MBA 11s at Work: Riot Games


Welcome to MBA 11s at Work, a periodic series on the career launches—in consulting, finance, tech, entrepreneurship, and more—of the Berkeley MBA class of 2011

 Grad: Nan Duan, MBA 11

Working as: International Publishing Manager at Riot Games, a Santa Monica-based video game developer. Riot is known for League of Legends, which has over 32 million registered users worldwide. “My main responsibility is working with Asian publishers who operate our game in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.”

Riot because: “It’s one of the most dynamic companies in the video games industry right now.” In his second year, Duan narrowed an interest in consumer tech down to gaming. “Riot emerged as attractive due to its combination of a free-to-play business model with a ‘hardcore’ video game, as well as its aggressive expansion in Asia, which fit well with my international student background.”

Inside Riot: “We have adopted many of the techniques used in social games and applied them to a really competitive, hardcore title,” says Duan. The company organizes development around a highly rapid and iterative cycle. “This is not common at all for traditional core gaming, where studios spend two years and multi-million dollar budgets before the game is launched.”

Networked: “Haas has great presence in some of the leading areas in gaming—during my job search I interacted with alumni at Zynga and EA." Duan observes that gaming has not been a typical sector for MBAs (He thinks he is the first fresh MBA grad hired at Riot), but says this is rapidly changing with recent social/mobile gaming trends. “Gaming is rising as a heavyweight component within the broad entertainment sector so, in this sense, I feel I'm helping Haas establish a footprint in this industry.”

Best career search strategies: Taking advantage of every event to socialize and know more people in the industry. “The opportunity at Riot came up after two Rioters were invited to speak at Haas.”

Classroom lessons in action: Duan is a big fan of Reza Mozzami's strategy courses on IT, Media, and Wireless. “They have really shaped how I think about the technology industry and are a must for anyone interested in the sector.”

Living the So-Cal life: It’s Santa Monica—beaches and the weather to enjoy them are a top draw, along with “an amazing selection of Asian food.”



About The Author

From 2011-2013, Valerie Gilbert focused on sharing stories of Berkeley MBA student achievements and connection to the Haas Defining Principles. At Haas since 2004 and now Associate Director of Content Marketing, she still enjoys revealing the different facets of life at Berkeley-Haas to a variety of audiences.