiday meals.” With a grin, he adds, “My cat and I are happy here.”